An official website of the United States government.

This is not the current EPA website. To navigate to the current EPA website, please go to This website is historical material reflecting the EPA website as it existed on January 19, 2021. This website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work. More information »

EPA's Study of Hydraulic Fracturing and Its Potential Impact on Drinking Water Resources

Investigation of possible wellbore cement failures during hydraulic fracturing operations

Kim, Jihoon, Moridis, George J., Martinez, Eduardo R. Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering. February 2016. 


Researchers used the peer-reviewed TOUGH+ geomechanics computational software and simulation system to investigate the possibility of fractures and shear failure along vertical wells during hydraulic fracturing operations. The study found that high-quality cementing along the vertical well appears to be the strongest protection against fracturing of the wellbore cement and against contamination hazards to drinking water resources. Poor quality cement and incomplete cementing can lead to fractures, providing potential pathways to ground water contamination. This work was done as part of EPA's Study of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas on Drinking Water Resources.

You may need a PDF reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA’s About PDF page to learn more.