Scientist Urges More Distance Between Water Wells, Drilling RigsSource: The Baltimore Sun | 15 April 2014
Maryland regulators are weighing some of the strictest limits in the country on shale gas drilling, but a scientist suggested on 14 April that they still may not go far enough to protect drinking water wells from contamination by methane leaking from drilling sites.
Gas drilling rigs would generally have to be at least 2,000 ft from public or private water wells under rules being considered by the Maryland Department of the Environment, officials said on 14 April during a meeting of the governor’s advisory commission on the issue.
But Avner Vengosh, a researcher at Duke University, told commission members that studies he and his colleagues have done in states bordering Maryland and elsewhere found that domestic water wells were more likely to be fouled with potentially explosive levels of methane gas if they were within 1 km—3,280 ft—of a drilling rig. Water wells farther away rarely had problems, he said.