There’s no link between gas wells and groundwater contamination near Pavillion, according to a draft study out Wednesday from the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. It’s the first of three reports looking into what caused the contamination, which some blame on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The reviewers looked at the gas wells themselves to determine if they were leaking or otherwise damaged. Petroleum engineer Bob King says they found no evidence of that, although he adds that they weren’t able to study in-depth data about the actual fracking of the wells.
“It would have been nice to have had a complete record of those treatments to do a thorough analysis as to [were] there any anomalies during those [frac] jobs that would have shown that something was out of the ordinary," King said. "But in the information that was provided, which is reasonably complete, we saw none.”
The report lists a number of other things the reviewers would like to see investigated further, including the hydrology of the area and the water wells themselves. It's open to public comment for the next thirty days.
The Powder River Basin Resource Council, which had pushed the state to release a draft report to the public, says it’s planning to hire an independent reviewer to get a second opinion on the study.