US Map of Suspected Well Water Impacts

Launch of National Mapping Project Designed to Show Possible Impacts of Oil and Gas Drilling on Well Water

US Map of Suspected Well Water Impacts
Contacts: Brook Lenker, Executive Director, FracTracker Alliance, (717) 303-0403; and
Samantha Malone, Manager of Science and Communications, FracTracker Alliance, (412) 802-0273

May 1, 2013 – The US Map of Suspected Well Water Impacts is a project that will attempt to piece together recent complaints of well water quality impacts that people believe are attributed to unconventional gas and oil operations. Research has demonstrated potential risks to ground and drinking water posed by faulty well casings, surface spills, and hydraulic fracturing. From across the country, in areas where gas and oil development is occurring, accounts of possible well water contamination have been reported but not been collected all in one place – yet. The FracTracker Alliance and cooperating organizations are providing that opportunity.

Inspired by other “crowd-sourced” data and mapping projects, this project aims to collect ongoing stories, narratives, and data from individual homeowners living on well water near drilling operations and map the general location of these reports online.  The first version of the dynamic map (shown below) is available at

US Map of Suspected Well Water Impacts - V1

US Map of Suspected Well Water Impacts
Read more about Version 1 of the map

Once received, submissions will be reviewed to the extent possible by cooperating researchers and organizations. Not all reported cases of water contamination, however, have been or will be able to be substantiated. According to Brook Lenker, Executive Director of FracTracker Alliance:

The reports we are collecting are not necessarily indisputable evidence that drilling has contaminated drinking water sources. Some accounts are irrefutable. Others remain unsubstantiated, but that doesn’t mean the well owner isn’t experiencing serious problems. Even where proof may be elusive, perception of risk can tell us much about an issue and the level of concern by the community.  This information will likely help to identify pre-existing problems or conditions that were not previously well known.  Such outreach is needed to permit citizens, local agencies, and others to work together to address pre-existing concerns, improve local regulations or standards, conduct proper baseline testing and monitoring, and make informed decisions.

As unconventional natural gas and oil extraction expands internationally, an Internet-based project like the US Map of Suspected Well Water Impacts can help to share on a global scale how people in the U.S. view – and may be impacted by – unconventional drilling. If everyone contributed their stories, the public’s understanding of gas and oil extraction’s impacts on well water could expand dramatically.

Anyone wishing to submit their story should visit or call (202) 639-6426. A complete list of current project partners is available on the website.

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Downloadable Press Release (PDF)
Read more about Version 1 of the map

9 replies
  1. chris lieven
    chris lieven says:

    in Germany the discussion about fracking is getting much attention because there are generak elections this year and the actual governement will allow fracking.
    an important role in all discussions has water contamination and the evironmental impacts of fracking compared to conventional gas production.
    does anyone have a scientific studies about both?
    would be great for the whole world.

  2. Anna
    Anna says:

    Clean Energy Foundation from Poland ensure sustainability of investments related to exploration of conventional, unconventional gas & oil, renewable energy sources in an environmental, social and legal context in Europe. Our mission consist primarily on monitoring development of extraction projects.

    European shale gas extraction is only in its infancy and Poland is now at the beginning on track for better methods in gas extraction but is one of a few country from the UE in which work goes on continuously.

    With respect to the explorations and the extraction of various minerals we are the only organization of such type in Poland.

    Clean Energy Foundation prepared also the Report about Unconventional Gas in Poland Report, concerning legal, environmental and social aspects in Poland.

    In order to more information about the mission and objectives of the Foundation, please visit website at and Facebook profile

  3. Teddy
    Teddy says:

    In the list of incidents a vetted and researched list from the respective state regulatory agencies? If not is there other credible research and investigation to substantiate the claims? I have seen other listings and they appear to be complaint lists without the backing of investigation by the appropriate state agency. A catalog of vetted and researched incidents would be helpful in establishing best management practices going forward.

  4. Candie Wilderman
    Candie Wilderman says:

    Great idea! Much needed.

    Does anyone know of any compilation of scientific studies that document water contamination from shale gas extraction activities? This would also be very useful to have.

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  2. […] better know which regions and companies are more likely to incur violations in well casing design, FracTracker has launched a National Mapping Project, whereby crowdsourced data on water contamination is […]

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