Lecture on fracking and water available on video

Robert Jackson
Robert Jackson

If you had to miss our Jan. 30 lecture on fracking and water quality, you missed a wonderful educational opportunity. But… You can still catch the presentation on video.

Jackson’s lecture, the 14th presentation in a speaker series sponsored by the Freshwater Society and the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences, was titled ‘Fracking: What We Know and Don’t Know About its Impacts on Water.’

About 180 people heard Dr. Robert Jackson, an environmental scientist from Stanford and Duke universities, talk about hydraulic fracturing for oil and natural gas — fracking — and its real and potential impacts on drinking water in nearby wells, on the danger of surface water contamination from the waste water, and on air pollution.

Duke University research that Jackson helped lead on water wells near fracking operations in Pennsylvania found no evidence of contamination of groundwater aquifers by the chemicals pumped deep into the ground to force oil and gas to the surface, he said. But the research did find methane contamination in some of the drinking water wells.

Later research by Jackson and Duke colleagues found above-normal levels of radioactivity in the sediment of streams fed by effluent from sewage treatment plants that treated fracking waste water. Jackson was joined in the lecture by a panel of three Minnesota experts:

  • Alptekin Aksan , a university mechanical engineering professor who is part of a team researching ways to clean up fracking wastewater.
  • Deborah Swackhamer, co-director of the university’s Water Resources Center and a professor of environmental health sciences.
  • Ginny Yingling, the Minnesota Health Department’s lead investigator on potential water quality issues associated with frac sand mining.
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