Encana Says EPA Erred in Finding Fracking Chemicals in Water

Encana Corp., Canada’s largest natural-gas producer by volume, said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency made errors when it reported that chemicals used in extracting gas through hydraulic fracturing were found in a drinking-water aquifer in Wyoming.

The EPA’s study didn’t take into account naturally occurring chemicals in deep wells in the area and the possibility that unset cement from the agency’s own test well may have contaminated water samples, said David Stewart, Encana’s environment, health and safety lead in the region, in a conference call today.

“We plan to investigate this further with our in-house and external investigators,” said Stewart.

The U.S. gets about one-third of its gas from fracturing, known as fracking, in which millions of gallons of chemically treated water and sand are forced underground to break rock and let trapped vapor flow. The EPA’s findings from Dec. 8 give ammunition to environmental groups, such as the Natural Resources Defense Council, that have said the drilling risks tainting drinking water and needs stronger regulation.

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