© 1le Lcolo,ical Society of America www.frontiersinecoÌogy.org
atural ,as Jrillir, las Jramatically exparJeJ witl
aJvarces ir extractior teclrolo,y arJ tle reeJ for
clearer burrir, fuels tlat will lelp meet ,lobal erer,y
JemarJs. Natural ,as is corsiJereJ a ¨briJ,e fuel" to rerew-
able erer,y resources because its combustior releases fewer
cortamirarts (e, carbor JioxiJe |CÒ
|, ritro,er oxiJe
|, sulfur oxiJe |SÒ
|) tlar compareJ witl tlat of coal
or petroleum. Horizortal Jrillir, arJ lyJraulic fracturir,
(¨lyJrofrackir," or ¨frackir,") row allow tle extractior of
vast slale ,as reserves previously corsiJereJ iraccessible or
urprofitable. Slale ,as proJuctior ir tle LS is expecteJ to
ircrease tlreefolJ arJ will accourt for rearly lalf of all rat-
ural ,as proJuceJ by 2O35 (LlA 2O11). 1lis wiJespreaJ
proliferatior of rew ,as wells arJ tle use of moJerr Jrillir,
arJ extractior metloJs lave row beer iJertifieJ as a
,lobal corservatior issue (SutlerlarJ et c|. 2O1O). Here, we
Jescribe tle tlreats to surface waters associateJ witl
ircreaseJ ratural ,as Jevelopmert ir slale basirs arJ li,l-
li,lt opporturities for researcl to aJJress tlese tlreats.
Horizonta| dri||ing and hydrau|ic fracturing
Cas-well Jrillir, las listorically useJ a sir,le vertical well
to access ,as trappeJ ir permeable rock formatiors (e,
sarJstore) wlere ,as flows freely tlrou,l pore spaces to tle
wellbore. Lrlike tlese corvertioral sources, urcorver-
tioral ,as reservoirs are low permeability formatiors, sucl
as coal beJs, Jerse sarJs, arJ slale, tlat require fracturir,
arJ proppir, (aJJitior of sarJ or otler ,rarular material
susperJeJ ir tle fracturir, fluiJ to keep fractures oper)
before ,as car travel freely to tle wellbore. HyJrofrackir,
uses li,l-pressure fracturir, fluiJs, corsistir, of lar,e vol-
umes of water arJ rumerous clemical aJJitives, to create
fractures, wlile aJJeJ proppir, a,erts, sucl as sarJ, allow
tle ,as to flow. Altlou,l lyJrofrackir, was first useJ ir tle
19+Os, tle practice was rot wiJely applieJ urtil tle 199Os,
wler ratural ,as prices ircreaseJ arJ aJvarces ir lorizor-
tal Jrillir, maJe tle teclrique more proJuctive.
Horizortal Jrillir, ircreases tle volume of rock a sir,le
well car access, tlereby reJucir, tle total rumber of wells
requireJ at tle surface. 1le lorizortal le, of a ,as well is
fractureJ ir Jiscrete ler,tls of 91-152 m, allowir, up to 15
separate lyJrofrack ¨everts" alor, ore lorizortal well
(lar,bo et c|. 2O1O). lracturir, Jeptl JeperJs or tar,et
rock formatiors but varies from 15O m to more tlar +OOO m
for tle major slale formatiors ir tle LS (LS DÒL 2OO9).
Extent of resources
1le LS currertly las 72 trillior cubic meters (tcm) of
potertially accessible ratural ,as - erou,l to last 11O
years, baseJ or 2OO9 rates of corsumptior (LlA 2O11).
Rapid e×pansion oi naturaI gas deveIopment
poses a threat to suriace waters
SaÌÌy Entrekin
, MicbeÌÌe Evans-Wbite
, Brent Jobnson
, anJ EÌisabetb Hagenbucb
Iront Lco| Lnvìron 2011; 9(9): 503-511, Joi:10.1890/110053 (pubÌisbeJ onÌine 6 Oct 2011)
In a nutsbeÌÌ:
º 1le corstructior of pipelires arJ roaJs coupleJ witl tle
extractior of ratural ,as from slale basirs may pose erviror-
mertal tlreats
º Streams arJ rivers rear rewly JrilleJ ratural ,as wells are
vulrerable to seJimert ruroff, reJuceJ streamflow, arJ possi-
ble cortamiratior from irtroJuceJ clemicals arJ tle result-
ir, wastewater
º leJeral arJ state ervirormertal re,ulatiors may rot prevert
or miti,ate Jama,ir, effects to surface waters
º Sciertific stuJies are reeJeJ to urJerstarJ tle possible ervi-
rormertal effects causeJ by activities associateJ witl ratural
,as extractior
ß|o|o¸y Deµcrtment, Ln|vers|ty oj Centrc| -r|cnscs, Conwcy, -R
Deµcrtment oj ß|o|o¸|cc| Sc|ences, Ln|vers|ty oj
-r|cnscs, ícyettev|||e, -R,
Nct|onc| íxµosure Resecrc| lcoorctory,
LS ínv|ronmentc| Irotect|on -¸ency (íI-), C|nc|nnct|, ÒH,
Dyncmcc Corµorct|on, contrccteJ oy t|e LS íI-, C|nc|nnct|, ÒH
Natural ,as Jevelopmert arJ surface waters S Lrtrekir et c|.
www.frontiersinecoÌogy.org © 1le Lcolo,ical Society of America
Approximately 23 tcm of tlat ,as is fourJ ir urcorver-
tioral (ie low permeability) ,as reservoirs; Jevelopmert
of sucl reservoirs las ircreaseJ by 65% sirce 1998 (LS
DÒL 2OO9). 1lere are 29 krowr slale basirs sparrir,
2O states, wlicl are expecteJ to cortribute +5% of tle
total LS ,as proJuceJ by 2O35 (LlA 2O11; li,ure 1a).
lurtlermore, tle LS ,as supply represerts orly a fractior
of tle total ,lobal estimate of potertially accessible rat-
ural ,as (-+59 tcm) arJ, outsiJe of Nortl America, orly
11% las so far beer recovereJ (Ml1 2O1O). Developmert
of potertially accessible ratural ,as is expecteJ to
ircrease witl risir, ,lobal JemarJ arJ tle trarsfer of
Jrillir, teclrolo,ies overseas.
Threats to surface waters
1le rapiJ exparsior ir ratural ,as Jevelopmert tlreat-
ers surface-water quality at multiple poirts, creatir, a
reeJ to assess arJ urJerstarJ tle overall costs arJ bere-
fits of extractir, tlis resource from slale reservoirs. Cas-
well Jevelopmert of ary type creates surface Jisturbarces
as a result of larJ clearir,, irfrastructure Jevelopmert,
arJ release of cortamirarts proJuceJ from Jeep ,rourJ-
water (e, brires). However, tle use of
lyJraulic fracturir, poses aJJitioral
ervirormertal tlreats Jue to water
witlJrawals arJ cortamiratior from
frackir,-fluiJ clemicals. Lxtractior of
,as from slale formatiors may also pro-
Juce corsiJerably more metlare (CH
tlar corvertioral wells arJ coulJ lave
a lar,er ,reerlouse-,as footprirt tlar
otler fossil-fuel Jevelopmert (Howartl
et c|. 2O11). lurtlermore, ,as wells are
ofter locateJ aJjacert to rivers arJ
streams arJ may occur at li,l Jersities
ir proJuctive slale basirs, resultir, ir
cumulative impacts witlir watersleJs.
Lrvirormertal arJ lumar lealtl cor-
cerrs associateJ witl lyJrofrackir,
lave stirreJ mucl Jebate, arJ tle prac-
tice las receiveJ extersive attertior
from tle meJia (Lrbira 2O11) arJ from
researclers (LS LlA 2OO+; lar,bo et c|.
2O1O; Òsborr et c|. 2O11; LS LlA 2O11;
Colborr et c|. ir press). lesearcl tlat
aJJresses corcerrs re,arJir, ircreaseJ
Jrillir, arJ lyJrofrackir, ir slale
basirs las primarily focuseJ or cortam-
irarts tlat tlreater Jrirkir, water arJ
,rourJwater, wlereas Jata collectior to
aJJress corcerrs associateJ witl surface
water arJ terrestrial ecosystems las
lar,ely beer overlookeJ.
Òur ,oal lere is to proviJe back-
,rourJ irformatior or slale Jevelop-
mert ir tle LS tlat may irform
future ecolo,ical stuJies tlat assess tle potertial for
ervirormertal impacts. We use Jata from tle
layetteville arJ Marcellus slale formatiors to Jemor-
strate tle recert accelerateJ Jrillir, activity, well prox-
imity to streams, arJ well Jersity relatiorslips witl
stream turbiJity. We also review otler potertial tlreats
to aquatic freslwater ecosystems as a result of ircreaseJ
ratural ,as Jevelopmert.
Focus areas
1le layetteville arJ Marcellus slale basirs are amor,
tle most proJuctive ir tle LS. 1le layetteville slale
basir urJerlies more tlar 23OOO km
of Arkarsas arJ
easterr Òklaloma, at a Jeptl of 3OO-2OOO m (li,ure 1a).
1le rumber of ,as wells siteJ ir tlis area las ircreaseJ
rearly 5O-folJ, from 6O to 283+ wells sirce 2OO5, ir a
corcertrateJ area of rortl-certral Arkarsas (li,ure 1, b
arJ c). 1le Marcellus slale basir spars 2+O OOO km
at a
Jeptl of 12OO-25OO m arJ urJerlies six states ir tle
upper MiJ-Atlartic, ircluJir, mucl of tle Appalacliar
re,ior (li,ure 1J). Lstimates irJicate ratural ,as reserves
ir tle Marcellus to be 1+ tcm, or 59% of tle total esti-
Iìgurc 1. (c) Nct|onc| mcµ oj c|| reco¸n|,eJ µotent|c| crecs jor unconvent|onc|
ncturc| ¸cs exµ|orct|on |n t|e cont|¸uous LS, (o) Jens|ty oj we||s |n t|e ícyettev|||e
unconvent|onc| ncturc| ¸cs ocs|ns, (c) numoer oj ¸cs we||s |nstc||eJ |n t|e
ícyettev|||e cnJ Mcrce||us ocs|ns jrom 2005 to 2010, cnJ (J) Jens|ty oj we||s |n t|e
Mcrce||us s|c|e ocs|ns. \e cc|cu|cteJ Jens|t|es us|n¸ t|e |erne| Jens|ty too| |n
-rcMcµ 9.3.1.
(a} (b}
0 375 750 1500 ki|ometers
0 37.5 75 150 ki|ometers
0 100 200 400 ki|ometers
We|| density
US sha|e
gas regions
US sha|e
gas basins
S Lrtrekir et c|. Natural ,as Jevelopmert arJ surface waters
© 1le Lcolo,ical Society of America www.frontiersinecoÌogy.org
mateJ urcorvertioral reserves ir tle LS (LS DÒL
2OO9). As of summer 2O1O, tle Marcellus laJ 3758 rat-
ural ,as wells, witl projectiors of up to 6O OOO wells beir,
corstructeJ ir tle re,ior over tle rext 3O years (Jolrsor
2O11). 1le Marcellus formatior also urJerlies sersitive
watersleJs, sucl as tle tlreatereJ upper Delaware liver,
a Jesi,rateJ wilJ arJ sceric river tlat supplies Jrirkir,
water to >15 millior people (DlLC 2OO8). 1le rapiJ
Jevelopmert of ,as wells ir relatively corcertrateJ areas
may ircrease tle likelilooJ of ecolo,ical impacts or sur-
rourJir, forests arJ streams.
Proximity of gas-we|| deve|opment to water
We iritially assesseJ tle proximity of active ,as wells to
water resources usir, state well-locatior Jata arJ tle
Natioral HyJro,raply Dataset (NHD) flowlires (ie
streams arJ rivers mappeJ from 1:2+ OOO Di,ital Lire
Crapl lyJro,raply Jata). Spatial aralysis irJicateJ tlat,
for botl tle layetteville arJ Marcellus slale formatiors,
,as wells were siteJ, or avera,e, 3OO m from streams, yet
several lurJreJ wells were locateJ witlir 1OO m of
stream clarrels (1able 1). Cas wells were locateJ, or
avera,e, 15 km from public surface-water Jrirkir, sup-
plies, arJ 37 km arJ 123 km from public well water sup-
plies ir tle Marcellus arJ layetteville slale reservoirs,
respectively (1able 1). Altlou,l wells are ,ererally cor-
structeJ far from public Jrirkir,-water sources, tlere is
potertial for wastewater to travel lor, Jistarces, ,iver
tlat mary of tle comporerts of proJuceJ waters (ie a
mixture of frackir, fluiJs arJ ratural ,eolo,ic formatior
water flowir, back out of tle well), sucl as brires, will
rot settle out or be assimilateJ irto biomass.
lurtlermore, tle NHD urJerestimates tle Jersity of
leaJwater stream clarrels (Heire et c|. 2OO+), so our
proximity measures probably urJerestimate tle tlreat to
streams. We tlerefore useJ ,eo,raplic irformatior sys-
tem (ClS) tools to ,ererate JetaileJ Jraira,e-area ret-
works ir portiors of tle layetteville arJ Marcellus slale
reservoirs wlere ,as wells occur at li,l Jersities. 1le
terrair processir, tools ir ArcHyJro 1ools 9 versior 1.3
(ar ArcClS extersior) were useJ to ,ererate Jraira,e
area lires from 1O-m Ji,ital elevatior moJels (lttp://
seamless.us,s.,ov/reJ13.plp) ir a subset of Jraira,e
areas ir eacl slale basir. A stream tlreslolJ of 5OO
(5OOOO m
) was useJ to Jefire stream clarrels ir tle
moJel. Cas-well proximity was aralyzeJ a,air witl a sub-
set of moJeleJ stream Jraira,e areas arJ tle same subset
of NHD flowlires for comparisor (li,ure 2; 1able 2).
Active ,as wells were ar avera,e of 13O m arJ 153 m
from moJeleJ Jraira,e areas, as compareJ witl 23O m
arJ 252 m from NHD flowlires, ir tle layetteville arJ
Marcellus slale reservoirs, respectively. Òver 8O% of tle
TabIe 1. Number of unconventionaI gas weIIs driIIed each year since 2005 for Arkansas, New York, Ohio,
PennsyIvania, and West Virginia
7oto| # (percentj of we||s w|th|n u|stonce to
u|stonce to
NHu pu5||c woter pu5||c dr|nk|ng-
f|ow||nes we||s woter |ntokes
7oto| 7oto| (meon ± Su, 100 m of NHu 200 m of NHu 300 m of NHu (meon ± Su, (meon ± Su,
Stote we||s operotors ronge, mj f|ow||nes f|ow||nes f|ow||nes ronge, kmj ronge, kmj
319 ± 171 25.83 ± 17.93 14.83 ± 10.06
PA 2091
59 (8÷1172) 74 (4) 577 (28) 1141 (55) (0.32÷79.60) (0.60÷50.23)
214 ± 143 52.32 ± 32.81 11.16 ± 5.36
Wv 1599
86 (1÷850) 409 (26) 798 (50) 1198 (75) (0.55÷125.42) (0.53÷33.32)
230 ± 153 71.85 ± 28.29 14.15 ± 8.38
OH 42
12 (46÷691) 8 (19) 23 (55) 33 (79) (26.46÷138.17) (1.54÷29.87)
247 ± 182 10.47 ± 7.11 16.59 ± 9.06
NY 26
9 (27÷631) 9 (35) 12 (46) 14 (54) (2.58÷34.19) (4.58÷35.63)
tour 273 ± 168 37.51 ± 28.88 13.27 ± 8.55
states 3758 (1÷1172) 500 (13) 1410 (38) 2386 (64) (0.32÷138.17) (0.53÷50.23)
353 ± 241 123.67 ± 11.12 15.15 ± 7.49
AP 2834

21 (7÷1642) 269 (10) 900 (32) 1434 (51) (78.94÷156.12) (0.66÷133.43)
PA. Pennsylvanla Department ot Lnvlronmental Protectlon 8ureau ot Oll ano Gas (recoros avallable tbrougb 30 Sep 2010), www.oep.state.pa.us/oep/oeputate/mlnres/
Wv. West vlrglnla Geologlcal ano Lconomlc Survey (recoros avallable tbrougb early Sep 2010), www.wvges.wvnet.eou/www/oatastat/oevsbales.btm,
Oblo Department ot Natural Pesources Dlvlslon ot Mlneral Pesources Management (recoros avallable tbrougb 30 Sep 2010), www.onr.state.ob.us/
NY. New York State ot Lnvlronmental Conservatlon (recoros avallable tbrougb 30 Sep 2010), www.oec.ny.gov/energy/1603.btml,

AP. Arkansas Oll ano Gas Commlsslon (recoros avallable tbrougb 30 Sep 2010), www.aogc.state.ar.us/ (oata oownloaoeo trom. ttp.//www.aogc.state.ar.us/).
Natural ,as Jevelopmert arJ surface waters S Lrtrekir et c|.
www.frontiersinecoÌogy.org © 1le Lcolo,ical Society of America
active ,as wells were locateJ witlir 3OO m of moJeleJ
Jraira,e areas (1able 2). Lecause tle moJeleJ Jraira,e
areas estimate some irtermittert arJ eplemeral clarrels,
tle proximity of wells to stream clarrels (arJ tle poter-
tial for Jowrstream impacts) is ,reater tlar tlat reflecteJ
by NHD flowlire Jata. 1lis process may proviJe a more
accurate assessmert of potertial stream impacts, particu-
larly if slale ,as Jevelopmert cortirues at its currert rate.
As ,as-well Jersities cortirue to ircrease, tle proximity
of wells to stream clarrels may also ircrease, resultir, ir
a ,reater risk of streamflow reJuctiors from pumpir,, cor-
tamiratior from leaks arJ spills from proJuceJ waters or
frackir, fluiJs, arJ seJimertatior
from irfrastructure Jevelopmert (e,
pipelires arJ roaJs).
Environmenta| regu|ation
Lrvirormertal re,ulatior of oil arJ ,as
Jrillir, is complex arJ varies ,reatly
betweer states. 1le Safe Drirkir,
Water Act (SDWA) proviJes feJeral
laws for protectir, surface arJ ,rourJ-
waters arJ lumar lealtl, but witl tle
exceptior of Jiesel-fuel irjectior,
lyJraulic fracturir, operatiors are
exempt as a result of tle 2OO5 Lrer,y
lolicy Act. State a,ercies are tlerefore
primarily resporsible for re,ulatior arJ
erforcemert of ervirormertal issues
associateJ witl ratural ,as Jevelop-
mert. 1le rapiJ ,rowtl arJ exparsior
of LS ,as Jrillir, las maJe re,ulatior
Jifficult, arJ violatiors are commor; ir
lerrsylvaria alore, tlere were more
tlar 1+OO Jrillir, violatiors betweer
Jaruary 2OO8 arJ Òctober 2O1O
(lADLl 2O1O). Òf tlese, rearly lalf
Jealt witl surface-water cortamiratior
arJ ircluJeJ Jirect Jisclar,e of pollutarts, improper ero-
sior cortrol, or failure to properly cortair wastes. lr cor-
trast, tle Arkarsas Departmert of Lrvirormertal Quality
citeJ orly 15 surface-water violatiors ir tle layetteville
slale ir 2O1O; lowever, over lalf of tlese Jealt witl per-
mittir, arJ Jisclar,e violatiors associateJ witl ratural ,as
Jevelopmert (ADLQ 2O1O). 1le Jiscreparcy ir tle rum-
bers of violatiors betweer states Jemorstrates tle variable
Je,ree of re,ulatior at tle state level arJ is probably baseJ
or Jiffererces ir re,ulatiors as well as available re,ulatory
resources. 1le rumber arJ proportior of violatiors associ-
ateJ witl ratural ,as Jevelopmert irJicates tlat seJimerts
Iìgurc 2. Irox|m|ty oj ¸cs we||s to strecm c|cnne|s |n c suoset oj t|e ícyettev|||e cnJ
Mcrce||us unconvent|onc| ncturc| ¸cs reservo|rs. ß|ue s¡ucres reµresent t|e crecs moJe|eJ oy
CíS |n t|e ícyettev|||e s|c|e (¦c{ Jrc|nc¸e crec moJe|eJ cnJ reµresenteJ oy t|e o|ue s¡ucre
wcs 5o09 |m
) cnJ t|e Mcrce||us s|c|e (¦o{ Jrc|nc¸e crec moJe|eJ cnJ reµresenteJ oy t|e
o|ue s¡ucre wcs +0+1 |m
). Toµo¸rcµ||c mcµs cre excmµ|e crecs t|ct Jemonstrcte
J|jjerences oetween t|e Nct|onc| HyJro¸rcµ|y Dctcset cnJ moJe|eJ Jrc|nc¸e crec networ|s.
TabIe 2. Proximity of naturaI gas weIIs to stream channeIs modeIed by terrain processing tooIs in ArcHydro TooIs 9
(version 1.3) to generate drainage area Iines from a 10-m digitaI eIevation modeI (http://seamIess.usgs.gov/
ned13.php) as compared with weII proximity to NationaI Hydrography Dataset fIowIines
Prev|ous d|stonces Prev|ous d|stonces
Su5set (|n Morce||us, PA on|,j Su5set (|n Morce||us, PA on|,j
ronge meon ± Su ronge meon ± Su w|th|n w|th|n w|th|n w|th|n w|th|n w|th|n
(mj (mj (mj (mj 100 m 200 m 300 m 100 m 200 m 300 m
Dralnage area llnes 4÷316 153 ± 56 ÷ ÷ 17° 80° 100° ÷ ÷ ÷
NHD tlowllnes 48÷681 252 ± 114 8÷1172 319 ± 171 5° 39° 70° 4° 28° 55°
Dralnage area llnes 0÷420 130 ± 70 ÷ ÷ 32° 71° 82° ÷ ÷ ÷
NHD tlowllnes 1÷933 230 ± 136 7÷1642 353 ± 241 12° 43° 61° 10° 32° 51°
Processeo tor 615 ot 3758 wells (16°), processeo 42 ot 559 HUC-12 Unlts contalnlng well polnt locatlons (8°).
Processeo tor 2372 ot 2834 wells (84°), processeo
55 ot 84 HUC-12 Unlts contalnlng well polnt locatlons (65°).
0 750 1500 3000 meters
Sha|e gas
NHD f|ow|ines Drainage |ines
0 750 1500 3000 meters
0 500 1000 2000 meters 0 500 1000 2000 meters
S Lrtrekir et c|. Natural ,as Jevelopmert arJ surface waters
© 1le Lcolo,ical Society of America www.frontiersinecoÌogy.org
arJ cortamirarts associateJ witl Jrillir, are makir, tleir
way irto surface waters, arJ yet tlere are few stuJies exam-
irir, tleir ecolo,ical effects. lrimary tlreats to surface
waters arJ potertial exposure patlways (li,ure 3) ircluJe
seJimerts, water witlJrawal, arJ release of wastewater.
Lxcessive seJimert levels are ore of tle primary tlreats to
LS surface waters (LS LlA 2OO6) arJ lave multiple re,a-
tive effects ir lotic (river, stream, or sprir,) fooJ webs
(WooJ arJ Armita,e 1999). Cas-well irstallatior activities
car re,atively affect lotic ecosystems by ircreasir, seJimert
irputs from well paJs arJ supportir, irfrastructure (e,
roaJs, pipelires, stream crossir,s), as well as loss of ripariar
area. 1ypically, at least 1.5-3.O la of larJ must be cleareJ for
eacl well paJ, JeperJir, or tle rumber of wells per paJ;
wlere tlese occur ir li,l Jersities, well paJs car cumula-
tively alter tle larJscape. LarJ clearir, arJ stream Jistur-
barce Jurir, well arJ irfrastructure Jevelopmert car
ircrease seJimerts ir surface-water ruroff (Williams et c|.
2OO8), resultir, ir ircreaseJ susperJeJ arJ bertlic seJi-
merts ir surface waters. Nutrierts, sucl as plosplorus,
bourJ to tlese seJimerts may also lave re,ative impacts or
surface waters by cortributir, to eutroplicatior.
We iJertifieJ sever streams ir tle layetteville slale witl
a variety of Jifferert well Jersities witlir tleir Jraira,e
areas, to test tle preJictior tlat stream turbiJity woulJ be
positively relateJ to tle Jersity of ,as wells. 1le sever
stream Jraira,es were JelireateJ tlrou,l tle use of tle
ArcHyJro extersior ir ArcMap (versior 9.3.1 LSll).
Lsir, ,as-well locatior Jata obtaireJ from tle Arkarsas Òil
arJ Cas Commissior (ftp://www.ao,c.state.ar.us/ClS_liles/),
we quartifieJ well Jersity witlir eacl Jraira,e area as tle
total rumber of wells JiviJeJ by tle Jraira,e area. 1urbiJity
was measureJ witl a Hacl Lamotte 2O2O meter ir April
2OO9, Jurir, li,l sprir, flow. learsor proJuct momert cor-
relatiors iJertifieJ a positive relatiorslip betweer stream-
water turbiJity arJ well Jersity (li,ure +). 1urbiJity was rot
positively correlateJ to otler larJ-cover variables, but tlere
was a stror, re,ative correlatior betweer turbiJity arJ
Jraira,e area arJ percert pasture cover ir tle watersleJ
(1able 3). 1lese prelimirary Jata su,,est tlat tle cumula-
tive effects from ,as well arJ associateJ irfrastructure Jevel-
opmert may be Jetectable at tle larJscape scale.
Water w|thdrawa| may a|ter f|ow reg|me
Surface waters may serve as sources for recessary Jrillir,
arJ frackir, fluiJs - eacl well uses betweer 2-7 millior
Iìgurc 3. S|mµ||j|eJ J|c¸rcm oj µotent|c| t|rects Jue to ncturc| ¸cs Jeve|oµment t|rou¸| couµ|eJ |or|,ontc| Jr||||n¸ w|t| |yJrcu||c
j|u|J jrcctur|n¸ |n unconvent|onc| ncturc| ¸cs reservo|rs. íxµosure µct|wcys t|ct mcy resu|t |n structurc| cnJ junct|onc| c|terct|ons to
c¡uct|c ecosystems w||| vcry, JeµenJ|n¸ on ¸eo¸rcµ||c |occt|on cnJ r|¸or oj oest mcnc¸ement µrcct|ces cµµ||eJ. LíC = unJer¸rounJ
|n¡ect|on contro|, TDS = totc| J|sso|veJ so||Js, TíNÒRM = tec|no|o¸|cc||y en|cnceJ ncturc||y occurr|n¸ rcJ|occt|ve mcter|c|s.
DotteJ ||nes |nJ|ccte seconJcry ejjects jrom ¸cs Jeve|oµment. "í|owocc|" |s unJer||neJ to |nJ|ccte t|ct |t mcy oe recyc|eJ cnJ reuseJ.
Hydrau||c fractur|ng
UIC Treatment
Potent|a| stressors
and pathways
Landscape a|terat|on
R|par|an |oss
D|rect d|scharge
Land app|ication/buria|
TENORM Organics Meta|s
TDS Nutrients Sediment
Stream ecosystem structure/function
Natural ,as Jevelopmert arJ surface waters S Lrtrekir et c|.
www.frontiersinecoÌogy.org © 1le Lcolo,ical Society of America
,allors (-7.5-26 millior liters) of source water. Several
wells may be fractureJ per well paJ over tle life spar of
well Jevelopmert, wlicl may last several JecaJes. 1lis
corcertratior of fracturir, effort witlir a small area
sloulJ compourJ water use. Mary ,as wells are irstalleJ
ir re,iors wlere water is alreaJy beir, witlJrawr for
a,riculture, arJ tlus may furtler stress tle resource.
Streamflow may be re,atively affecteJ if streams are
JammeJ to create lolJir, porJs or if water is Jirectly
extracteJ for tle fracturir, process. 1le rapiJ arJ cor-
certrateJ extractior of water coulJ create re,ioral slort-
a,es Jurir, perioJs of Jrou,lt, resultir, ir ar altereJ
flow re,ime arJ tle furtler Je,raJatior of critical labitat
for aquatic biota, particularly if low-orJer streams are pri-
mary sources. A reJuctior ir streamflow may also result
ir secorJary effects, sucl as ircreaseJ cortamirart cor-
certratiors arJ reJuceJ Jowrstream water quality,
because less water is available for Jilutior.
Re|ease of wastewaters
Surface-water cortamiratior from lyJrofrackir, fluiJs
arJ proJuceJ water is most likely to occur Jurir,
lyJrofrackir, or treatmert arJ Jisposal processes, wler
tle potertial for acciJertal spills arJ leakir, is ,reatest.
Cortamiratior from lyJrofrackir, wastes car also occur
tlrou,l iraJequate waste treatmert practices, improper
waste stora,e, iraJequately corstructeJ impourJmerts
or well casir,s, arJ improper Jisposal of soliJ wastes (e,
ir poorly lireJ impourJmerts tlat are burieJ orsite)
tlat may leacl irto rearby surface waters. Wastewater
impourJmert porJs car tlerefore also pose a tlreat to
wilJlife arJ livestock.
lracturir, fluiJs typically ircluJe a combiratior of
aJJitives tlat serve as frictior reJucers, cross-lirkers,
breakers, surfactarts, biociJes, pH aJjusters, scale
irlibitors, arJ ,ellir, a,erts (NYSDLC 2O1O). 1le aim
of aJJitives is to aclieve ar iJeal viscosity tlat ercour-
a,es fracturir, of tle slale arJ improves ,as flow, but Jis-
coura,es microbial ,rowtl arJ corrosior tlat car irlibit
recovery efficiercy (LS DÒL 2OO9). Compositior of tle
fracturir, fluiJs car vary ,reatly amor, wells arJ slale
formatiors. Specific cortert is ofter proprietary,
altlou,l some states require Jisclosure of corstituerts
arJ comparies may volurtarily re,ister tle clemicals
tley use witl re,ulatory a,ercies. A recert Cor,res-
sioral irvesti,atior revealeJ tlat, over a +-year perioJ,
1+ leaJir, ,as comparies useJ over 25OO lyJrofrackir,
proJucts tlat cortaireJ 75O Jifferert clemicals, 29 of
wlicl were li,lly toxic or krowr carciro,ers.
lracturir, fluiJs useJ over tle perioJ totaleJ 78O millior
,allors or -2.9 billior liters (rot ircluJir, Jilutior
water), arJ ircluJeJ leaJ, etlylere ,lycol, Jiesel, arJ
formalJelyJe, as well as berzere, toluere, etlylberzere,
arJ xylere compourJs (LS House of lepresertatives
Committee or Lrer,y arJ Commerce 2O11). 1le vol-
ume of frackir, fluiJs recovereJ is also li,lly variable,
but urrecovereJ amourts car be substartial. Òrly
1O-3O% of fracture fluiJs are typically recovereJ from
wells ir portiors of tle Marcellus slale (NYSDLC 2O1O);
tlere is currertly ro irformatior or tle fate arJ trars-
port of tle urrecovereJ clemicals.
lroJuceJ waters pose a tlreat to surface waters because
tley typically cortair rot orly frackir, aJJitives but also
elevateJ levels of metals, JissolveJ soliJs (e, brire),
or,arics, arJ raJiorucliJes tlat occur raturally ir Jeep
,rourJwaters. Òrsite waste impourJmerts or evapora-
tior porJs coulJ overflow, spill, or leacl irto ,rourJwa-
ter arJ cortamirate rearby streams. Lver after treat-
mert, total JissolveJ soliJs (1DS) ir proJuceJ waters are
very li,l arJ remairir, salts are ofter JisposeJ of
tlrou,l larJ applicatior or useJ as roaJ salts, wlicl are
krowr to erter surface waters arJ cortribute to ircreaseJ
stream salirizatior (lauslal et c|. 2OO5). lecovereJ
wastewaters are most ofter trarsporteJ offsite for Jeep-
well irjectior or to a Jomestic wastewater treatmert
plart (WW1l) arJ/or corvertioral waste treatmert
facility. After fracturir,, iritially recovereJ flowback
water is sometimes reuseJ as frackir, fluiJ for otler wells.
leuse of recovereJ fluiJs is becomir, more commor, but
Iìgurc 4. \e|| Jens|ty cnJ strecm turo|J|ty mecsureJ |n -µr||
2009 Jur|n¸ ||¸| j|ows |n seven strecm Jrc|nc¸es. NTL =
neµ|e|ometr|c turo|J|ty un|t.
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14
We|| density (number per 1000 ha}
TabIe 3. Pearson product moment correIations
associated vaIues between turbidity (NTU) and other
Iandscape-IeveI variabIes, incIuding Iand cover (Gor-
ham and TuIIis 2007) and drainage area
CorreIates   vaIue
Well oenslty 0.91 0.003
Dralnage area ÷0.86 0.01
Low-lmpact urban 0.35 0.44
Wooo/berbaceous ÷0.63 0.12
Forest ÷0.36 0.42
Pasture ÷0.88 0.008
Quantltles tbe strengtb ot tbe olrectlonal relatlonsblp. Analyses were run ln
SlgmaPlot 11.
S Lrtrekir et c|. Natural ,as Jevelopmert arJ surface waters
still requires a substartial amourt of fresl water because
of low recovery volumes arJ tle reeJ to Jilute flowback
water cortairir, li,l corcertratiors of clloriJes, sul-
fates, barium, arJ otler potertially larmful substarces.
Domestic WW1ls are rot capable of treatir, tle li,l
1DS (5OOO to >1OO OOO m, L
) typical of recovereJ
wastewater. Mary WW1ls lave tlerefore beer forceJ to
limit tleir irtake of recovereJ lyJrofrackir, waste to
remair ir compliarce witl effluert limitatiors (\eil
2O1O). lrJustrial WW1ls are better equippeJ to treat
recovereJ wastes usir, reverse osmosis, filtratior, or
clemical precipitatior, but sucl facilities are costly arJ
rot wiJely available. 1lerefore, altlou,l billiors of liters
of proJuceJ water are beir, ,ererateJ arrually or a
ratioral scale by lyJrofrackir, (Clark arJ \eil 2OO9),
water treatmert optiors are limiteJ, arJ tle potertial
ecolo,ical impacts of wastes or terrestrial arJ aquatic
ecosystems are rot well stuJieJ.
Cha||enges and potentia| for new research
Quartifyir, tle effects of ratural ,as Jevelopmert or
surface waters ir slale basirs is Jifficult because multiple
comparies ofter work ir tle same ,eo,raplical area arJ
use Jifferert fracturir, teclriques (e, varieJ arJ ofter
proprietary compositior of fracturir, fluiJs), resultir, ir
urcoorJirateJ timir, of irfrastructure Jevelopmert arJ
well fracturir,. lr aJJitior, tle Je,ree to wlicl tlese
comparies aJlere to best mara,emert practices, sucl as
buffer strips arJ erosior cortrol Jevices, varies amor,
comparies as a result of tle Jifferir, re,ulatiors amor,
states arJ a,ercies. lurtlermore, wells occur across
lumar-impacteJ watersleJs witl claracteristics tlat
may corfourJ our ability to attribute effects from ,as-well
Most stuJies tlat examire tle effects of seJimerts or
biolo,ical commurities focus or slifts ir aburJarce, bio-
mass, Jiversity, or commurity compositior (WooJ arJ
Armita,e 1999); few stuJies lave aralyzeJ low seJi-
merts alter species' roles arJ tleir irteractiors (but see
Hazeltor arJ Crossmar 2OO9). lr aJJitior, cortamirart
effects are ofter assesseJ tlrou,l sir,le-species labora-
tory acute arJ clroric toxicity tests witl starJarJizeJ
test or,arisms (e, Dcµ|n|c, fatleaJ mirrows |I|meµ|c|es
µrome|cs|; Cairrs 1983) arJ witl sir,le cortamirarts.
StuJies are tlerefore reeJeJ to assess tle toxicity of cor-
tamirart mixtures (e, proJuceJ water arJ frackir,
fluiJs) arJ tleir effects or more complex commurities
arJ ecosystems, to preJict effects ir tle real worlJ
(Clemerts arJ Newmar 2OO2). SeJimert arJ cortami-
rarts associateJ witl recovereJ wastewater will likely
affect or,arism belavior arJ alter ecolo,ical irteractiors
at subletlal levels (Lvars-Wlite arJ Lamberti 2OO9).
leJuctiors ir feeJir, efficiercies (SarJleirricl arJ
Atclisor 1989) car leaJ to re,ative effects or reproJuc-
tior (LurkleaJ arJ Jelks 2OO1) arJ ,rowtl (leckarsky
198+), arJ may alter tle ma,rituJe or si,r (+ or -) of
© 1le Lcolo,ical Society of America www.frontiersinecoÌogy.org
species' effects, causir, clar,es ir commurity structure.
Lcolo,ists stuJyir, tle ervirormertal effects of ratural
,as extractior car tlerefore cortribute to sciertific
urJerstarJir, by examirir, tle effects of seJimert arJ
cortamirarts from ratural ,as Jevelopmert or species
arJ commurity irteractiors.
lr aJJitior to tle reeJ for traJitioral bioassessmerts,
tle irevitable alteratior ir larJ use tlat will occur as a
result of rapiJ arJ exparJeJ Jrillir, offers a template for
corJuctir, rovel experimerts ir ar ecosystem cortext.
Lcosystem furctiors, sucl as Jecompositior rates, are
affecteJ by multiple abiotic arJ biotic factors, makir,
tlem well-suiteJ for Jetectir, lar,e-scale alteratiors
(Lurr et c|. 1999). lor example, reJuceJ streamflows,
cortamirarts from proJuceJ wastewater arJ frackir, flu-
iJs, arJ elevateJ seJimert irputs woulJ alter ecosystem
furctiors, sucl as wlole-stream metabolism, Jecomposi-
tior of or,aric matter, arJ accrual of macroirvertebrate
biomass over time. However, it is rot krowr low ratural
,as Jevelopmert coulJ irfluerce biolo,ical processir,
rates. 1le potertial effects may stimulate or irlibit spe-
cific ecosystem furctiors. lor example, excessive seJi-
mertatior or clemical cortamiratior associateJ witl
ratural-,as-well Jevelopmert coulJ stimulate macroir-
vertebrate proJuctior by exparJir, labitat for tolerart,
multivoltire (species tlat proJuce several brooJs per sea-
sor) taxa (Store arJ Wallace 1998) or leaJ to a Jeclire
ir proJuctior by elimiratir, sersitive taxa represertir, a
majority of commurity ,rowtl arJ/or biomass (WooJ-
cock arJ Huryr 2OO7). A move to ircorporate ecosystem
furctiors irto mairstream biolo,ical assessmert arJ
restoratior protocols is currertly urJerway (lritz et c|.
2O1O), yet few stuJies lave beer corJucteJ to irform
tleir implemertatior arJ irterpretatior ir tle cortext
of corcurrert structural clar,es (Your, arJ Collier
2OO9). 1le rapiJ exparsior of ,as Jevelopmert across
tle LS coulJ proviJe a framework for tle implemerta-
tior of corcurrert structural arJ ecosystem experimerts
to irform process-baseJ ecolo,ical assessmert.
lurtlermore, ecolo,ical stuJies relatir, to ratural ,as
extractior coulJ be combireJ witl similar stuJies for sur-
face mirir, (lritz et c|. 2O1O; LerrlarJt arJ lalmer
2O11), to ,air a more lolistic view of tle ervirormertal
costs associateJ witl fossil-fuel extractior.
1le Jistirct elemertal compositior arJ isotopic si,ra-
tures of proJuceJ water proviJe urique opporturities for
tracer stuJies tlat coulJ irJicate aquatic system expo-
sure. Stable isotopes of strortium arJ carbor lave beer
useJ to trace water from coalbeJ ratural ,as proJuctior
wells to surface waters arJ lyporleic zores (Lrirck arJ
lrost 2OO7). Òsborr et c|. (2O11) useJ isotopes of water,
carbor, boror, arJ raJium to test for lyJraulic fracturir,
cortamiratior of slallow aquifers overlyir, tle
Marcellus arJ Ltica slale formatiors ir lerrsylvaria
arJ New York, respectively, arJ fourJ si,rificart
clar,es ir CH
corcertratiors ir Jrirkir,-water wells
rear locatiors wlere ,as wells lave beer JrilleJ. LimiteJ
Natural ,as Jevelopmert arJ surface waters S Lrtrekir et c|.
researcl las also su,,esteJ tlat CH
-JeriveJ carbor is
assimilateJ irto stream fooJ webs (lolzu et c|. 2OO+;
1rimmer et c|. 2O1O). Mary ,as-bearir, ,eolo,ical forma-
tiors also cortair elevateJ levels of raturally occurrir,
raJioactive materials, sucl as raJor (
lr) arJ raJium
la), tlat car be useJ as lyJrolo,ical tracers
(Cerereux arJ HemorJ 199O). 1le extert to wlicl
metals, or,arics, or otler cortamirarts from tle Jrillir,
arJ lyJrofrackir, process may ultimately erter aquatic
arJ terrestrial fooJ webs remairs urkrowr.
Natural ,as exploratior will cortirue to exparJ ,lobally.
lr aJJitior to tle potertial tlreats to ,rourJwater arJ
Jrirkir,-water sources, ircreasir, ervirormertal stress
to surface-water ecosystems is of serious corcerr.
Sciertific Jata are reeJeJ tlat will irform ecolo,ically
sourJ Jevelopmert arJ Jecisior makir, arJ ersure pro-
tectior of water resources. LlevateJ seJimert ruroff irto
streams, reJuctiors ir streamflow, cortamiratior of
streams from acciJertal spills, arJ iraJequate treatmert
practices for recovereJ wastewaters are realistic tlreats.
Cas wells are ofter siteJ close to streams, ircreasir, tle
probability of larm to surface waters, arJ prelimirary
Jata su,,est tle potertial for Jetectable effects from seJi-
mertatior. le,ulatiors tlat corsiJer proximity of rat-
ural ,as Jevelopmert to surface waters may tlerefore be
reeJeJ. lurtler ecolo,ical researcl or impacts from
Jevelopir, ratural-,as-well irfrastructure are sorely
reeJeJ, arJ will irform future re,ulatory strate,ies arJ
improve our urJerstarJir, of tle factors affectir, com-
murity structure arJ ecosystem furctior.
We tlark A Ler,Jale, l AJams, C AJams, arJ L Lewis
for early corversatiors tlat lelpeJ Jevelop our irterest ir
tlis topic. L D'Amico proviJeJ valuable assistarce or spa-
tial aralysis of well placemert arJ su,,estiors tlat lelpeJ
to slape tle maruscript. A Ler,Jale, W DoJJs, M Drew,
l lritz, arJ l Larsor proviJeJ commerts or early Jrafts
of tle maruscript. 1le LS Lrvirormertal lrotectior
A,ercy (LlA) tlrou,l its Òffice of lesearcl arJ
Developmert partially furJeJ arJ collaborateJ ir tle
researcl JescribeJ lere urJer cortracts Ll-D-O6-O96 arJ
Ll-D-11-O73 to Dyramac Corporatior. 1le views
expresseJ ir tlis article are tlose of tle autlor(s) arJ Jo
rot recessarily reflect tle views or policies of tle LS LlA.
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