Case Studies

Catalogue and summary of contamination cases in Canada and USA:  “Brief Review of Threats to Groundwater from the Oil and Gas Industry’s Methane Migration and Hydraulic Fracturing”

Table of Contents

1. Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment 

2. National Inventory of Groundwater 

3. Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy 

4. Documented cases of frac’ing contaminating groundwater 

5. Industry and Encana advertise there are no documented cases 

6. USGS: Coalbed methane (CBM) development contaminated water wells in the USA 

7. Five homes at Calmar to be destroyed because of industry’s leaking methane 

8. Ross Dress-For-Less Department Store explosion caused by industry’s leaking methane 

9. Husky’s 1993 Gas Migration Report: Big problem; impossible to completely fix 

10. Dr. Karlis Muehlenbachs and Alberta Energy Regulator Bulletin GB-99-06 

11. Increased methane in groundwater with increased drilling density 

12. Industry caused gas migration: A serious, wide-spread problem 

13. Inadequate cement 

14. It’s a world-wide problem

15. Frac-related incidents in Alberta: “Massive undertaking…millions of pages of records” 

16. Captured academia 

17. Historic water well records in Alberta: Most with no gas present before oil & gas 

18. CBM is hydraulically fractured, Encana says it’s not 

19. Toxic chemicals and waste dumping, or “Landspraying While Drilling” 

20. Alberta’s Baseline Water Well Testing Standard: Not standardized, not baseline 

21. Adverse health effects 

22. New Brunswick: Fracturing with nitroglycerin and methane leaks into water wells 

23. Nova Scotia: Radioactive frac waste 

24. Aquifer drawdown 

25. Alberta Environment: No protocol, not objective 

26. Numerous groundwater contamination cases caused by the oil and gas industry 

27. Gas migration legal case: Won by the water well owners 

28. Hutchinson, Kansas explosion: Industry’s gas migrated nearly 7 miles killing two

29. Good water wells become better gas wells than water wells 

30. Alberta Research Council (Alberta Innovates): Natural methane release is rare 

31. Bruce Jack methane and ethane contaminated water well explosion and others 

32. Osborne et al: 17x more methane in water wells near drilled and frac’d wells 

33. Bainbridge home explosion caused by water with less methane than at Rosebud 

34. Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers Report: 1 mg/l methane = explosion risk 

35. If Encana at Pavillion is “almost negligence”, what is EnCana at Rosebud? 

36. Zimmerman’s contaminated water at Wetaskiwin – methane, ethane and more 

37. Campbell’s contaminated water at Ponoka – methane, ethane, propane, H2S, etc

38. Who refuses to cooperate? 

39. Alberta Environment: Vent your methane contaminated water yourself 

40. Alberta Research Council (now Alberta Innovates): Errors and omissions 

41. ERCB Report: Frac’ing “accidentally” contaminated groundwater at Grande Prairie 

42. ERCB Report: Innisfail blow-out caused by frac’ing, no fines or punishment 

43. Regulators: Water contamination by the oil and gas industry “never” happens 

44. Regulators: Ignore science and real baseline testing recommendations 

45. Canada’s Environment Commissioner on frac’ing and chemical non-disclosure 

46. Alberta’s 171,000 oil and gas wells frac’d before knowing the risks 

47. Alberta’s legally immune new Energy Regulator will control fresh water 

48. Conflict of Interest: Encana’s Gerard Protti appointed to chair Alberta’s new energy regulator 

Table 1: Dissolved Methane Concentrations in Water Wells Discussed in this Brief 

Quebec Maps: Shale Gas Moratorium Tabled May 2013 and Areas Permitted to Oil and Gas


ERCB Letter to Mr. Stewart Shields Freedom of Information Request for Frac Incidents in Alberta 


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