In this study, researchers used two of the most productive shale sites in the US, Fayetteville and Marcellus, to review the potential for environmental impacts of fracking on nearby surface water. On average, active wells were situated just 300m from streams and rivers, with several hundred wells less than 100m away from stream channels. The fact that wells are typically located close to surface water increases the risk to aquatic ecosystems in three main ways: water withdrawal, contamination and excess sediment. Potential ecological impacts of increased sediment and/or contamination are reductions in feeding efficiencies and impaired growth and reproduction in aquatic creatures, resulting in changes in community structure and overall ecosystem functioning.
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