One Friday last month I wrote about several concerns about hydraulic fracturing coming to North Carolina, and how ongoing research had already dismissed those fears.

Today I dismiss perhaps the most sensationalized fear over fracking: it’ll make your drinking water flammable. Hint: No, it won’t.

As I show, the examples of flammable drinking water have come from either:

  • Natural migration of methane unrelated to hydraulic fracturing, having been noted in 1976, 1936, even the 1800s, or
  • A garden hose deliberately attached to a gas vent in order to — in the words of a court finding — “provide local and national news media a deceptive video, calculated to alarm the public into believing the water was burning.”

The risk isn’t from the process of hydraulic fracturing, which has been done safely since the 1940s, but is merely a matter of well construction.