Attitudes, Perceptions, and Geospatial Analysis of Water Quality and Individual Health Status in a High-Fracking Region




Stigler Granados, Paula
Hildenbrand, Zacariah L.
Mata, Claudia
Habib, Sabrina
Martin-Sandoval, Misty
Carlton, Doug
Santos, Ines C.
Schug, Kevin A.
Fulton, Lawrence V.

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Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute


The expansion of unconventional oil and gas development (UD) across the US continues to be at the center of debates regarding safety to health and the environment. This descriptive study evaluated the water quality of private water wells in the Eagle Ford Shale as well as community members’ perceptions of their water. Community members (n = 75) were surveyed about their health status and perceptions of drinking water quality. Water samples from respondent volunteers (n = 19) were collected from private wells and tested for a variety of water quality parameters. Of the private wells sampled, eight had exceedances of maximum contaminant limits (MCLs) for drinking water standards. Geospatial descriptive analysis illustrates the distributions of the well exceedance as well as the well owners’ overall health status. Point-biserial correlational analysis of the haversine distance between respondents and well exceedances revealed four statistically significant relationships {Well 11, Well 12, Well 13, Well 14} with correlations of {0.47, 53, 0.50, 0.48} and p-values of {0.04, 0.02, 0.03, 0.04}, respectively. These correlations suggest that as distance from these northwestern wells increase, there is a higher likelihood of exceedances. Those relying on municipal water or purchased water assessed that it was less safe to drink than those relying on private wells for drinking (p < 0.001, Odds Ratio, OR = 44.32, 95% CI = {5.8, 2003.5}) and cooking (p < 0.003, OR = 13.20, 95% CI = {1.8, 589.9}. Tests of proportional differences between self-reported conditions and provider-reported conditions revealed statistical significance in most cases, perhaps indicating that residents believed they have illnesses for which they are not yet diagnosed (including cancer). In many cases, there are statistically significant differences between self-reported, provider undiagnosed conditions and self-reported, provider diagnosed conditions.



unconventional oil and gas development, health survey, anthropogenic impacts, perception, Health Administration


Stigler Granados, P., Hildenbrand, Z. L., Mata, C., Habib, S., Martin-Sandoval, M., Carlton, D., Santos, I. C., Schug, K. A., & Fulton, L. (2019). Attitudes, perceptions, and geospatial analysis of water quality and individual health status in a high-fracking region. Water, 11(8): 1633.


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