In the northern Great Plains, a search for ways to protect drinking water from fossil fuel industry pollution

North Dakota’s water supplies are at risk from contaminants from fracking wastewater, but residents are fighting back

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Photo © Alamy / ZUMA Press, Inc.
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North Dakota resident Lisa Finley-DeVille, a member of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation, is working to protect drinking water by changing how waste from hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is regulated. Photo courtesy of the Dakota Resource Council
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The Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, located in the middle of the oil-rich Williston Basin, is bordered by a massive concentration of fracking wells. Base map credit: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
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The Mandaree water intake near Mandaree, North Dakota, supplies water to the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation. Residents are concerned about contamination from fossil fuel–related activities. Photo courtesy of the Bureau of Reclamation

Several portions of North Dakota’s sandstone aquifers are exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act.

This past summer, New York became the first state to close the hazardous-waste loophole, meaning that oil and gas waste will now be treated as other hazards.

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