Well, the problem of “chemicals” is pretty minimal. The amount of fracking liquid used it fairly small, and is only used at the very beginning of the process. Technically, that liquid is actually just mostly water, with some oils in it, but again, there’s not that much of it.
The groundwater pollution tends to come from the natural gas itself leaking into the water. When they drill these wells, part of the process involves pouring a sheathe of concrete around the well’s pipe itself, which then contains all of the gas. If they incorrectly pour that sheathe, then what happens is that gas leaks into the ground water (because the layer of shale where the gas is coming from is actually down below the water table). The result is that natural gas gets dissolved into the water, and then if you have a water well, the water comes up with some natural gas dissolved into it. It’s generally not actually HARMFUL to people, but it smells and tastes bad, so you wouldn’t want to deal with it.
This kind of thing is easy to avoid though. The problem, in PA at least, is that there was a mad dash to get wells in the ground fast out of fear that regulations would come later on, and they incorrectly made some of the wells, which polluted the water table. And since the regions where the wells were made are generally rural areas, everyone out there has private wells for water.
What really sucks, is if you refuse to lease your land for them to put in a well, but then your neighbor does. Cause they’re gonna get the same gas that’s under your property, and if they fuck up and pollute the water, it’s gonna mess up your well too.
They also basically conned a bunch of the folks out here, by giving them a slice of the production… but the reality is, while the production is high for the first few weeks, it slows down afterwards, and then a single wellhead isn’t putting out that much money, so you end up with crap on your property that gives you basically no real income anyway.