(KPEL) -- A new study by the Department of Energy could answer the question on whether or not drilling fluids used in fracking can contaminate the drinking water.

The Energy Department says a drilling company in Pennsylvania is allowing them to add tracing compounds to the fluid used in the fracking process. Researchers will be able to see if the drilling fluids move upward or sideways from the well bottom, which is 8,100 feet deep.

Environmentalists are concerned the drilling fluids could rise and contaminate shallow drinking water aquifers. Industry officials say the process is safe if done properly, but there have been cases where faulty wells did cause pollution.