Special Digest


243 cases of water contamination from Pennsylvania

Newly published is a further and official confirmation from Pennsylvania that oil and gas operations do pollute water supplies with gas and other contaminants.

The state Department of Environmental Protection said in its report

"The following list identifies cases where DEP determined that a private water supply was impacted by oil and gas activities. "

A total 243 cases are listed, dating back to 2008. A redacted detail report is given for each case.

For example, the most recent CO302442 says this -

"The Department compared an April 12 2011 "predrill" survey test of your water supply with the March 2013, January February and June water sample results. The comparison showed that strontium, and total dissolved solids were present in your water supply in concentrations above those reported in the "pre-drill" survey. Through further investigation and sample collection, the Department has determined that nearby oil and gas related operations are responsible for these impacts on your water supply. Based on these impacts, and in consideration of your complaint that the quality of water from you water supply changed during the time of these impacts, the Department has determined that the impacts caused by nearby oil and gas operations affected the quality of your water supply resulting in pollution of your water supply. To our knowledge, you are currently being provided with temporary water by an oil and gas operator..... "

Not only does this finally nail the coffin of the lies politicians like Lilley, Lawson, Paterson, Fallon, Hayes, and not forgetting Cuadrilla that there has never been a proven case of contamination of water supply, but shows that The Pennsylvania DEP has known about contamination for years. It also shows, as I think looking through more case records will confirm, that contamination is not restricted to occurrence throgh surface spills but by drilling and fracking operations.

There is a clear message for farmers in the Fylde who rely on private wells for their own drinking water or water for their livestock. They should demand no permission is given for fracking under or near their land.

To be fair, not all of the reports are of contamination. (Although it is not clear how, in the report above, DEP proved the contamination was drilling related (maybe by presence of fracking ingredients they are not allowed to disclose? Who knows.)

Local water supply quantity is also at risk. Here is an early case report from 2008. SW-ORDER-4

"The House Spring and the Pond spring at all times served their purpose until shortly after the gas wells were drilled. Since the wells were drilled, the Pond spring has been reduced to a trickle, and the House spring is no longer adequate to water the garden irrigate the trees."

Frackers have contended that when methane contaminated water sources it was naturally occurring, not caused by drilling. A 2013 Duke University study concluded
"Overall, our data suggest that some homeowners living <1 km from gas wells have drinking water contaminated with stray gases." The study could not state categorically that the methane was from fracking itself, but the isotope signature of the gas found in wells suggested they were from the fracked Marcellus strata deep below, not from near-surface strata.

A quick look for an example in the Pennsylvania list of gas contamination (amongst other contaminants) is here - CO293075

The report does not detail isotpoic examination results but - significantly - it does say this -
"The sample results showed methane was present at between 7.7 and 33.2 mg/l in your water supply. At this time the Department's investigation indicates that gas well drilling has impacted your water supply."

The DEP regards concentrations over 7mg/l as potentially hazardous, and requiring water well venting at all times.

This report (from April 2014) also lists a number of contaminants including arsenic in samples above the primary or secondary maximum contaminant levels, although a caveat was expressed that this can appear in Pennsylvania water wells not related to drilling. The absence of pre-drilling analyses in this case says nothing one way or other about the additional contaminants.

The second message is therefore clear. If ANY fracking or test drilling is to take place in the Fylde or anywhere else, EVERY local water source should have its water tested pre-drilling The oil and gas companies should build this into their budgets, and this should be insisted on by either the EA or planning permit.

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