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Page added on February 11, 2016

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More Drinking Water Contamination

More Drinking Water Contamination thumbnail

Two recent drinking water investigations in Texas show dangerous levels of contamination.

The larger study tested 550 water samples collected from public and private water wells in the north Texas Barnett Shale region over a three-year period and found that the closer a water well is to a fracked gas well, the higher the concentration of contaminants including arsenic, selenium, strontium, and barium. This investigation also found “alarming” levels of benzene, a known carcinogen.

A smaller study in in south Texas sampled water quality in 80 homes in the Eagle Ford shale region. Of the 80 samples, 20 (25%) showed contamination with high levels of bromide. According to the scientist who conducted the investigation: “almost exclusively those were found within one kilometer of the drilling sites.” The sampling also found a few occurrences of volatile organic compounds that are dangerous to human health.

Bromide is known to be found in oil and gas wastewater, and when combined with chlorine, which is often used in drinking water disinfection, it can form highly toxic byproducts known as trihalomethanes.

In Pennsylvania, a 2015 report issued by Public Herald, a non-profit team of journalists, looked at transparency and procedural problems at the Pennsylvania Department of the Environment by reviewing hundreds of files where water had been contaminated. Back in 2014 I blogged about 248 cases in Pennsylvania where oil and gas companies contaminated private drinking water supplies. Public Herald looked at those and others. Among other things, the report found:

  • DEP used post-drilling water tests to determine contamination in some cases, instead of baseline water tests.
  • DEP never issued determination letters on some cases.
  • DEP does not issue determination letters when a homeowner is working to resolve the issue directly with the oil and gas company, so there are no public records of contamination for those cases.
  • Files were destroyed after only five years.
  • DEP issued different conclusions to homes near each other with similar complaints.

The report includes valuable analysis and offers a roadmap for state regulators to improve their complaint and enforcement process.


7 Comments on "More Drinking Water Contamination"

  1. makati1 on Thu, 11th Feb 2016 9:37 pm 

    I would bet a months income that there in not one well or public water supply in the Us that is not polluted with something dangerous. Not that other countries have pure water, but the US has been pouring chemicals, drugs and other ‘waste’ onto their lands and into their waterways for the last 100+ years. Millions of tons of lead added to gasoline for decades that settled as soot along every road in America. DDT, widely used everywhere as a pesticide on everything and everyone. Drug residue form the billions of dollars in legal and illegal drugs Americans consume every year, most of which pass in to the septic systems and find their way into the water. And on and on. Even bottled water is likely to just be tap water filtered a bit and passed on to the ignorant consumer.

  2. HARM on Thu, 11th Feb 2016 10:08 pm 

    Pennsylvania is frack central, while Texas is a right-wing libertarian’s paradise: almost no enforcement of “liberal” environmental protection laws, cuz… that’s socialism and only hippie-freaks want that y’all.

  3. Apneaman on Thu, 11th Feb 2016 10:15 pm 

    I bet boat’s house is fed by one of these wells. It would explain his never ending incoherent babbling. Stop drinking the tap water boat, it’s making you even stupider than a regular Texan.

  4. Pennsyguy on Thu, 11th Feb 2016 10:17 pm 

    I wonder what our leaders would do if a recent immigrant from the Middle East was caught putting poison in someone’s drinking water?

  5. Dooma on Fri, 12th Feb 2016 4:06 am 

    Mining in all of it’s various guises causes huge environmental distress to the planet.

    But poisoning the most precious resource know to man just to extract “tight” oil is just plain fucking stupid.

  6. Dooma on Fri, 12th Feb 2016 4:29 am 

    To “Pennsyguy”

    If his’ motherland was strategically desirable-they would invade it and install a puppet-leader-or if it was not, they would invade a country that was.

  7. Kenz300 on Fri, 12th Feb 2016 8:49 am 

    The fossil fuel industry is slowly poisoning the air, land and water we all need to survive…………

    It is time to transition to sager, cleaner and cheaper alternative energy sources.

    There Are Now More Solar Jobs In America Than Oil Jobs

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