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SOS Butler County: Black Water + Purple Water = A Fracking Nightmare

February 11, 2012

Kim McEvoy manages to find a spot to put a tray of cupcakes in a kitchen where every level surface is covered with jugs of water. Some of the water is drinkable: that’s the water her husband re-fills at his job, using one-gallon jugs; or the water she drew from her then-clear, good-tasting well water back in 2008, stocking up for a hurricane. But some of that water is not drinking water. Many of the jugs have brownish-grayish water in them — the water that comes from her kitchen tap, which have an “X” marked clearly on them with a black marker. Kim’s kitchen tap has been connected again to her water well since the gas drilling company, Rex Energy, took away the water buffalo (large plastic container) full of replacement water they had been providing for her family up until January 16th.

Kim’s neighbor Janet McIntyre succeeded in persuading Rex Energy to provide both her family and Kim’s family with 20 gallons per week of bottled drinking water, but even that will be cut off by February 29th, and even that required Janet to threaten, in a phone conversation with Rex Energy representative, to call her attorney. “They were none too gracious about it,” Janet said.  Six neighboring families still have their water buffaloes; two other families, besides the McIntyres and McEvoys, had the clean water deliveries cut off by Rex Energy in January. One of those families is paying out of pocket for replacement water.

In Kim’s kitchen last Saturday, February 4th, I had a conversation I never expected to have with a three-year-old. Referring to the jug of brownish-gray water I’d just watched Kim fill from her tap, I asked Kim’s daughter Skylar, “What does the black X mean?” She said smartly, “Don’t drink the water!” Looking at a photo Kim McEvoy took of her own bathtub last year, showing gray and black water residue, I asked Skylar, “Do you take baths in your bathtub any more?” and she answered emphatically, “Nope!”

Kim McEvoy lives in Connoquenessing Township, Butler County, in western Pennsylvania. She and, according to a rough survey, 51 of her neighbors have had their water “go bad” — discolored; in one case foaming; in some cases smelly; and in some cases running out — since January 2011, when her water suddenly turned such a dark gray that it left black marks in the bathtub. By September, struggling to find out what was in her water and struggling to get a secure source of clean replacement water, Kim had had enough. She wrote Governor Corbett a letter to which the governor has never responded. It began,

My name is Kimberlie McEvoy, I own my home in Connoquenessing Township, Butler County, and I have black water.

Between the end of February and the beginning of March 2011 my water turned black and had a foul, smelly odor. My fiancée and I showered in the water and became sick with headaches, fatigue and painful sinuses. I’m so glad I did not
bathe my two-year-old daughter in the water.

The only thing in my environment that had changed was the drilling of two gas wells near my home, so I called the gas company, Rex Energy. They came out and retested my water well and gave me a water buffalo. The retest of my water showed arsenic, manganese, ammonia and other volatile organic compounds. Rex is now fracking the gas wells…

Right now the health and well being of my family depends on my water buffalo. When Rex Energy takes it away we will have no water. Since the fracking and flaring have begun, the air quality has deteriorated. We can’t play outside without getting a headache or a sore throat.

Now that the water buffalo is gone, the situation is much more serious. While Kim, her fiance and 3 year old daughter, Skylar, are neither drinking nor showering in their well water, their neighbors are experiencing multiple problems. Neighbors are reporting health symptoms including rashes; a severe nosebleed; vomiting; headaches; and more. Two leukemia cases have been reported.

One man died just over a week ago.  According to Janet McIntyre, Kim’s neighbor, the man, Mr. Dennis Peterson, 49, had reported last September that he had “rashes all over his body,” and he was diagnosed with leukemia by December. The cause of death has not been confirmed independently as of this writing. While leukemia is associated with volatile organic chemicals,  in particular benzene; and volatile organic chemicals abound in association with gas drilling — moving through air and water, while benzene also multiplies due to the sudden heavy industrialization and increase in truck traffic — it may be difficult to know whether the man’s rashes, failing health and death were directly caused by gas drilling in the area.  The EPA recently found benzene in drinking water at 50 times the safe limit in Pavillion, Wyoming after fracking has been going on there for over ten years. Rex Energy has been drilling and fracking in the Connoquenessing area for over two years, and the people there appear to be completely without authoritative help from those who should be most concerned: the EPA, CDC and ATSDR.

“We are surrounded”

Janet McIntyre sent her water test results, including tests showing toluene, acetone, high methane levels, and other contaminants, including one test (which PA DEP says was a “blank,” meaning they say it was just trouble with the test tube) showing 1,3,5 trimethyl benzene, to EPA last December. The last she heard from EPA, around Christmas time, they had “received the documents but have been too busy to review them.”

Both families say that Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) has told them their water troubles are “just aesthetic,” and has assured them that the water is safe to drink.  Requests for re-tests have gone unanswered, and Janet McIntyre said that one PA DEP regulator told her, “You should be grateful for the fracking because they’re injecting lots of water underground, raising the level of the aquifer.”  Both Kim and Janet say they have been told point blank, “You’re the only one having any problems.”

Unfortunately, the problems now include disappearing water. While the gas industry withdraws millions of gallons of water locally for fracking, local residents including the McEvoys and a neighbor named “Denny Fair,” are finding their water is running out. Denny Fair reported his water was “gone” around last November, according to Janet McIntyre; and Kim says her water runs out after seven minutes.

Some of the reported health impacts, such as the vomiting, severe nosebleed, and rashes described by Janet and Fred McIntyre, are disturbingly consistent with known gas drilling impacts. Janet also described flaming water on at least one occasion: “We collected Denny Fair’s well water in a bucket. At that point we set it on fire. We were so amazed it had caught fire, I thought, ‘oh, I was so stupid not to have a video camera!’ “

Janet described her own water as foaming out of the tap on two occasions, which she refers to as “attacks” because it felt their water was under attack by the gas drilling company. She said it was purple. Other residents have reported their water turning orange, red, and brown.

Janet McIntyre sent a statement to the press conference Protecting Our Waters organized in September 2011.  and our summary of interviews with her up until that time describing her troubled water, including her test results and the death of the family’s dog, is here.

Five months later, when I finally met the McIntyres in person, Fred McIntyre told me, “We are surrounded by thirty gas wells.” On a ten-minute tour I saw several of those well pads spaced close together, along with a huge frack pit open to the sky.

Janet McIntyre, like many others, including Theo Colborn, had tried to describe to me in words the overpowering stench at gas drilling operations which regulators call an “odor event.” This blog reported on an “odor event” in Texas not long ago here. But when we stopped by the Grosick well pad on Woodlands Road and rolled down the car window, I was coughing to the point of retching within 60 seconds. It was not a mere “odor” or “smell” in the ordinary sense of the word — it was rather more like being overpowered, choked and nauseated. I have reported the event to the EPA and have gotten no response. But that was based on a few minutes’ exposure. The McIntyres said, “We were breathing that bad air all last summer.”  So were the cows across the street from the Grosick well pad.

Kim McEvoy commented, “I can’t even stand to live here any more… my dream is dying.”

Kim’s gets the last word, from her letter to Governor Corbett — hand delivered to Governor Corbett’s Philadelphia office on September 7th:

I love Butler County but I fear I will have to foreclose on my home and leave. I just wonder how many more Pennsylvanians will have to make this same heart breaking decision. Please stop the drilling. It’s not right to allow the gas
companies to gamble with our lives.

UPDATE February 20, 2012: To take action to help the impacted families in Butler County, please send this letter to the EPA. It’s great if you can help  by adding a supportive sentence of your own to the beginning of the letter to individualize it.

And, even while more bad news accumulates (a gray liquid observed spilling off a Rex Energy drilling pad site this morning while workers did not appear to observers to have contained the ongoing spill; another woman reported that foul odors from the Sarsen plant in Butler County sickened her on December 8th, from 1/4 mile away– that’s some extreme emissions for you!) there’s good news too!

Farmer Stephen Cleghorn of Jefferson County drove 3 hours round trip today to lend his own water buffalo to the McIntyre family; and I got a pledge from an environmental group to buy drinking water, for the month of March, for two of the impacted families, on an emergency basis! Step by step is the only way to build our meaningful assistance and resistance.

Thanks for all your letters to EPA and for any offers of help. For the moment, please email me at protectingourwaters@gmail.com if you would like to donate to help provide water, because I am already in touch both with the impacted families and with a wonderful network of local activists who are meeting right now to provide organized assistance. We will be accountable, transparent and public if any funds are donated. If you do want to help, please put DONATE WATER FOR BUTLER in the subject heading of your email; and we will coordinate with the bookkeeper of our 501(c)3 fiscal sponsor to make sure donations can be tracked properly and channeled to the families appropriately. We will report back. Meantime, please write EPA because really, this is their job. Thanks!

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54 Comments
  1. February 11, 2012 2:18 pm

    This is what I am afraid of. Pennsylvania, Butler Co residents have jumped into this without giving it all time to show it’s true colors. I have just learned that drilling will be starting soon very near the Slippery Rock Creek and the contracts that were made in 2007 for a mere 10 bucks an acre have automatically turned over at that rate and the claims are that they are non-negotiable (I just can’t believe that) and would like to do something before it is too late. So I am searching for what the people of Butler Co. can actually do. I don’t want a dead end search. I am willing to be part of the action to stop it. I don’t want to just keep reading the horror stories and warnings. I already know this is not good for us. I am sorry for all the suffering that the people already exposed to this are facing. All the money in the world is not going to buy us a clean drink of water and we will all die and those who have profited from all of this will just have moldy money in the end and still won’t have a drink of clean water. Shame Shame to those who thought they would get rich. And Pennsylvania doesn’t even seem to be getting rich or even well cared for in the whole matter.

  2. February 11, 2012 8:18 pm

    what a great article against fracking!

  3. February 11, 2012 9:07 pm

    This is so wrong. This is the civil rights issue of our time and the single most important change we need to force upon our local, state and federal government is that the people cannot be dispensible to corporations!

    • February 21, 2012 1:41 pm

      I’ve contacted the local state and federal government but they discourage this effort and send us back to the DEP and EPA which are also part of the problem. Currently I am searching for a lawyer that can get the Slippery Rock Campground out of a bogus contract that was signed in 2007 and just rolled over. It has taken me a whole month of phone calls. And I have acted on every piece of advice. I’m still nowhere but I am aware and so many are not. Keep informing me of what I can do and I will do whatever it is I have not tried.

      • February 27, 2012 10:05 pm

        I have surrendered to the dead end of trying to have a lease renegotiated, although I still don’t see how a lease can just roll over without reconsideration I have given up and realize that it is the fault of those who signed such a lame lease along with those who did not attempt to have it voided until it was too late. Now I am hoping and helping those of us in the State of Pennsylvania who have enough wisdom to know that we need to save these people from themselves and go state wide. I have signed every petition that I have been asked and as a state we just may be able to do this. The petition needs 20,000 signatures. this is the link. https://secure3.convio.net/engage/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=4541

  4. Sally G permalink
    February 11, 2012 11:11 pm

    This is such a hard article to read. Where is our government; where are the regulators; how can this be happening?!

  5. Carol permalink
    February 11, 2012 11:54 pm

    The natural gas companies, in league with the political powers that be, seem bent on destroying the quality of life of the people in upstate Pennsylvania. Their disregard for
    human welfare is criminal. Are we back to the days of the Bubonic Plague?

  6. February 12, 2012 8:41 am

    So how do we stop this drilling. Who do we call or write to?

    • Jane Tolomello permalink
      February 22, 2012 12:17 am

      you write everyone and everywhere…but first..you get involved in your local, state, and federal politics and vote!..YOU have to VOTE out the gaswhores and learn who the canidate is..what he believes in ..and MOST important..his feelings on Gas Drilling…this industry thrives on politicians breaking every rule…and making up laws to allow the to do what ever they please… allowing for them to be able to ruin and destroy the average persons life…do not believe the propaganda this industry sprews…listen to the people above, listen to the neighbors living next to this God Awful industry..NOT the industry making BILLIONS … these people loose everything while this industry and the politicians in their pockets make more and more and more money…GREED over LIVES! and they call this the ‘American Dream’…huh!!! It goes way beyond who to write and who to call..it is educating others…joining in to make a difference…warning..it is a very long, and very frustrating task…but one you may as well jump on board and begin today..for this will stop at nothing..and be prepared for it to be in a back yard near you…..

  7. Bill Henry permalink
    February 12, 2012 12:50 pm

    Taxation WITHOUT REPRESENTATION IS TYRANNY.

  8. Dianne Arnold permalink
    February 12, 2012 3:25 pm

    Our state representatives just made it easier for the industry to exploit PA by voting in favor of HB 1950. These stories will continue to occur until outraged people come together to fight back. Cindy, there is a grassroots organization in Butler called Marcellus Outreach Butler. Check out their website and get involved.

    • February 13, 2012 3:08 pm

      Dear Dianne, Thank you for referring me to Marcellus Outreach Butler. I will be looking into it right now. We need some way to reach out with others involved. I am 1 of 1,000 members of Slippery Rock Campground and two of our Board of Directors signed a contract in 2007 for five years and it was suppose to be re-negotiable Feb. 8th 2012 and as a membership we thought it would not be re-newed, however I was told it just rolled over and that it was not negotiable. I am having a hard time digesting this. The company that the original lease was signed with no longer existes and the two board members who signed are no longer our board members as we have voted them out. Their signatures should be voided. After all the horror story’s we are hearing about I think we should have a right to re-think this whole thing over and not just allow contracts to turn over. I’m very concerned about the Slippery Rock Creek and the water shed in general of Worth Twp. which has had much attention because it is still a clean water source. Well I’m going to the Marcellus Outreach Butler now. Thank you very much

  9. February 12, 2012 6:02 pm

    Good article! As a pilot, it is amazing to see how surrounded they are by gas wells. Truely sad. Butler county is a beautiful Pennsylvania area and good people too.

  10. Digger permalink
    February 12, 2012 8:53 pm

    Water an absolute necessity! Without it our living conditions & life are in grave danger. A luxury many people take for grant it not realizing how important it actually is. Unfortunately, once again water in another community within the Commonwealth is poisoned. We have incompetent legislatures who recently passed a law denying all municipalities & their appointed planning & zoning committee the right to deny any fracking company from drilling within their community even though they know or fear their water could/will become contaminated. Voters must get involved in the 2012 election. Vote out people like Metcalfe, Christiana, Turzai & all other legislatures who voted to allow fracking companies to drill in communities without first being approved by the communities planning/zoning boards. Vote them out of office in 2012 for refusing to get involved immediately in helping these people here. What about all the other communities in this Commonwealth who are still begging for their immediate help and never received it. Our legislators promised to help the communities contaminated; promised to collect money from the companies to pay for the damages in full by holding each company responsible. However, the legislators have done absolutely nothing to help each & every community that has been contaminated & poisoned. People, please read the newspaper! Get involved as well before your water source is contaminated. Voters need to do absolutely everything within their power to guarantee each & every legislator becomes unemployed in 2012 if they voted for this bill. Lastly, may the landowners who signed contracts with these fracking companies to have money in their pockets instead of investigating what they were signing away can be included in the civil action as well.

  11. Xenon Rebellis permalink
    February 14, 2012 1:17 pm

    WARNING: All good people harken to this message. Be it known that thousands of people are experiencing what you are currently going through. It is futile to plead with your governors, or state environmental agencies. They have ALL become corrupt, no matter what state in which you reside. In every state the response has been the same. The complaints of thousands of people are marginalized and shunted aside with the victims being told they are isolated cases. This is not true. This is a national crisis that has gone past the point of remediation. Federal and state officials have succumbed to the money that is being spread around by the national energy lobby in what amounts to nothing short of bribery of our elected representatives.

    The problem faced by these corrupt officials is that they have committed themselves so deeply to a known and proven dangerous process that they cannot correct because this ground water contamination is forever. State officials are now faced with the choice of either admitting they knowingly placed their constituency in danger, or denying all of the inherent problems and complaints in order to protect their careers and the fact that they were bought off by the monied corporations. They have chosen the latter for they full well realize the calamity they have brought upon the people and there is no turning back from their stupid decisions and acquiescence to money.

    You will get no satisfaction from these agencies as they were the ones who falsified reports and minimized the dangers to grease the wheels of the energy companies. This is nothing short of fascism.

    If you are in an area where your water has been contaminated and there are wells close by, you have very little alternative to correct the situation. To remain in the area means chronic lung disease and becoming a future cancer statistic. You obviously cannot sell your home, so what you should do, especially if you have a mortgage, is to immediately stop paying your mortgage and TAXES, placing these monies in an emergency account to enable you and your family to leave the area, By not paying your mortgage, you will eventually be contacted by the bank threatening foreclosure. The foreclosure procedure can take up to a year or more. By not paying your taxes you will also face the prospect of the county selling your house at auction. The time in which a county will react varies. In some states it is as short as six months, in New York it is four years – do some research.

    During this time you may be able to build up enough of a fund to help you leave the contaminated area. All victims should think long and hard about remaining in toxic areas. To do so, is a certain early death sentence. I realize this solution is extreme and you may have emotional attachments to your property, but is it worth the cost of you and your children to remain?

    Government and its laws that favor money over the welfare of its citizens is nothing new. Many of these unjust laws can be changed, but the condition of your water and poisoned environment can possibly be changed with only the passage of thousands of years. There are still hundreds of thousands of abandoned gas wells across this country that have never been plugged and have been leaking not only dangerous methane fumes into the atmosphere but also radioactive gasses that will be with us for an eternity, and there are thousands more on the horizon as state governments give the green light to more gas death traps.

    People – the time has come for drastic action. To do nothing but complain to the foxes that are guarding the coop is to do nothing. Aggrieved people are to become their own first line of defense. Hopefully, with time, as this movement becomes known, you will have some allies.
    Let it be known that hundreds of families have already taken this vital step in protecting the lives of their families. What are you going to do?

    • February 16, 2012 2:52 pm

      Very interesting. I just started to be concerned with Marcellus Shale drilling on February 8th 2012 when I found out that Slippery Rock Campground in Butler Co. leased 205 acres of what I thought was a beautiful campground. Since that time I have reached out first to the campground management and board members who have claimed there is noting we can do about a contract that just rolled over February 8th 2012. Then I reached out to the DEP and everything there seems to be in favor of the process, although they provide watchdog numbers in case we need to report a health issue (too late by then) next I found PennEnvironment and I have received some hope with them as to some possible lawyers who may fight the contract and given an idea that we may get the media involved and embarrass them out of this. Next I got ahold of all the Senators that were referred to me through the Marcellus outreach of Butler Co. As of today Feb. 16th 2012 All of the ones that responded back have totally explained to me why my only hope is to move out of Pennsylvania. Now my next question is this. Where do I go to live in peace and have a protected clean water supply? I am serious with this question and find that to move will take less time then to fight this battle or deal with the loosing results. Again, Where do I move?

  12. AJay permalink
    February 14, 2012 1:22 pm

    I agree with Xenon 100%. I know of two families doing this in New York State from prior wells that were operating before the moratorium. Our governor (Andrew Cuomo) is poised to lift the moratorioum and begin poisoning his constituency.

  13. February 14, 2012 4:34 pm

    Good reporting on Kim and Janet water situation. Corresponding with two DEP “environmental engineers” and sent this article to them for their comment. Photo of Kim’s daughter says it all. Asking them why no independent comprehensive human health impact study done (and to do one) but a little late now, Pennsylvania seems to be the experimental lab and with day after day of stories like this, the data is pouring in. OT: Also asking them to look into (and regulate) low-frequency noise (LFN) from compressor stations, big problem = LFN which causes serious whole body health effects has frequency too low for human hearing. Check out (and read all links) on Amy Mall’s 2010 post: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/amall/live_on_tape_the_dangerous_noi.html

  14. FishCreekNeighbor permalink
    February 16, 2012 9:58 am

    Living near hundreds of wells myself, it is so hard to hear these stories. Is it possible that the world’s water supply will be poisoned in biblical proportions?

    • February 16, 2012 2:55 pm

      Biblical proportions is right and yet there is 1/3 rd of the earth kept safe. And that 1/3 place of safety is where I want to live. Does anybody know where that is? I would believe that it isn’t anywhere that has Marcellus Shale gas wells.

  15. Iris Marie Bloom permalink
    February 16, 2012 1:20 pm

    Thanks everyone for the outpouring of comments. I am working on finding replacement water for Butler County folks and will post an action alert on this blog as soon as there is some way for people to support that directly.
    I’m a big believer in multiple tactics: that we must find a way to provide water in the short term for impacted people AND we must press fiercely upon state and federal agencies to act. Even when we know they are corrupted, that doesn’t mean we let them off the hook; they should be reeling from the pressure on them to act. We need to fight new permits publicly as they arise, whether it’s a water withdrawal permit, a compressor station or a frack pit; AND we need to push for a moratorium. We need to expose and vote out every PA legislator who voted for HB1950 AND we need direct action. All these tactics complement each other and as long as we keep educating and building a broader and deeper power base, we absolutely will bring about change.
    The drilling and fracking so far, extreme as it has been, is only 3% of the way complete towards what the industry and regulators project. So the time to turn it around is now, and it’s going to take relentless persistence. “In the meantime,” please check our “TAKE ACTION” section for current alerts and take initiatives locally that make sense to you without waiting for anyone else’s direction. You are the leaders.

    • February 16, 2012 3:02 pm

      Dear Iris, I appreciate all the time and energy and real action that you are suppling for Butler Co. I have previously stated in this blog my efforts at hoping to stop the drilling in Worth Twp. near the Slippery Rock Creek as 1 member of 1,000 within the Slippery Rock Campground. The drilling is to start this spring and Marcellus already has the permits and will be using the Slippery Rock Creeks water. The campground has a wonderful well that provides us with fresh drinking water and I fear it will become a nightmare too. I am doing all that I can do. I don’t own a vehicle or phone therefore what I can do is limited. I am feeling like moving to an area that did not have this threat from drilling would be easier than fighting to protect our state of Pennsylvania. So now my question is if there is any place that is safe from all of this?

  16. WendyB permalink
    February 19, 2012 10:44 am

    Good article. Just saw Rick Santorum on fracking and how God wants us to use all Earth’s resources and we’re not here to protect our environment but for man! How arrogant is this man, he calls himself religious, he has no clue what a Steward is!! I’ve been reading a lot on fracking for over a year and am very concerned about the impacts this will have on clean water and air. Reports have come out saying the green house gas levels are worse then previously thought, gee can anyone figure out why? Maybe the natural gas boom has something to do with this because fracking gives off a lot of methane. GOD help all of you that live near fracking. We have to try to get better regulations on this process because I do not think we can get it stopped completely, but something needs to be done.

  17. February 19, 2012 4:13 pm

    Since February 8th 2012 I have spent every spare minute of my life researching and obtaining knowledge on how to stop Marcellus Shale drillings and I want them stopped soon. On top of my list is were I am 10 months of the year, hoping to enjoy some peaceful days and stress free moments. It’s were I am for recreation and socializing. However, the Slippery Rock Campground that is on the Slippery Rock Creek in Worth Twp. Butler Co. is going to be getting fracked within weeks. So have been trying to stop it. Attorneys, Senators, Board members are of no help and some just discourage us and blame the populus for using too much energy (do you know that people actually think this can be used in their gas tanks) By the way who is Marcellus Shale and what are they using this gas for and how are we the population benefiting? Marcellus Shale is the 600 mile piece of shale rock that is underneath us and probably should be left alone and undisturbed. Anyway I plan to start a petition to the company that holds the newly rolled over lease agreement and this means a trip to the court house and a legal document made up and then getting signatures and sending it to them by registered letter. Any petition can be set up free on line and anyone can sign it from anywhere very easily, however those petition get very little legal action so I’m hoping to go with a lega petition. As always with me you opinion and input counts. This is my advice to this organization and the individuals that want Marcellus Shale companies to get out of our state. And by the way the air quality has absolutely been affected by this. I personally already experienced this in the Summer of 2011. I had sever allergy problems and so did many others. The doctor actually stated it is a bad year for allergy’s. I have been to three veterinarians in the Butler area that have stated how bad the upper respiratory problems has been for cats in our area. This fracking is effecting not only us humans but all of our pets and all of the wildlife. Has anyone out there tried a legal petition to just get them out of here no matter what the governing body says?

  18. February 19, 2012 10:45 pm

    Wow! I live in neighboring Meridian and I have yet to fully investigate this blog. I have subscribed and wanted to propose an idea that came to me after reading this. To raise awareness about the issue how about a water drive with water donated from the surrounding communities. Water that may be first be requested to be tested at the local county extention office. This would assure that other neighbors that have yet to realize that their water too may have been compromised. A campaign like this could grow virally on facebook. Click on my name above this post to contact me if you would like.

    • February 21, 2012 1:52 pm

      This is a very good idea. The water is being tested prior to Marcellus Shale drilling in all areas were the drilling is to start. The DEP requires the testing to be done within 1,000 feet of the well, however Marcellus Shale is testing it out to 4,000 feet. This information has been given to me when I called my local officials and found that all the water in the state is regulated by the DEP and Marcellus wants these reports because they will show that there are contaminates prior to their drilling. The air qualities are being tested but according to the site that shows the omission reports, also the DEP site link, they have not come in yet and so we have no idea what has really happened in the year 2011. However, we the people who are paying attention know that this is hazardous to our healthy and well being. I am trying with all I have in me to get out of a lease that I didn’t even have the opportunity to sign and yet the decision two people will effect my life and the life of all the rest of us who have not had a say in this matter. I do not want drilling in Pennsylvania anywhere but I am giving it all I have to stop it in Butler Co. We need to do more that pass the word. Just like having the water tested we should be evaluating the general health of humans and animals in these areas.

  19. Jenna Boyle Feehan permalink
    February 20, 2012 3:38 am

    As many have stated before me, I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS!! Fracking is not only dangerous and poisonous, but also expensive and absolutely inefficient. It’s such a tragically classic case of The Men With Dollars exploiting and/or destroying anything they can–at the expense of water quality, the People With Fewer Dollars, or whatever else that’s in their way–to get to the next dollar. Fracking is fricking ludicrous. I’ve know this for some time,
    but it wasn’t until after reading this article that the tragedy hit home. NOW I know that fracking is happening all over this blessed America. It’s happening in my hometown, where my mom and stepdad and so many amazing people live. Seriously, Marcellus Shale. You should be ashamed. And if you (meaning ALL OF YOU slimeys that are behind this mess) don’t have the sense to be ashamed, we will find other means to stop you. Cindy, keep going!! I live in California now, but that doesn’t mean I can’t do anything about this. Down with Frickin’ Frackers!!

  20. Sophie permalink
    February 20, 2012 2:13 pm

    Cindy, I live in Lawrence County, where this is just beginning, and I, too, am seriously considering leaving the area. My husband and I are using this map to help us make decisions about where we might go: http://www.mnn.com/sites/default/files/user-71/shale_gas.jpg . There are international “shale plays,” as well, so if you consider moving overseas look those up first!

    • February 21, 2012 1:56 pm

      Oh dear Sophie, I would have moved last week and I still may move and I most certainly will click and save this link. And thank you thank you thank you for suppling me with this. Wouldn’t it be nice to be somewhere that we all cared about the earth we live in even if it meant doing without some of the so called luxuries. Peace. Cindy

  21. February 21, 2012 3:35 pm

    What can we do to help these folks get the medical support they need like toxicology reports on blood, urine and hair, as well as access to knowledgeable and trustworthy health professionals? We can’t overlook their vital need for this. Can something be set up for them? We need services for the many across the play who are or will be needing medical attention.

    • February 21, 2012 3:55 pm

      This is perfect opportunity to get something in place for this. Marcellus is testing the water before they start drilling but no one is caring about human and animal health. They should be required to test us before and after drilling and our pets and livestock as well. Instead of giving all this money for a lease they should put it into health care.
      Will this resent spill get on the Tv news? I know that the seizures in another state made it to national TV but this local Butler Co problem should be on the Pittsburgh news and should be the start of exposing that this problem really does exist. This would keep the remaining land owners from just holding out for bigger money maybe they would consider our quality of life above that money a bit more carefully if it was on TV. Many of these property owners probably don’t even have internet so they wouldn’t even know there was a problem out there.

    • Joseph McMurry permalink
      February 25, 2012 12:38 pm

      Regarding the requests for medical support: there is a group in Washington County called Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project which may be instrumental in providing medical info related to drilling and perhaps giving advice in how to set up equivalent organizations in other parts of the state, country, planet, etc. Their website is http://www.environmentalhealthproject.org/ And Cindy, I know what you mean re: your fight-or-flight response to this. My wife and I go through the same thing. At this point we’re committed to the fight, unless health concerns force the issue; then we may well leave. Asheville, N.C. is our promised-land-du-jour; various locations in Oregon have appeal. When we get weary we look at the map and dream… But for now, the fight is ON! … By the way, the Butler County story has now been picked up by the Associated Press! — thanks to Janet M.’s tenacity. And has found its way to the Wall Street Journal http://online.wsj.com/article/APe8e13e02557d4e98ad3d2b92eda99448.html the Washington Post and other publications nationally and globally! The article quotes a Dr. Goldstein from Pitt’s School of Public Health, who takes the DEP to task for not doing follow-up testing (thank you!!!). It’s a good article — gives me hope…

  22. February 22, 2012 10:51 pm

    I think Mr Fracking Corbett should take a long bath and a big drink of this poisoned water he has enabled….We are trying to prevent this in Northern NYS….be strong and get out of there or you will get sick…live to join forces spread your story and fight this beast called ignorance. my heart goes out to you I have land you can live on but no structure to house you in but would be willing to share what I have with you and your family untill you can figure out something better…you are a refuge of this corporate poisoning….live to fight back, Lia

  23. February 23, 2012 9:45 am

    regarding …… one PA DEP regulator told her, “You should be grateful for the fracking because they’re injecting lots of water underground, raising the level of the aquifer.”

    ummm, if frackwater is causing the aquifer levels to rise doesn’t it also mean the frackwater is getting into the aquifer? ooooops…….

  24. Joseph McMurry permalink
    February 25, 2012 1:00 pm

    Hmmm — my comment wasn’t placed in “chronological order,” I see. Please check out comment between Feb. 21-22, above, for info on the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project in Washington County — may be able to provide medical support for people living near drilling sites, advice in setting up equivalent organizations in other areas, etc. http://www.environmentalhealthproject.org/

    • Iris Marie Bloom permalink
      May 22, 2012 9:48 am

      Thanks so much, Mr. McMurry. Your comments are very important and we’ll make sure to link to the Southwest PA Environmental Health Project, which we had already recommended to some of the directly impacted people long ago, in future posts as well. FYI my own comment wasn’t in chron order either; we operate most of the time as an all-volunteer collective, with this blog just one of many key projects, and the administrator posts things as quickly as possible, but cannot do so in real time. So chron order being off is simply a fluke of the fact that we are all doing the work of five people most every minute. Thanks so much and please keep commenting.

      It’s insane that the PA Department of Health, funded by our tax dollars, is actively denying that any problem exists and refusing to track complaints, while volunteers are working extraordinarily hard all around the state to document what is actually happening. See the hard work of grassroots researcher Jenny Lisak, of Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Water and Air (PACWA) for an example. http://angerandcourage.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/the-harmed-the-sickened-the-dead-and-the-disappeared-intro-link/ .

  25. May 8, 2012 3:28 pm

    This was an eye opening article, I just know that as we get more desperate for energy sources this will happen more and more, its sad! I will be looking into talking to government officials if possible!

  26. May 24, 2012 10:55 am

    I want to thank you for this great lesson. It was really very inspiring like other articles of yours.

  27. mikron bilişim permalink
    July 9, 2012 5:57 am

    Hi there! I just would like to give you a big thumbs up for the great information you’ve got here on this post. I am coming back to your web site for more soon.

    • Tomi permalink
      August 17, 2012 11:51 am

      As someone who comes to Butler Co. once a year for Pennsic War I am saddened to say that after hearing this I will probably not be making this yearly pilgrimage any longer. Thank you for getting this out in the open and not letting it be covered up.

  28. Concerned Buyer permalink
    February 4, 2013 6:34 pm

    I am in the process of purchasing a home on route 8 off of Brownsdale road.
    The house has well water. Has there been issues in this area with well water. I found out that the owners purchased a “water filtration system” in 2012. I have not gotten the seller to tell me in writing why the system was put into place. Any information that anyone has regarding this part of Route 8 would be appreciated.

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