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EPA says Range Resources contaminated Texas aquifer

December 9, 2010

BELOW ARE EXCERPTS.  Follow the links to read the complete stories.

EPA says gas driller contaminated Texas aquifer

Tue Dec 7, 10:53 pm ET

HOUSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued an emergency order accusing a Texas gas driller of contaminating an aquifer.

The EPA’s letter Tuesday gave Range Resources of Forth Worth 48 hours to provide clean drinking water to affected residents and take steps to resolve the problem.

Explosive methane and other contaminants, including cancer-causing benzene, were found in two wells.


2.  excerpts from 12/8 Dallas Morning news

(NOTE — benzene and other contaminants have also been found but this Dallas News story is only about gas):

EPA Regional Administrator Al Armendariz : “I believe I’ve got two people whose houses could explode. So we’ve got to move.”

One of the Parker County homeowners gave the EPA a video in which his garden hose became a flamethrower, Armendariz said.

Tests confirmed gas in the water, and chemical fingerprinting pointed to Range as the source, the EPA said.

Required casing and cement that line the gas wells might have failed, letting gas escape into the aquifer, he said. It’s also possible that drilling struck a geological fault or an old gas well, he said.

The extent of contamination isn’t known. Range must identify the affected area under the EPA order.

“We know they’ve polluted the aquifer,” Armendariz said. “We know they’re getting natural gas in there. We don’t know yet how far it’s spread.”

The EPA has notified water suppliers and is urging the public to report any problems.

The EPA instructed Range, among the nation’s largest gas-producing companies, to indicate within 24 hours whether it intends to comply with the order and to provide potable water to the two families within 48 hours.”

Range also must install meters in the homes to check for explosion risks.

“Natural gas could be building up in the homes if they use the plumbing, if they open up the faucet, if they use the shower,” Armendariz said. “There’s a danger of fire or explosion.”


3.  Relevant to methane migration (and migration from other drilling contaminants):  Pennsylvania has many orphaned and abandoned gas wells in our state:


“DEP also notes that Pennsylvania has the greatest number of abandoned wells in the Appalachian region, and is ranked one of the top five states nationally. They’ve documented more than 8,700 wells throughout the state that were abandoned before passing modern oil and gas drilling regulations.”

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  1. Eleanor R. Clark permalink
    December 11, 2010 5:10 pm

    There is an unused well associated with my house. I have no idea if it is “plugged”. it has a cover, and there are no connections to it from inside the house. I have lived here for over 25 yers, and it was here when I moved in.

    What canI do to find out about it. I live shortly to the west of Philadelphia.


  2. Sam Morse permalink
    January 13, 2011 7:56 am

    Dear Councilmembers
    Please support our environment and vote no to fracking. Pennsylvania is a wonderful green state and needs to be preserved, not destroyed.
    Thank you.
    Sam Morse

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