National News: Fracking Caused Drinking Water Contamination, EPA Confirms
Today the EPA confirmed that the presence of multiple chemicals in high concentrations in drinking water in Pavilion, Wyoming can only be due to fracking. Pavilion residents have complained for years about drinking water contamination, reporting black water and water that smells like gasoline or diesel and chemicals. Residents have reported neurological impairment, loss of smell, and nerve pain.
WHYY / NPR reporter Susan Phillips captures the significance of today’s EPA finding:
Federal environmental regulators have made a direct link between the controversial drilling practice known as hydraulic fracturing and groundwater contamination. The EPA released its draft investigation results on water pollution in Pavilion, Wyoming Thursday. The report is the first time federal regulators have made such a detailed link between fracking and groundwater pollution. The results should have widespread repercussions as states, such as New York and Pennsylvania, are in the midst of creating new gas drilling regulations. Up until this report, industry representatives, and the head of Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection have insisted that fracking can be done safely. DEP Secretary Michael Krancer recently testified in Congress that the idea that fracking pollutes groundwater is “bogus.”
Read the rest of Susan Phillips’ brief and cogent report, “EPA Blames Fracking for Wyoming Groundwater Contamination,” here.
The Associated Press story about the EPA report is rapidly spreading. Here it is in Time’s science blog, complete with links, under the headline, “EPA Implicates Fracking in Groundwater Pollution“:
The EPA announced Thursday that it found compounds likely associated with fracking chemicals in the groundwater beneath a Wyoming community where residents say their well water reeks of chemicals.
Health officials advised them not to drink their water after the EPA found hydrocarbons in their wells.
The EPA announcement has major implications for a vast increase in gas drilling in the U.S. in recent years.
Read more here.
And from the EPA’s own press release about the report, a key paragraph:
EPA’s analysis of samples taken from the Agency’s deep monitoring wells in the aquifer indicates detection of synthetic chemicals, like glycols and alcohols consistent with gas production and hydraulic fracturing fluids, benzene concentrations well above Safe Drinking Water Act standards and high methane levels. Given the area’s complex geology and the proximity of drinking water wells to ground water contamination, EPA is concerned about the movement of contaminants within the aquifer and the safety of drinking water wells over time.
For more information on EPA’s Pavillion groundwater investigation, visit: http://www.epa.gov/region8/superfund/wy/pavillion/index.html
With this report hot off the press, so soon after the New York Times reported on Pennsylvania residents suffering abdominal pain, intense dizziness, nosebleeds, blisters in nose and throat, headaches, joint aches, and rashes related to nearby gas drilling, we think it’s time to spring back into action to protect Pennsylvania. Call and write PA state senators and representatives immediately, urging them to vote “NO” on SB 1100 / HB 1950, the bill which strips municipalities in Pennsylvania of their ability to limit or ban gas drilling. Right now we need our local officials to have more power, not less, to protect our people.
It’s become painfully obvious that the top level of Pennsylvania’s DEP has no intention of protecting Pennsylvanians and every intention of protecting the gaslords. PA DEP Secretary Krancer has attacked legitimate scientists (Duke University), called EPA findings “bogus,” and stopped water delivery for families in Dimock who have drinking water contaminated with naphthalene, phenanthrene, butyl benzyl phthalate, 1-methylnapthalene, 2-methylnapthalene, ethylene glycol, diethylene glycol, triethylene glycol, 2-methoxyethanol, methylene blue active substances, gas range organics, and acetone.