03 November 2012 ~ 0 Comments

Lawmaker challenges Pennsylvania DEP’s reporting of gas well water safety

“The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection produces incomplete lab reports and uses them to dismiss complaints that Marcellus Shale gas development operations have contaminated residential water supplies and made people sick, according to court documents.”

“In her deposition, Ms. Upadhyay said the DEP’s laboratory tests water samples for a full battery of contaminants but — at the direction of the department’s Office of Oil and Gas Management — limits the number of contaminants reported to the property owner. The omissions include heavy metals, including lithium, cobalt, chromium, boron and titanium, some of which are human carcinogens or toxics, as well as volatile organic compounds that are associated with hydraulic fracturing fluids.’

“Those metals, found in the 450-million-year-old shale layer a mile or more underneath most of Pennsylvania, are “marker” Marcellus contaminants that should be part of any well water testing, said John Smith, an attorney with Smith Butz, a firm representing eight people in the Washington County case against Range Resources and 12 of its subcontractors. The plaintiffs claim they face serious health problems and increased cancer risk due to exposure to toxic chemicals in their air and well water near Range’s Yeager drill site in Amwell.”

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