New Tests Link Water Contamination with Fracking

Posted on September 27, 2012

Remember when the Environmental Protection Agency tested wells and an aquifer near Pavillion, Wyoming for a 2011 report? It was found that fracking chemicals had indeed seeped into the water supply and effected the drinking water of the residents but the report was later discounted because of errors.

Well the EPA, the United States Geological Survey, the state of Wyoming and native tribes of Wyoming all got together recently and retested the water. What they found was the chemical compounds and gases previously detected by the EPA and linked to fracking were still present in the water supply.

“At a quick glance, these results appear consistent with the earlier EPA study,” Rob Jackson, an environmental scientist at Duke University, said in an e-mail. “The stray gas concentrations are very high, not only for methane but especially for ethane and propane. That combination suggests a fossil-fuel source for the gases.”

What do these findings mean for the local residents who depend on the tainted water? Not much, just that they must continue to depend on alternate sources of water. “The recommendation still stands that we don’t cook or drink our water,” John Fenton, a farmer, said in an interview, describing a recent conversation he had with EPA officials.

The EPA’s planned course of action includes a period of public comments on its newly published test which lasts through October 2012. After the extended public comment period ends, the Agency plans on doing more rounds of sampling and testing.

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