Wednesday, January 23, 2013

PA DEP Comes Under More Scrutiny for Water Testing Procedures Related to Gas Drilling

From timesonline.com:
The state is not using its most stringent test to review for contaminants in residential drinking water near Marcellus shale drilling. 
For more than four years, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has had the ability to test for 45 contaminants in its water-sample analysis.

But according to DEP data, the computer code that determines what substances will be tested has not been used in at least two years. It’s been shelved in favor of two codes that test for fewer than half the number of substances.
Further, the article states:
Facing criticism for not reporting all findings of its residential water tests, the DEP said it did not report all chemicals discovered because the substances simply weren’t related to wastewater from commercial gas drilling. But a 3-year-old study, in which the state DEP participated, links those unreported chemicals with flowback water from fracking. 
The study, “Sampling and Analysis of Water Streams Associated with the Development of Marcellus Shale Gas,” links these unreported metals and fracking. It was prepared for the industry-funded Marcellus Shale Coalition by Thomas Hayes of the Gas Technology Institute with input by the state DEP and sampled water at 19 locations, before and after fracking.
You can read the whole article here.  The study mentioned above can be viewed here.

Is it possible that contamination from gas drilling has been hidden behind carefully designed testing procedures?  Has the Pennsylvania government put people at risk?  A performance audit has been promised, so more details are likely to emerge.

Meanwhile, fracktivists will undoubtedly continue to push the issue. 

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