Although our nation’s natural gas boom is relatively new, fracking has been around long enough to raise serious concerns when it comes to polluting our drinking water. And what can be more critical to our overall health than clean water?
And yet … The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently released the links to 243 cases in which Philadelphia state regulators found that oil and gas companies had indeed contaminated water when prospecting.
According to an article in the Wall Street Journal by the Associated Press,
The 243 cases, from 2008 to 2014, include some where a single drilling operation impacted multiple water wells. The problems listed in the documents include methane gas contamination, spills of wastewater and other pollutants, and wells that went dry or were otherwise undrinkable. Some of the problems were temporary, but the names of landowners were redacted, so it wasn't clear if the problems were resolved to their satisfaction. Other complaints are still being investigated.”
One of the most disturbing aspects of these findings is how long it took for the information to be released. DEP has been criticized for inadequate record keeping as well as their delayed release of information to the public.
Also in a statement quoted by the Associated Press, Thomas Au of the Pennsylvania Sierra Club commented that the release of the 243 cases was, “a step in the right direction.” At the same time he added, “this is something that should have been made public a long time ago.”
Likewise, ThinkProgress reported that Pennsylvania’s Inspector General recently admitted that the results of fracking,
...caught the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) unprepared to effectively administer laws and regulations to protect drinking water and unable to efficiently respond to citizen complaints.”
This combination of widespread water contamination and the lack of sufficient oversight calls into question whether the future of our drinking water will be sacrificed for the sake of fracking profits.
Online list IDs water wells harmed by drilling via The Wall Street Journal
‘Fracking pollutes drinking water’ via Business Report