DEP Water Tests Aren’t “Naturally Occurring”

Dimock…  Butler County… and now Franklin Township, PA… Whose water will be polluted next?

UPDATE  [March 22,2012]Marcellus shale driller offers water to Franklin Homes by Laura Legere, in The Times-Tribune, Thursday, March 22, 2012.

UPDATE [March 15, 2012]:  DEP announces sampling of Franklin Township water wells DEP tracking-source-of-more-methane-in-wells by abc27.com

[Original Post]:  Gas drillers want you to think Pennsylvania’s water supply was rife with shallow methane before they began fracking the Marcellus Play. Obviously methane deposits can migrate, but why would these towns have been settled in the first place if the water table was bad? Listening to residents in these Northern and Western gas drilling locales, you hear recurring themes about a whole new kind of water problem.

Up until November, I could drink my water.

It’s black.

It’s really slimy.

Up there, a coupla houses, they’re starting to have some issues.

It won’t freeze.

Now, there are elevated chemicals…

This water well in Franklin Forks, Franklin Township is exploding with Methane. Gas wells are one mile east and west of this property. Vera Duerga, a veteran fractivist with a camera and no fear, posted this video by Lauren Petracca, which was taped on March 9, 2012. Sadly, in PA’s drilling regions, scenes like this are becoming more commonplace.

My Lawyer Can Beat Up Your Scientist
On Tuesday, March 6, 2012, residents took the issue of their water problems to a Franklin Township Commissioners Meeting in Susquehanna County, PA. In this video, taped by Duerga, “Several Citizens speak up about their water wells being contaminated with high and explosive amounts of methane and high barium and other contaminants since gas drilling and fracking in their township. This has been happening the past year since several well sites went up around them. DEP has been at their homes and tested and they are not drinking their water.

Tara Howley, Government Affairs Representative for WPX Energy, was highly visible at the meeting. When she wasn’t jotting down names or handing out business cards, she was busy flipping her granny glasses and accusing attorney Bill Dubanevich of “drumming up business at a township meeting.” (Dubanevich had attended the meeting at a Franklin Township resident’s request.)

DEP is telling us the same thing that they’re telling you at this point,” Howley said. When asked what that was, Howley mumbled almost imperceptibly, “Which is that they’re saying it’s… a natural occurrence.

This is where Dubanevich chimed in: “If I may, I’ve spoken to a DEP attorney and they have not come to any conclusion as to whether or not it’s naturally occurring… There needs to be a further study to determine the chemical composition of the substances that are coming out into the water, and to determine the age of the water. And that has not been done.

Do you live in Franklin Township?” Howley wanted to know. “Do you live in Susquehanna County?” When Dubanevich answered “no,” she looked confused and asked, “Are you… what… ?

Who are you, M’am?” Dubanevich asked. Howley stood up and introduced herself. She appears to have been wearing a name tag, also.

Are you a scientist?” she continued her line of questioning.

No, I’m not,” Dubanevich replied. “What’s your background?

I am an attorney,” she nodded.

So am I.

Though the meeting looks to have been fairly small, Deurga’s riveting 37-minute video has already had over eight hundred views. I think JustUsisComing best sums up its fascination in the Comments section:

“This is the most rational discussion I have seen to date regarding water concerns due to fracking. It is a CLEAR demonstration there is something wrong with the process. If our lawmakers in PA had any concern for the people in Marcellus area communities they would certainly impose a moratorium on ALL further drilling until it is PROVEN that it can & WILL be done safely. We cannot continue to allow our lives and our future to be put at such great risk, waiting until after the damage is done.”

Join the movement to protect Pennsylvania’s precious watersheds at Stop Frackin PA!

The New Normal?
Methane contamination has become such an issue that one of PA’s largest water suppliers, Pennsylvania American Water Co. in Western PA, is working to stay ahead of the toxicity curve. According to David Templeton and Don Hopey in Water company plans to change disinfectant used in some systems, in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the company will switch more treatment plants from chlorine to chloramine for disinfection in order to control “carcinogenic disinfection byproducts including trihelamethane and haloacetic acid.

According to Heinz Award winning Ecologist and Author, Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D., when you chlorinate water that is contaminated with methane you end up with disinfection by-products such as Trihalomethanes, or chloroforms, which are known to cause bladder and colon cancer.

Use of chloramine in public water supplies is generally more opposed than chlorine. While complaints from chlorine are mostly aesthetic, such as taste and smell, complaints from chloramine include skin rashes, breathing and digestive problems. EPA admits that not as much research has been done on chloramine as chlorine. Nevertheless, PA American Water is looking to increase their use of chloramine wherever possible.

Pennsylvania American Water Co. will switch soon from chlorine to chloramine to disinfect water it sends through its 2,200 miles of water mains to 215,000 customers in Washington and southern Allegheny counties.” Read more: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

UPDATE [March 15, 2012]:

DEP announces sampling of Franklin Township water wells:

http://www.abc27.com/story/17164314/dep-tracking-source-of-more-methane-in-wells

UPDATE  [March 22,2012]

Marcellus shale driller offers water to Franklin Homes by Laura Legere, in The Times-Tribune, Thursday, March 22, 2012.

 

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