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EPA Warned Of Water Contamination From Hydraulic Fracking Back In 1987

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Thirty Year Old Study States Contaminated Well Water Is Irreversible

The recent NY court judges ruling that backs townspeople's right to ban hydraulic fracking by natural gas drilling companies will most likely have a downward trickle effect to states like West Virginia who are facing the booming new method of the natural gas exploration industry known as "fracking."

On February 24th, 2012 the NY judge sided with the citizens of Dryden that will prohibit the gas well drilling in their town even though state law allows it. Mahlon Perkins, Dryden's town attorney, says the case is not about fracking. "This case is about land-use authority," he told the Ithaca Journal. "It comes down to whether a municipality that has land-use authority, such as a village, city or town, can determine where heavy industrial uses are allowed or if they are allowed."

The Dryden case is merely the latest in a string of numerous health and safety issues arising from Colorado to Pennsylvania dealing with the methods of "hydraulic fracking" within the natural gas exploration industry.   Problems that the EPA outlined as far back as 1987.

Environmental And Health Hazards Related To Fracking Discovered In WV (1987)

The EPA warned Congress back in 1987 of its findings in tests conducted on the well water of James and Ruth Parsons of Ripley WV that led them (EPA) to declare that high levels of pollutants and contaminates were associated with the gas well that had been fracked within 600 feet of his well causing Parsons water to no longer be suitable for drinking.

The EPA claims that WV authorities knew as far back as 1984 when the department of mines performed water well inspections on the Parsons property due to the oil and gas well that was drilled in October 1982 by Delaware Company of Kaiser Exploration and Mining. The report states that the Kaiser gas well was "hydraulically fractured."

That 1984 report claims contamination problems in the water were "first noticed about a year and a half after the Kaiser gas well was hydrofracted and that from the outset, the state suspected that the nearby gas well was the cause of the water contamination problems."

A final report by the WV Department of Energy, Oil and Gas Division on August 7, 1985 states that an inspector went out to the Parsons water well 3 years after it was drilled and more than a year after the pollution was found. He found adequate cement strength in that well and adequate fresh water casing.

This is significant because in alleged cases of water pollution from fracturing, the industry often says that there was a failure of the well casing. The report also said that more than a year after pollution had first shown up in the Parsons water well, the inspector of the gas well found no signs of surface or underground pollution.

Five analyzed laboratory test results by the WV Health Department on Parsons well water all conclusively found contaminants that were a "gel" and a "sealant." They reported that the water smelled like hydrocarbons, which is part of the makeup of natural gas. (Hydrocarbon gases) Their report also claimed that his well water was never again fit for human consumption. "No treatment or process will solve their problem of contamination and that a new water source will have to be found to safely supply water"

According to a news article in the West Virginia Record by Lawrence Smith in 2010, Dennis and Tamera Hagy of Jackson County filed suit against four oil and gas companies for contaminating their drinking water. They say their water had "a peculiar smell and taste." The parents, as well as their two children, are suffering from neurological symptoms. Also in 2010, Jeremiah Magers of Marshall County reported that "As soon as they 'fracked' those gas wells, that's when my water well started getting gas in it." He also lost all the water in his well.

In Wetzel County, Marilyn Hunt reported to the EPA in 2010 that: "frac drilling is contaminating the drinking water here." Residents report health symptoms, such as rashes and mouth sores, as well as illness in their lambs and goats, which they suspect is linked to drinking water contamination.

In one of the worst fracking-related findings the toxic algae bloom that wiped out thousands of fish, mussels and other aquatic life in 35 miles of Dunkard creek which flows in Monongahela County WV and Green County Pennsylvania, which is one of the most biologically diverse creeks in both states.

West Virginians already know the results of energy extraction techniques from mountaintop removal coal mining. You can see those results everyday while driving throughout WV looking at what's left of the mountains that were once known as being majestic and grand. Now, as the fracking boom makes its way here, residents face a whole new set of problems including this industry pumping the states streams excessively low or dry.

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I am the publisher of an online news website and blog covering local, state and national news since 2007. Author of 4 cold-case murder books in the "Who Killed?" series published by Rooftop Publishing Company. Retired from mainstream media in 2007 (more...)
 
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The EPA study of 1987 goes into depth on the tests... by Jack Swint on Tuesday, Feb 28, 2012 at 7:54:21 AM