If you ask the question “What’s in Your Water”?, you may not want to look to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for answers (DEP). They probably won’t tell you all that is in the water, or just not tell you at all. This may turn into the PA-DEP’s version of FRACKINGWATERgate.
In October 2012, the DEP decided the department administrators in Harrisburg will decide if people will receive notification letters regarding problems with their water.
This policy change is not in place to “protect” real people, it’s to protect the paper corporate “people”. Not informing REAL people of water contamination will save the natural gas corporation millions of dollars for water treatment, water replacement and groundwater remediation.
The policy change is the next logical step for a department which has become increasingly more interested in protecting the corporate environment of profits rather than protecting the environment in which real people live.
You may be able to force the DEP to disclose information and test results on your water, but it seems that information and tests may be misleading and incomplete.
State representative calls for probe of DEP water testing reports | November 1, 2012 | By Don Hopey / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Excerpt: The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has created incomplete lab reports and used them to dismiss complaints that Marcellus Shale gas development operations have contaminated residential water supplies and made people sick, according to court documents and other sources.
Excerpt (emphasis added): In her deposition, Ms. Upadhyay said the department’s oil and gas division directed the lab to generate water test reports to homeowners that omitted the full menu of findings for heavy metals, including lithium, cobalt, chromium, boron and titanium, some of which are human carcinogens, as well as volatile organic compounds that are associated with hydraulic fracturing fluids.
Those metals are Marcellus Shale markers, found in the shale layer a mile or more underground in Pennsylvania. They are released by hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” of the shale and can be carried by flowback fluids to the surface.
Finding them and certain volatile organic compounds in the water test results would link contamination of groundwater to gas well drilling and fracking operations, said John Smith, an attorney with Smith Butz, a firm representing eight people in the Washington County case against Range Resources and 12 of its subcontractors. Their case contends that they face serious health problems and increased cancer risk due to exposure to toxic chemicals in their air and well water near Range’s Yeager drill site in Amwell.
In defending the DEP, Kevin Sunday (DEP Spokesperson) pointed to what he described as a “glowing” review in a 2011 peer review by the Association of Public Health Laboratories.
Click here for the “glowing” review. Nothing in the “glowing” review which indicates the completeness of lab reports have been verified. In my opinion, Sunday’s reference to the “glowing” review is a distraction.
Sunday also attacks Rep. Jesse White (D-Cecil) as being “ideologically opposed to responsible drilling regulation which is evidenced by, among other things, his vote against Act 13”. Another distraction.
After the distractions, Sunday parses his words “The battery of analyses we order during investigations are thorough and give us the results we need to make sound determinations, which we fully stand behind,” Mr. Sunday said.
Note: “The battery of analyses we order…” DEP orders which tests will be done and which will not be done and how much is reported to who. Taru Upadhyay, the division director of DEP’s Bureau of Laboratories, said the department’s lab reports to property owners didn’t contain a full array of contaminants found by the lab’s testing.
Once again we need to ask the question – just which environment is the PA-DEP protecting? The environment where real people live or the corporate environment of profits?
Makes you wonder just how many of the DEP’s announcements of “naturally occurring” methane contamination is really “naturally occurring”, and how many people are drinking the water the DEP has determined to be safe.
See: State agency caught deliberately withholding evidence of fracking water contamination, by TXsharon on November 1, 2012
©2012 by Dory Hippauf