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EPA Results Show Contaminated Water in Wyoming Fracking Zone

Residents told not to drink from contaminated wells

By Stacy Feldman

Sep 2, 2010

"The contamination referenced is from historical pits, which we inherited from a previous operator. Five years ago we identified these and began work under the state's Voluntary Remediation Program," he said.

But local residents in the town of roughly 160 say their health problems grew worse after Encana bought the Pavillion/Muddy Ridge gas field about five years ago and began drilling more wells.

Fenton said he now suffers chronic headaches and fatigue; his mother-in-law has lost her ability to taste and smell, and his wife is suffering similar symptoms, he said.

A survey last month found that 15 of the 16 respondents are suffering health effects consistent with exposure to fracking chemicals.

EPA 'Steps Up' Amid Fracking Boom

EPA said it is working with Encana to secure other sources of water to residents.

Fenton said "EPA has really stepped up to the plate on this," and he believes Encana is working to address the problem as well.

"I really hope so," he said. "I don't always trust the industry ... I'm not saying that Encana has bad people ... You lose some individuality and humanity when you're talking about a big corporation like that."

Drillers are not required to disclose the chemicals they use in their fracking fluids due to an exemption under the federal .

In 2004, EPA that the process "poses little or no threat" to underground sources of drinking and "does not justify additional study at this time," a finding supported by the oil and gas industry.

But with a shale gas boom underway nationwide and water safety in doubt, federal regulation may be needed, some observers say.

Already, shale drilling has increased from 1 percent of U.S. gas production in 2000 to 10 percent today, according to a report by consulting firm . A recent estimates there's enough natural gas to supply the entire nation for 90 years.

Much of that would have to be fracked out of shale deposits located in over 20 states. 

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Ca.), chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), chair of the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, are now demanding that oil and gas companies disclose the types of fluids being injected into wells.

EPA is holding a public hearing process as part of a $1.9 million peer-review study it will conduct in 2011 to investigate the impact of fracking on water quality.

See also:

Shale Gas Booming Globally, Despite Chemical Dangers

Gas Drilling Ban in NY Still a Possibility in 2010

Congressional Members Intensify Hydraulic Fracking Probe 

Natural Gas Boom Not Worth Costs and Risks, Study Warns

Cities Push Back as EPA Begins Study of Fracking's Impact on Water

Congress Considers Fracking Regulation Amid Hodgepodge of State Drilling Rules

Exxon CEO Defends Fracking on Capitol Hill

testing for well water

Hi, anyone have any ideas of where to get your well water tested for these type of chemicals coming from gas wells??

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