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Environmental officials in Pennsylvania have come under fire for their tests on drinking water from a well near a natural gas drilling site. The site’s owners have been taken to court for allegedly poisoning residents. The documents were released this week, as part of a lawsuit that 7 plaintiffs who live near a hydraulic fracturing or fracking site, are serving on the gas industry. The residents claim that waste water from a nearby site has contaminated their drinking water. Toxicology tests on the seven claimants, who live within a mile of the drill and waste water site in Amwell Township, Pennsylvania, found toluene, benzene and arsenic in their bodies. Mr. Loren Kiskadden, one of the plaintiffs, says he has a number of health problems including nausea, bone pain, breathing difficulties and severe headaches. He says these symptoms are consistent with exposure to “hazardous chemicals and gasses through air and water”. The chemicals used in fracking, particularly those found in the waste water which is pumped back into the ground under high pressure, are thought by some to lead to serious health problems. A nurse who has firsthand experience of the health effects of the chemicals used in fracking, pointed to evidence linking the chemicals to cancer as well as liver, kidney and neurological damage in an article in the Baltimore Sun published in July 2012. However, she also argued that as fracking has only recently taken off in many parts of the US, there is insufficient data on the dangers of the chemicals used. There is also lack of statutory or regulatory processes to ensure health and environmental safety. There have been numerous reports in the US media about the dangerous health effects of fracking, including a case in Colorado last year, reported in Pro Publica – an independent, non-profit, investigative journalism organization – where Susan Wallace-babb suffered explosive diarrhea, vomiting, skin rashes, and lesions. All of her symptoms were linked to a nearby fracking site. Right across Colorado, where hydraulic fracturing has become extensive, millions of tons of hazardous waste are dumped into open air pits. The pits have been shown to leak into ground water and give off chemical emissions, as the fluids evaporate.
Documents from industry sources and the D.E.P. — now a matter of public record — support the suit’s allegations of a series of structural violations and hazardous incidents surrounding the pond. They include half a dozen tears in the pond’s plastic liner (at least one caused by a deer — its carcass had to be dragged out); at least four cracks in a temporary plastic transfer pipeline leading to an open field; two truck spills, one of which contaminated a cattle pasture; and a leak in an adjacent pond that held drill cuttings. Range admits that after this leak, the level of total dissolved solids, or salts, spiked in the water. Of all these violations, the D.E.P. issued a citation for only the last. The D.E.P. declined to comment, citing the ongoing case.
Basically, no. Basically, the hassle is because not all of the materials tested for were reported to officials.
basically tests showed toxins in the local drinking water in a 1 mile radius of a fracking site.
A scientist who carried out the tests, Tara Upadhyay, said in a deposition that her laboratory tested for a range of metals but reported on only some of them. She says that was because the Environmental Protection Department’s oil and gas division had not requested the results from the complete range of tests.
“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,” he said in a statement.
Mr. Sunday continued that officials only wanted to see the results that they deemed relevant to determining whether drinking water was being contaminated by shale gas drilling and production.