The Environmental Protection Agency today shattered the environmental narrative that hydraulic fracturing in Dimock, PA caused groundwater contamination so severe that residents had to survive on bottled water. Dimock has been the poster-child of the anti-fracking movement, and was featured in the anti-fracking documentary Gasland. It was in Dimock, supposedly, where you could ignite your well water due to high levels of natural gas caused by hydraulic fracturing nearby.
In a press release today, EPA said:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it has completed its sampling of private drinking water wells in Dimock, Pa. Data previously supplied to the agency by residents, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and Cabot Oil and Gas Exploration had indicated the potential for elevated levels of water contaminants in wells, and following requests by residents EPA took steps to sample water in the area to ensure there were not elevated levels of contaminants. Based on the outcome of that sampling, EPA has determined that there are not levels of contaminants present that would require additional action by the Agency.
The press release concludes:
Overall during the sampling in Dimock, EPA found hazardous substances, specifically arsenic, barium or manganese, all of which are also naturally occurring substances, in well water at five homes at levels that could present a health concern. In all cases the residents have now or will have their own treatment systems that can reduce concentrations of those hazardous substances to acceptable levels at the tap. EPA has provided the residents with all of their sampling results and has no further plans to conduct additional drinking water sampling in Dimock.
Data mavens can find the sampling data here (warning, big file).
In a sane world, this should end the crusade against hydraulic fracturing, and end the federal government’s pursuit of regulatory oversight of fracking as well. However, a world in which the Sierra Club (which, a few years ago took $26 million dollars from a natural gas business in order to wage war on coal) declares war on a fuel that only a few years ago, they were badgering cities to use in powerplants, buses, and truck fleets, sanity seems in short supply.