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Pennsylvania Water Contamination Caused by Fracking

water contamination caused by fracking

More than a dozen Pennsylvania residents were affected by water contamination caused by fracking. Construction Equipment reported that the Sunoco Pipeline temporarily halted construction during July 2017 after twelve Pennsylvania households reported contaminated well water. The affected families lived in West Whiteland and Uwchlan townships. Five of those families alerted the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and were relocated to hotels. The EPA gave others additional filtration supplies and bottled water. Sunoco also alerted the EPA in addition to testing private water wells in the area to determine if fracking caused the murky water by letting bentonite clay into water supplies.

According to State Impact, Sunoco resumed drilling in August after agreeing to numerous water-protection measures. This included a stronger oversight by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). However, as of October 2017, Pennsylvania resident are still experiencing water contamination caused by fracking.

The latest fracking accident occurred October 11 when drilling fluid (a mix of water and non-toxic bentonite clay) spilled in a Sunoco construction zone at East Goshen Township in Chester County. This was the fourth spill in less than a week at this location. According to data from the DEP,  there have been 18 “inadvertent returns” of drilling fluid in three regions of southern Pennsylvania since the August agreement. Five instances resulted in violations.

Water contamination caused by fracking has affected multiple Pennsylvania water bodies. State impact reported that the largest incident involved 1,00-2,000 gallons of fluid spilled into Westmoreland County Wetland on September 22.  On August 4, fifty gallons spilled into the Susquehanna River in Dauphin County. Fifty gallons also spilled into Snitz Creek in Lebanon County on August 31.

Pennsylvania residents affected by the spills may experience fracking-related injuries and illnesses. David Anspach from Morgantown Berks County told State Impact about gastrointestinal problems caused by contaminated water. A water sample from his well found that e-coli and fecal coliform sharply exceeded the Maximum Contamination Level of zero, which is the safe standard set by the federal government.

Anspach explained that horizontal directional drilling through an aquifer caused a change in the way the aquifer flows. This caused the septic system flow to divert into the direction of the well instead of away from it.

Retired Cumberland County farmer Ralph Blume said this his water became undrinkable and it became too difficult to bathe in after Sunoco cleared trees and bushes from an easement on his property.  He had his wife resorted to buying bottled water.

Pennsylvania residents who believe they may be suffering from effects of water contamination or other fracking-related injuries or illness are urged to contact a doctor immediately. To learn more about your legal rights regarding fracking injuries, please visit Frackcident to contact a Fracking Lawyer.

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