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Fracking not polluting Pa. town, EPA says

By Michael P. Tremoglie | Apr 12, 2012

PHILADELPHIA (Legal Newsline) - A report issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency states that fracking has not polluted the water of homes in the town of Dimock, Pa.

Fracking is the process of high-pressure pumping water, chemicals and sand into a deep well to create cracks in methane-bearing shale, allowing the gas to be collected.

The EPA said Friday, "EPA has completed and shared with residents and Pennsylvania state officials the second set of sampling at 20 private drinking water wells in Dimock, Pa. This set of sampling did not show levels of contaminants that would give EPA reason to take immediate action.

"EPA remains committed to providing Dimock residents with the best available data and information on the quality of drinking water as expeditiously as possible."

This confirms an earlier report by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection - and the company drilling for gas in the area.

Dimock is part of the Marcellus shale field, which is potentially a major producer of natural gas. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the rock formation contains 84 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered natural gas. Residents are convinced their drinking water is polluted by the drilling of Cabot Oil and Gas Corp.

Environmental groups, which vehemently oppose fracking everywhere it is used, promote the idea that fracking pollutes drinking water. They are voicing their displeasure with the EPA findings.

The town is a focal point of the anti-fracking movement. Even after the latest reports they still claim there is pollution.

Claire Sand­berg, of Water Defense, dis­agrees with the EPA's con­clu­sion. She says those very same tests show contamination.

"The pre­lim­i­nary results EPA Region 3 has released so far show that 20 per­cent of wells tested con­tain dan­ger­ous con­cen­tra­tions of methane. When the water that flows into your pipes has lev­els of methane that high, you are essen­tially liv­ing inside a bomb that could explode at any moment. And that is not safe," she said.

But not all residents feel their water is polluted. The Fox 40 television station in nearby Binghamton N.Y. quoted one resident, Loren Salsman, as saying, "I've been reviewing the data for about a year and a half now and I didn't see anything significant in any of the data and it's not surprising that the EPA hasn't found anything as well."

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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)