Pennsylvania residents say state intentionally omitted data from water sample reports


Pennsylvania residents say state intentionally omitted data from water sample reportsPlaintiffs in a lawsuit against companies conducting hydraulic fracturing (fracking) drilling in southwestern Pennsylvania believe the state intentionally omitted data that showed elevated levels of dangerous metals in drinking water samples to better its case.

The natural gas drilling companies operating in Washington County, Pa., are actively fighting a lawsuit filed on behalf of seven property owners who claim the drilling conducted by Range Resources Inc., among others, has contaminated their private water wells.

According to a New York Times report recently, the lab technician who analyzed the water samples collected at the request of Pennsylvania’s Dept. of Environmental Protection testified that the state only requested the results on levels of eight elements in the water samples. Standard federal testing calls for 24 different metals and other toxins to be included in reporting but the DEP only requested one-third.

The state, in turn, delivered those partial results to homeowners to show that fracking had not contaminated their water wells. The homeowners requested the sampling be conducted as they attempted to determine what was causing their health to decline, reporting nausea, headaches, body pains, and other conditions that are similar to other complaints registered from people living closest to fracking wells who believe the process is harmful to their water and air.

The suing property owners believe the state intentionally omitted this data to back the industry claims that fracking is not harmful to the environment and does not pose threats to people’s water supplies.