Pennsylvanians believe state tests purposely omitted dangerous chemicals from fracking tests

A lawsuit filed on behalf of Pennsylvania residents who feel their health has been impacted by the effects of nearby hydraulic fracturing (fracking) drilling contends that state testing on their private water wells purposely omitted testing for some of the more dangerous toxins used or created by the controversial process.

According to a New York Times report, the seven plaintiffs in the lawsuit against notorious gas driller Range Resources Inc. believe testing on their private water wells done by the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection was purposely incomplete. The testing was requested by the homeowners as they attempted to determine whether nearby fracking wells in southwestern Pennsylvania had been impacting the safety of their private water wells.

For many residents of Pennsylvania and in other areas across the U.S. where fracking activity is being conducted, proving that the drilling has impacted their private water wells has been a difficult task. No governmental agencies have been willing to admit that fracking activity can impact nearby water wells despite growing evidence that some of the chemicals used in the fracking process or the toxins produced or released during fracking were found in those and other wells. 

It is a contention that’s been vehemently denied by the fracking industries, which believe that fracking is safe for the environment and does not pose public health or environmental safety risks. Those living closest to wells believe fracking can poison their water and toxify their air.

In the lawsuit filed on behalf of seven southwestern Pennsylvania families who believe fracking has adversely impacted their health and safe drinking water supply, the defense contends that the testing done at these homes appears incomplete but was all that was requested. The testing was requested of the DEP by the affected homeowners. The DEP contracted a company to perform the testing and set parameters for the tests.

In testimony delivered recently in the trial phase of this lawsuit, the scientist in charge of the testing and reporting the results said the results were what was requested by the state. The testing included but did not report levels of copper, nickel, zinc, and titanium found in the well water. These metals however, could impact human health if they’re ingested at levels above what is deemed safe by federal standards.

The plaintiffs believe the omissions were done on purpose in an attempt to discredit their claims that fracking had contaminated their water. Lawyers representing the homeowners say the federally-accepted testing method used twice at the sites in question test for 24 metals but the report issued by the state only show results for one-third of them.

The affected residents believe the severe headaches, nausea, difficulty breathing, and chronic pain they’ve suffered since fracking wells were opened near their Washington County homes are a direct result of that drilling.

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