The Environmental Protection Agency should reopen its investigations of water contamination in Parker County, Dimock, Penn., and Pavillion, Wyo., eight U.S. representatives told EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy in a letter Tuesday. Several homeowners in the Silverado subdivision in southern Parker County say their water wells are contaminated with methane, the principal component of natural gas, or show high levels of salts and chemicals related to oil and gas production.
The Parker County case was the subject of a bitterly contested emergency order EPA issued in 2010 against Fort Worth-based Range Resources regarding methane in the water well of Steven Lipsky. After a court fight EPA suddenly withdrew its order in 2012 without explanation. An investigation by the agency's inspector general later concluded the agency had been justified in both filing and withdrawing the order.
EPA said it completed its Dimock investigation in 2012 after determining contaminants were below actionable levels. In Pavillion, the agency in February issued a draft report that said "inorganic and organic constituents associated with hydraulic fracturing have contaminated ground water at and below the depth used for domestic water supply. However, further investigation would be needed to determine if organic compounds associated with hydraulic fracturing have migrated to domestic wells in the area of investigation."
-- Jim Fuquay