A report from the Texas Railroad Commission says the level of methane in private water wells in Parker County has worsened but “evidence is insufficient” to link it to drilling activities. The amount of methane in several Parker County water wells is increasing, but the Texas Railroad Commission says that it still can’t link the gas contamination to drilling activity nearby.
In a report released Wednesday, the Railroad Commission said levels of methane, the principal component in natural gas, found in water wells in the Silverado subdivision were higher in September 2013 than in tests done in 2010 and 2011. The commission took new samples and reopened the investigation last year after receiving complaints from several more homeowners about contaminated water.
However, Peter Pope, the agency geologist who signed off on the report, wrote that staff “has determined that the evidence is insufficient to conclude that Barnett Shale production activities have caused or contributed to methane contamination beneath the neighborhood.” The agency will not investigate further, Pope added in the report dated Friday. He suggested that residents “properly ventilate and aerate their water systems.” The Railroad Commission regulates the oil and gas industry in Texas.
Steve Lipsky, whose methane-contaminated water wells sparked an emergency order by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in late 2010, dismissed the agency’s findings, saying “they are not going to allow anything” that makes the industry look bad. “Everything I try to give them, they bury,” Lipsky said Wednesday. He said that tests by both Duke University and the University of Texas at Arlington have found much higher methane levels in his water than the Railroad Commission, which he maintains botched the testing.
-- Jim Fuquay