Darn Data!

Pennsylvania DEP Withholds Key Water Test Results


Pennsylvania DEP Withholds Key Water Test Results

The PA Department of Environmental Protection has been holding out long enough, say twenty-six citizen action groups concerned with the human health and environmental impacts of fracking in Pennsylvania.

Indeed, the state ought to release the full test results from a Washington County, PA water well near a Range Resources fracking operation. It is, after all, the taxpayers who pay for such testing, and these taxpayers ought to be told what pollutants have been identified in their drinking water. It's only reasonable to want to know to which toxic chemicals you have been exposed, particularly when those chemicals have been intentionally omitted from your well water report by the DEP.

Especially when those toxins include zinc, nickel, cobalt, molybdenum, titanium, boron, acetone, chloroform and T-butyl alcohol. 

One might say the jig is up. The now infamous DEP “Suite Code 942” has been revealed in State Representative Calls for Probe of DEP Water Testing Reports by Don Hopey in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and reported on in Testimony Clouds DEP Water Testing by Rachel Morgan, Timesonline.com.

Also, it's the right thing to do. 

Former DEP Secretary and current Democratic gubernatorial contender, John Hanger, thinks so too. Hanger posted Special Comment: PA DEP Should Release All Results For Any Substance Tested on Monday, November 5, 2012 on his blog, Facts of the Day. Still, Tom Corbett doesn't seem to get it. Dismissing the drumbeats of concerned citizens only makes them louder. 

On November 21, 2012 in Fracking's Toxic Secrets: Lack Of Transparency Over Natural Gas Drilling Endangers Public Health, Advocates Say, Huffington Post, Lynne Peeples reports:

"Critics suggest the purported 'filtering' of testing data is just one of the ways people are left in the dark about the assortment of heavy metals and other toxic contaminants that may be in their air and water as a result of drilling, hydraulic fracturing and other phases of natural gas production. Recent studies have identified more than 600 chemicals used throughout the process of natural gas production, and often left undisclosed by companies. Additionally, natural but equally hazardous substances can be released from the wells."


One Simple Action - Mail A Letter 

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network asks people to please send this letter via this link, or to take a moment and write your own. Together, we can send a clear message to those responsible for keeping vital health information secret. (addresses below).  

To Governor Corbett, Secretary Krancer:

I am shocked that Pennsylvania is withholding some test results of drinking water that may have been impacted by gas or oil drilling. The routine omission of the test results for 16 of the 24 metals for which these analyses are conducted is vital data that people need in order to protect themselves and their families and make informed decisions about their water supply. Why would you withhold this data? 

I request that you immediately release the missing data to all those who have had their water tested under the limited codes – people are drinking this water and are unaware of the risks. This data is also key to PADEP’s determinations regarding whether a person’s drinking water has been affected. In fact, the determination letters issued by PADEP on this incomplete information must be called into question.

I request that you immediately correct the procedures you employ in this testing to reflect all potential contaminants from gas and oil drilling that may be found in well water so that the full range of potential water pollution can be assessed and disclosed to people.

I request that you revoke PADEP’s new policy of requiring administrators in Harrisburg to approve any positive notices of contamination of water before affected members of the public are notified. This adds a layer of red tape to urgently needed data – the delay can directly harm those who are waiting for water test results. Full and prompt notification should be the standard at PADEP, not more bureaucracy, especially in matters involving public health. 

I am disappointed that Pennsylvania, with these current practices, is not protecting its residents and the environment with the diligence the public needs.  I am writing to ask for transparency in reporting, accuracy in analysis, and rigorous attention to water quality analyses related to gas and oil operations.  I will consider your response to be indicative of whether Pennsylvania can provide us with the protection we need.


Your Name


Address your letter(s) to: 

Governor Tom Corbett

225 Main Capitol Building

Harrisburg. Pennsylvania  17120


DEP Secretary Michael Krancer

Rachel Carson State Office Building

400 Market Street

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania  17101


Undersigned Organizations*

Berks Gas Truth
Center for Coalfield Justice
Clean Air Council
Clean Water Action
Cross County Citizens Clean Air Coalition
Delaware Riverkeeper Network
Earthworks’ Oil and Gas Accountability Project
Food and Water Watch
Gas Truth of Central PA
Lehigh Valley Gas Truth
Lower Susquehanna RIVERKEEPER®
Marcellus Outreach Butler
Marcellus Protest, c/o Thomas Merton Center
Mountain Watershed Association
Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Water and Air
Physicians for Social Responsibility – Philadelphia
Protecting our Waters
Responsible Drilling Alliance
Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter
Three Rivers Waterkeeper
Tour de Frack
Youghiogheny Riverkeeper

Thank you!


* updated November 27, 2012

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Liz Rosenbaum December 14, 2012 at 12:31 PM
"PA Agency Fails to Share Fracking and Drinking Water Info with Homeowners" http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/fbeinecke/pa_agency_fails_to_share_frack.html


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something