EnCana shallow fracturing and contaminated water at Pavillion Wyoming, Tests, controversy, more testing

Tests, controversy, more testing by Adam Voge, November 26, 2012, Star Tribune
The dispute over whether the oil and gas industry — namely hydraulic fracturing — contributed to water contamination near Pavillion has lasted years. Here’s a look at how events unfolded:
*2005-2009: Some Pavillion-area residents worry that nearby drilling is harming their drinking water wells. Encana, the natural gas field’s operator, claims the bad water is common to the area.
*Late 2009-early 2010: After getting complaints from some Pavillion area residents, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency tests 41 drinking water wells in the area.
*August 2010: The EPA recommends that several Pavillion-area residents with private water wells find other sources for water used in drinking and cooking, after testing shows compounds officials believe shouldn’t be in the water.
*Summer 2010: The EPA drills two monitoring wells in the Encana Oil and Gas-owned Pavillion field in order to test the water and determine whether it had been polluted.
*March 2011: The Pavillion Working Group, a collection of state and local officials, private citizens and representatives from Encana, begin meeting to determine what information is needed to solve the dispute.
*November 2011: The EPA releases data from its round of water testing near Pavillion. The testing detected high levels of benzene, methane and other chemicals. Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson said the chemicals may be linked to hydraulic fracturing.
*November 2011: Midland, Texas-based Legacy Reserves LP backs out of a deal to purchase wells in the Pavillion field, citing the federal investigation.
*December 2011: The EPA releases a draft report tentatively linking hydraulic fracturing to groundwater contamination near the Pavillion gas field.
*December 2011: Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead calls for a broader groundwater investigation of the area.
*January 2011: The EPA extends public comment on the draft report, which was originally set to expire in January.
*March 2012: Mead signs a bill which allocates $750,000 to help residents affected by the water controversy. The state would later decide to use the money to construct cisterns.
*March 2012: The EPA agrees to further testing of its two wells near Pavillion, to clarify questions about the first round of results. The agency agrees to bring in the U.S. Geological Survey to conduct the testing.
*April 2012: The USGS begins a second round of testing on the wells near Pavillion.
*June 2012: State oil and gas supervisor Tom Doll says some Pavillion-area residents were motivated by greed while speaking at an industry event in Canada. Doll resigned the next month.
*September 2012: The USGS releases data from the last round of testing with no analysis. The EPA and industry offer differing interpretations of the numbers, with EPA saying they’re “generally consistent” with earlier results.
*October 2012: EPA officials announce another comment period delay, this time to January 2013, at a Pavillion Working Group meeting in Riverton. A long-awaited peer review is also pushed back, likely to January.
*October 2012: Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality Officials tell a small group of Pavillion-area residents that 14 months of air testing near the field showed no air quality violations. Residents expressed concern over the monitoring equipment’s location and elevation. [Emphasis added]

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