Gov’t ignoring tainted groundwater problems

Gov’t ignoring tainted groundwater problems by Jason Markusoff, May 2, 2007, The Edmonton Journal
In the 18 months since their problems and similar ones emerged, officials are still investigating, while more wells are drilled to extract natural gas from coal seams deep underground. “Alberta Environment is doing everything that it possibly can to get to the bottom of this issue,” Environment Minister Rob Renner said in the legislature. He said his ministry has drilled some monitoring wells but doesn’t have a conclusive link that coal-bed methane activity is harming groundwater. But Lauridsen and Signer argued the evidence is there. Signer showed reporters water-sample results the ministry did on her property, finding a toxic stew of petroleum-related chemicals, including butane, isopentane, hexane and the solvent toluene. That suggests naturally occurring bacteria along did not trigger the problems, she said. Heather von Hauff, a groundwater policy adviser with the government, said some of the hydrocarbon chemicals can be found in commercial products such as glue.

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