In Land of Gas Drilling, Battle for Water That Doesn’t Reek or Fizz

In Land of Gas Drilling, Battle for Water That Doesn’t Reek or Fizz by Dan Frosch, June 2, 2012, The New York Times
In the meantime, the state has offered to provide cisterns for local residents, using $750,000 allocated by the Wyoming Legislature this year. Under the plan, people here would still have to pay a fee to have their water hauled from the nearby community of Pavillion, at a cost that could run more than $150 per month. “I’d like to have the industry held accountable for once,” said Jeff Locker, a hay and barley farmer who said that his well water had gone bad around the mid-’90s and that the contaminants had contributed to his wife’s neuropathy. “We’ve got scientific proof. And they’re still turning their back on us. They expect us to pay between $100 and $200 for something we didn’t cause. It gets under my skin.” Encana Oil and Gas (U.S.A.) Inc., which bought the Pavillion gas field in 2004 and operates about 125 gas wells in the area, is already providing jugs of drinking water for Mr. Locker and 20 other households. It is unclear whether Encana will defray any of the cost of the cistern water. “Until there is a peer-reviewed study and a good scientific basis that indicates that the issues related to water are related to our operations, that is not something we are ready to address,” said Doug Hock, an Encana spokesman. Encana has maintained that water in the area is naturally poor…. Moreover, the energy industry has steadfastly pointed out that there has never been any conclusive link between fracking and water contamination. … “These are people that had good water,” said John Fenton, a barrel-chested farmer and chairman of the Pavillion Area Concerned Citizens group. “And it changed when there was this rush to come in here and develop the area when they didn’t understand the geology.” Mr. Fenton said he thought he had dodged a bullet until about three years ago, when his tap water began occasionally fizzing and smelling like petroleum. And even though Encana is giving him drinking water, Mr. Fenton said he and his family still bathe in dirty water. … Louis Meeks, a landowner whose tap water reeks like diesel fuel, listened quietly. He said he had been trying to clean his water for years to no avail, and no longer lets his granddaughter wash her clothes or bathe in his home. Recently, Mr. Meeks printed business cards for anyone interested in his predicament. A glass of water is pictured prominently. “Fresh, fizzy … Fracked,” the cards read.

This entry was posted in Case Related, Global Frac News. Bookmark the permalink.