New test results due from fracking zone in Wyoming

New test results due from fracking zone in Wyoming by Mead Gruver, The Canadian Press/Associated Press, September 26, 2012, The Brandon Sun
CHEYENNE, Wyo. – The U.S. Geological Survey plans to release results Wednesday from a new round of groundwater tests in a Wyoming gas field where another federal agency linked hydraulic fracturing to contaminants found in two water wells and local residents have complained of chemicals polluting their well water. The new USGS data comes from samples taken in April from one of the test wells near Pavillion in central Wyoming. The other test well didn’t produce enough water to yield samples deemed large enough to test. … The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Wyoming, the USGS and two American Indian tribes collaborated on the latest sampling, which followed previous testing done solely by the EPA. The EPA theorized a fracking-pollution link in a draft report released in December. The report drew heavy skepticism from petroleum industry and state officials, including Gov. Matt Mead, who characterized the finding as a flimsy one. Wyoming officials — whom the EPA briefed on its findings more than a month ahead of the report’s release — also grumbled that the EPA hadn’t kept them in the loop about what the federal agency was up to during the previous testing. “Gov. Mead felt that this process was an improvement on how the first draft report from the EPA was done. It was more transparent. The team had input throughout the process,” Mead spokesman Renny MacKay said Tuesday. Even so, the EPA plans to post its own data separately on Wednesday or possibly later, EPA Region 8 spokesman Rich Mylott said. “All EPA data have gone through the agency’s quality assurance process,” Mylott said by email.

Testing by the EPA this past spring included new samples from five domestic water wells in the Pavillion area. That sampling happened outside the collaborative process. One person each from the EPA, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, and the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes on the Wind River Indian Reservation near Pavillion peer-reviewed the collaborative data, according to MacKay. A full peer review of the sampling and findings to date will occur later. [Emphasis added]

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