Wyoming Water Tests in Line With EPA Finding on Fracking

Wyoming Water Tests in Line With EPA Finding on Fracking by Mark Drajem, October 11, 2012, Bloomberg News in Business week
The latest test results on water near Pavillion, Wyoming, show pollutants “consistent” with findings used last year to link tainted water there to hydraulic fracturing, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said. The EPA yesterday issued its follow-up analyses of two test wells it drilled and of five residents’ water wells. The agency agreed to conduct further tests after Encana Corp. (ECA), the company that leases the natural-gas field there, and Wyoming state officials criticized the EPA’s testing methods and preliminary conclusions. The new results “are generally consistent with the monitoring data included” in the EPA’s December draft report, Alisha Johnson, an agency spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.

Encana, Canada’s largest natural-gas producer, owns 140 natural-gas wells in an area of cattle and hay farms outside of Pavillion, about 230 miles (370 kilometers) northeast of Salt Lake City. The company says that contaminants found in water wells are naturally occurring and that the two test wells the EPA drilled in 2010 were improperly constructed.

‘Nature Did’
“EPA has provided no sound scientific evidence that drilling has impacted domestic drinking water wells in the area,” Doug Hock, a spokesman for Calgary-based Encana, said in an e-mail. “Encana didn’t put the hydrocarbons there; nature did.” The gas wells in Pavillion are different than those drilled in most areas of Pennsylvania, where residents also have complained about tainted water from fracking. The wells in the Wyoming town don’t go as deep and the aquifer is closer to the gas-production zone.

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