Hydraulic Fracture: Fish Kill From Halliburton Frack Fluid Spill


ProPublica reports on the spill of hydraulic fracturing fluid by Halliburton at the Cabot operated well in Dimock, PA.

Frack Fluid Spill in Dimock Contaminates Stream, Killing Fish

The spills, which occurred at a well site run by Cabot Oil and Gas, involve a compound manufactured by Halliburton that is described as a “potential carcinogen” and is used in the drilling process of hydraulic fracturing, according to state officials. The contaminants have seeped into a nearby creek, where a fish kill was reported by the state Department of Environmental Protection. The DEP also reported fish “swimming erratically”.

Halliburton spilled the frack fluid twice at the same site on the same day! As the operator, Cabot is ultimately responsible and the ProPublica article recounts the many spills and problems brought to Dimock by Cabot drilling activities.

The drilling fluid spill Wednesday may be the most serious yet, because it involves chemicals that are known to pose a risk to human health and has spread into the area’s surface water system.

According to a Material Safety Data Sheet provided to the state this week by Halliburton, the spilled drilling fluid contained a liquid gel concentrate consisting of a Paraffinic solvent and Polysaccharide, chemicals listed as possible carcinogens for people. The MSDS form – for Halliburton’s proprietary product called LGC-35 CBM – does not list the entire makeup of the gel or the quantity of its constituents, but it warns that the substances have led to skin cancer in animals and “may cause headache, dizziness and other central nervous system effects” to anyone who breathes or swallows the fluids

This deer was found in an area in ARKANSAS with heavy gas drilling activity.

UPDATE 2: Some woman named Lindsey, posted this picture on her Facebook wall and claimed the deer has cancer and was shot in Dimock, PA. That’s not true BUT I am not the one who made those claims.

UPDATE: Because there is suddenly high interest in this picture of the deer, please see the original post where this picture was first used: Drilling the chain of life.  I do not know what caused the tumors on the deer nor does anyone else. Nor have I ever made any claims about what caused the tumors. The deer was found in Arkansas in an area with heavy drilling.

To see a few cases where animals were harmed by drilling/fracking:



Notice that Halliburton is not required to release the complete composition of chemicals spilled because hydraulic fracturing fluid is exempt from regulation under the SWDA.

H.R. 2766:Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act of 2009 already has support from 160 organizations despite industry claims that the bill has a “Death Panel” and despite large infusions of industry cash at all levels. We still need a Texas co-sponsor. Please look at this list of Texas Congressional Members and their SCORECARD on key environmental and energy votes. Please write your representative or find a more reasonable one and ask them to co-sponsor H.R. 2766 today! It should be glaringly obvious that we can expect no help from our state regulatory agency so please act before it’s too late.

Hydraulic Fracture Eureka! IOGA Press Release on the Halliburton Spill

National Alliance for Drilling Reform blog posts about the Dimock spill:

Delaware River Journal


Gas Wells Are Not Our Friends

Delaware River Journal

About Sharon Wilson

Sharon Wilson is considered a leading citizen expert on the impacts of shale oil and gas extraction. She is the go-to person whether it’s top EPA officials from D.C., national and international news networks, or residents facing the shock of eminent domain and the devastating environmental effects of natural gas development in their backyards.


  1. Anonymous says

    Hello Sharon,
    Can you tell us the details on that deer picture? Where was the deer found? We are trying to prevent fracking up here in New York state, and are wondering the scoop on that deer (is it in PA? TX? is there proof about the sickness having come from fracking fluid?)
    thanks for you great blog.

  2. Anonymous says

    Hey I'm not sure if my comment went thru already…I'm just wondering if you have details about that deer picture? Where was it found?

  3. TXsharon says

    The deer was in Arkansas living in an area with extensive drilling. That's all I know about it right now. They were taking it to a vet. It's probably from exposure to drilling chemicals but I don't know how you could prove it because the burden of proof is way to high.

  4. jrxco says

    It is sad that the deer had a bunch of tumors growing on it. I also believe that all living creatures get cancer, tumors and other forms of growths. It's hard to pin point the exact cause. If there is such a hard reaction to companies drilling and fracing for oil then why is the deer in a gas operated vehicle? That's what drilling is for. People are so quick to jump to "save the Earth" protesting drilling for natural resources and being hypocrite's and driving SUV's to the rally. If it's such an issue, get a hybrid.

  5. Jessica says

    TxSharon: I have contacted you about other photos on your blog for a video we are making in Frostburg, Maryland. I would like your permission to use the photo of this dear in our video displaying the possible affects of gas drilling in our area. If permission is granted, please let me know. Thank you!

    Jessica P

  6. Mike Schmitt says

    Just to give all of you the heads up, regardless of your opinion on drilling, it is poor science to automatically attribute a problem with a random animal with drilling/fracking/or whatever political cause you have in mind. You should look at the facts and try to determine the true cause. If it were actually determined to be drilling, then yes, spread the information. But a quick internet search would have shown you this is a cutaneous fibroma, not a cancerous tumor. By propogating the photo to other blogs and or websites, you are just spreading misinformation to further your political cause…

    • says

      I do not have any information that tells me otherwise and, since the oil and gas industry is so secretive, we can’t get the information to determine what is happening to our water, air, soil, animals and families.

      It’s kind of hard to look at the facts when the facts are kept secret. ijs

  7. PW says

    Mike Schmitt, your comment hit the nail on the head.
    TXsharon, there is another problem with associating that deer picture with Dimock, PA and hydraulic fracturing gas drilling. That picture is over 6 years old, taken some time before 11/2005. Just look at the post date on this forum that contains the same picture –> http://iowawhitetail.com/forum/showthread.php?t=12581
    Hydraulic Fracking did not begin in Dimock until 2008.

        • says

          I am not using the picture as disinformation as I have not made any claims about what is wrong with the deer. UNLIKE the Big Gas Mafia, I would never, EVER put bad information out intentionally.

          Maybe if we had some good information about all the chemicals used in the drilling, fracking and production process, we would not have to speculate. Until this industry quits being so secretive, my motto is: If you can’t get the information you need, expect the very worst.

        • says

          I see now that someone copied the picture of the deer, put it on facebook and said it was found in PA. I am NOT the one who said that.

          • Jon says

            I cannot remember if it was in this post or your original with this picture, but one of your captions for this picture distinctly said that the cause of the tumors was most likely related to the drilling/fracking. Not a quote because your posts have been changed to support your claim that you never said what was wrong or what caused the deers illness.

            Seeing this picture and assuming that the fracking caused the illness is the same as a doctor telling a patient that her HPV is from drinking from a plastic bottle. The fact is HPV existed before the plastic bottle. Deer have in the past exhibited these symptoms. I’m certain that the fracking and general polluting of the environment doesn’t help but the information you seek as far as this animal is concerned can be had from state governments. Is there in increase in this type of disease? That would be useful information.

          • says

            No, Jon, I have not changed the posts. I have added information and updates but I have not removed anything. I don’t normally remove stuff. I might strike through it but I don’t remove it.

            So, ah, NO. I am not doing what you have accused me of and you are starting to piss me off.

      • PW says

        So which is it, Arkansas or Louisiana?http://www.texassharon.com/2009/08/23/drilling-the-chain-of-life/
        Also, from the link above you say the photo was taken in 2009. If anyone looks at the properties of the photo they can see it was taken in 2002 by a Fuji SP-2000 camera.

        Oh wait maybe it is Tenn. http://www.kawiforums.com/pictures-movies-humor/48240-deer-warts.html

        Listen, I respect your efforts to bring information to light. Especially on such a hot topic as this, but you have to make sure you get your information right the first time. Otherwise the credibility of all of your articles will be flushed down the drain.

        • says

          I have no clue how to look at the properties on a photo so I guess I will just take the word of someone calling them self PW. Apparently the photo has made the rounds. I used it in good faith unlike the woman who posted it on Facebook. Oh wait! Maybe someone told her they shot the deer in Dimock.

          PW, I have been doing this for a very long time. It is IMPOSSIBLE to always get the information right 100% of the time because we are dealing with the most powerful and most secretive industry on the planet. I get it right or damn close MOST of the time and I have a good reputation even with scientists. When I do make a mistake, I just admit it and move on.

          So thanks but I’m not worried about my credibility. Maybe you should look around here a little more.

  8. Jon says

    Sorry, i found the quote.

    ” It’s probably from exposure to drilling chemicals but I don’t know how you could prove it because the burden of proof is way to high.”

      • Jon says

        Sorry to irritate you, honestly. The problem I have is the assumption that the disease is from the fracking when there exists information, scientific information, that would say otherwise.

        Long story short, fracking is a terrible idea, I agree.

        So long and thanks for all the fish!