How Wyoming fracking contamination is just like Texas fracking contamination


The oil and gas industry has continually claimed that fracking does not contaminate water but now the EPA says it does. Today the EPA linked water contamination in Pavilion, Wyoming to hydraulic fracturing.

In 2008, Deb Thomas, Powder River Basin Resource Council, and Jennifer Goldman, Earthworks’ Oil and Gas Accountability Project worked with Pavilion, Wyoming citizens collecting their stories of water contamination and their data. Deb and Jen carried those stories to the EPA Region VIII and asked them to conduct a comprehensive investigation.

During the EPA investigation, MacArthur Genius Award winning chemist, Wilma Subra, who is also an Earthwork’s board member, conducted a community health survey.

Wyoming gas-field residents call for Public Health studies related to oil & gas chemicals and drinking water contamination
August 18, 2010
Pavillion health survey reveals high rate of respiratory impacts affecting residents living amidst water contamination

So, here’s the latest snake oil the Big Gas Mafia is trying to sell:  What happened in Wyoming has nothing to do with Texas.

But that’s not true either.

What happened in Wyoming is exactly what happened in Parker County, Texas with the Lipsky well.

Fracking happens and gas migrates bringing with it

fracking chemicals and impurities from the formation.

Thank you EPA

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. FrackingCrazy says

    Now all we need is a presidential candidate with balls to put the Beverly Hillbillies back in place, oil and gas execs, as well as the Frac Act.

    Now everyone join hands and pray!

  2. Anonomous says

    Thanks EPA. That’s great for a starter–now come on down to Tx and “get ’em”–get big gas for ruining us at every turn.

  3. GhostBlogger says

    Another observer of fracking wrote me: ”

    The ‘important question’ is whether everything is done with best practices, and whether we know what the best practices should be in the first place…. fracking an improperly cased well, perhaps without checking whether the casing is deep enough or has other flaws, simply shouldn’t be allowed. And if it’s allowed, and results in water contamination, then that’s the fracker’s responsibility. Duh.”

    • FrackingCrazy says

      The thing I wish people would understand about fracking is that ALL casings are designed to fail.

      I did a lot of research on it; between buying the casings from China (blog from industry quoted that it’s a lesser quality that doesn’t meet the same US standards) and the corrosive properties of the chemicals that they put in there, and how most of the chemicals are then sitting near the aquifer as it goes in and goes out.

      The casing is not designed to handle the PSI they’re putting in the well, especially over and over again.

      Most vertical wells are fracked horizontally more than once, any where between 7 and 17 times.

      I think, in my mind, there is evidence that the casing needs to be replaced each frack job.

      • says

        I’m pretty sure that there are no horizontal shale gas or oil wells that have actually been refracked that many times. I know of a few that have been refracked once or maybe twice. I think the refracking of the wells is a myth the industry used to sell their shale gas snake oil.

      • Ivy Leagr says

        What are you talking about? At least TXSharon knows one thing about fracking and that wells are hardly re-fracked multiple times. What you need to understand is that after doing a “lot of research on it”, you are still completely delusional about what goes on. Why would companies design casing to fail? What business sense does that make? Also, almost all chemicals that go into the well are injected to PREVENT corrosion, not enhance it. The casing IS designed to handle any and all pressures put upon it with safety standards of 120-150% pressure ratings generally in place. And just so you know, you cannot replace casing – it is cemented in place and kind of there to stay. Maybe learn a little something about what you are commenting on next time before you make yourself sound stupid.

        and TXSharon what myth the industry used to sell their shale gas snake oil are you talking about? That doesn’t even make sense. What are they trying to sell by claiming well refracturing?

        • says

          The crappy cementing jobs fail often so you can drop your indignation. I have industry studies where industry admits cement failure is a huge problem. Maybe I’ll post those in your honor when I get home.

          Corrosion is also a problem.

          The snake oil industry has pedled to lease holders is that these wells will produce for 30 years and production will be enhanced by repeated refracks. First, there is NO documentation to support the 30 year production because there are NO HORIZONTAL WELLS THAT ARE 30 YEARS OLD! Second, the production records we do have look pretty puny after a few years.

          Go ahead, put us down. Despite the veil of secrecy under which you operate, we find out, we learn, we expose you!

          • Ivy Leagr says

            Firstly, I never commented on cement failure, I replied to the post about “casing” failure – a mechanical issue with the casing itself. But now that you’ve brought it up, can you define “often” for cement failures? Of course that is a problem…when it happens. And just so we are on the same page, I would love for you to explain what you would classify as a cement failure?

            also, just to point out another error in your comments, horizontal wells have been around for 30+ years. They were drilled as early as the 1920’s. Of course technology didn’t make them really get going until the 1980’s, however if my math is correct, that’s 30 years old. There were 1000’s of horizontals already completed and on production by the 1990’s. I realize that this is your blog, but before you profess to know everything to your fellow do-gooders (who unfortunately probably do take what you write as “truth”), you should do a little more fact finding.

          • says

            Many times–such as my statement about horizontal wells–I get my information from your industry’s studies, white papers and presentations.

            Remember when you went to China to sell them on shale gas? I downloaded one of the presentations from that dog and pony show and it included a timeline. So maybe you guys need to get your stories straight. Why don’t you send me some of Chesapeake’s documentation showing the widespread use of horizontal drilling during the timeframe you mention.

            As to the cementing failures, again, I defer to your industry. Every time you contaminate water, you make great haste to point to cementing or casing as the source and not fracking. Again, I would happily study any of Chesapeake’s scientific documentation that supports your claim of safety. BUT do not send me your typical PR stuff.

            See, all we really know is this: when you drill/frack, water gets contaminated.

            BTW, what happened to the whole “reply with dignity so we look like the good guys and they look crazy” strategy that was put forth at the Big Gashole PR conference? You aren’t achieving that goal by calling us names. Not that I mind you calling me names and I realize you weren’t there but…IJS.

            I am typing this on my phone so there could be some typos. I hate autocorrect.

          • Ivy Leagr says

            FWhen did I throw Chesapeake’s name into the mix and claim they were drilling horizontal wells during that timeframe? That company is barely twenty years old therefore supporting documentation of them drilling wells in the 70’s and 80’s doesn’t exist. I simply stated that you were incorrect in your statement that there are NO horizontal wells over 30 years old. A simple google search disproves your statement, however if you need further proof, here you go…


            And to address the cementing, you are correct, in the few claims of water contamination that have been documented, cementing has likely been the cause. However, it is not being used as a scapegoat to avoid placing blame on fracking.

            and i hate autocorrect too.

          • says

            You did not throw CHK’s name into the mix, I did. Regardless of how long CHK has been around, they and their employees should have access to that information.

            Thanks for the link. It is not useful in bolstering your point though since it talks about “experimentation” and “short-radius” and makes the case that horizontal wells were not so horizontal back then.

            The real horizontal experiments with high volume, high pressure, slick water fracks started very close to where I was trying to live out my American Dream in Wise County. And that’s pretty much what it says at the link.

            You guys love to play around with words. You said: “the few claims of water contamination that have been documented

            Actually there are thousands of documented claims of water contamination after drilling and or fracking occurred. What is not thoroughly documented and what we can’t document because of your industry’s veil of secrecy is the PROOF. But, we’re getting there. More and more people like the Ruggieros are getting baseline testing and the follow up testing shows contamination.

            You really need to stop denying that problems exist and get busy solving the problems because the more you drill the more people like me you create. The preponderance of the evidence is a bitch!

  4. Sick and Tired says

    Of the word games Industry and their Paid Liars play. First it was “There’s not one documented case of ground water contamination due to hydraulic fracturing.” Maybe you’re right, it’s not from the fracturing, it’s from the piss poor drilling from the careless and arrogant operators. Even your head Paid Liar, Elizabeth Ames Jones recently acknowledged for the first time that contaminated ground water exists- not from fracking, but from POOR CASINGS.

    There’s a lot of people out there that refer and confuse hydraulic fracturing as the entire process instead of it being just one stage. This is one of the reasons that Industry can claim, and does, the aforementioned part about ground water contamination. Unfortunately, the Industry is too arrogant to let it go, instead, they try to rub our face in it by openly claiming that there does exist ground water contamination, but it’s not from fracking, you idiots, it’s from us from spilling crap on the surface, using faulty equipment, and hiring careless subcontractors. (Please refer to TRRC’s David Porter’s OpEd piece in the FW Star-telegram for his commentary about hydraulic fracturing. You know the one, the one where he refers to us victims as ‘unsatisfied landowners’.

    Now we have some gashole, probably from those wonderful, caring people at CHK (yes, the same people who are fighting to install a 15 unit compressor site in a FT Worth residential neighborhood) now splitting hairs over CASINGS versus CEMENTING.

    Technically, there are some of us that recognize the difference between a casing and cementing. However, the end result is still the same-ground water contamination, soil contamination, destruction of property and home value, faulty compressor stations, constant venting of dehydration units and semi truck traffic at all hours of the day.

    In the meantime, CHK tries to appease the masses with a few laptops to needy school children, sponsors a parade, and drops of a few canned goods at a food bank.

    Note to Aubrey and Company: If you really want to be a Good Neighbor, keep your fracking shit out of my neighborhood, park it on YOURS. You have at least 2 multi-thousand acres ranches, Aubrey, go frack that. When you Ivy League Gasholes expose your own children to this crap, that will be when I will entertain your word games.

    • Ivy Leagr says

      @txsharon – the link proved exactly what it was supposed to. Short radius or long radius, a horizontal is a horizontal well – that link proved they have been around for over 30 years. As for industry not making changes to remediate problems, once again…I’m not quite sure how to explain that to you. What would you call running cement bond logs on wells to ensure proper cement jobs? It was never required, however to ensure the jobs are done properly, many states now require bond logs run on every well prior to fracking. What about fluid design? Diesel used to be ran as a cheap fluid additive, however as more attention was drawn to the negative environmental impacts of that additive it has been replaced with environmentally safe materials. Seems to me those are two instances where industry has made attempts to rectify bad business practices previously in place.

      However, that being said…if shutting down fracking is what you guys would like, you are entitled to your opinion.

      • says

        That link proved they were experimenting with horizontal wells NOT SHALE GAS AND OIL WELLS and it proved that it was not a regular practice until the 1990s.

        You guys can’t continue to change your stories all the time AND operate under your veil of secrecy AND play word games then call foul and pretend we are being unfair, are uneducated “do-gooders” , are “completely delusional about what goes on” and sound “stupid.” …and lie to us.

        THIS was taken from an industry website.

        What about this presentation? Barnett Shale: The Start of the Shale Gas Revolution. Under item #2, Historical Perspective it clearly says that horizontal SHALE GAS was introduced in 2002 in Wise County where I was living at the time. That’s SHALE GAS. That’s the kind of drilling we are living with and the kind that we are discussing here. Anything else you try to throw out is just semantics and used to deflect attention away from your many screw ups environmental atrocities.

        Diesel? You want to talk to me about diesel use and pretend you did the right thing? Oh please. On February 3, 2011, I posted about how your company, Chesapeake Energy, still using diesel. Legal but stupid: Fracking with diesel. After that post, the page suddenly changed.

        Tim and Christine Ruggiero had a baseline water test at my urging. Follow up testing shows they had high levels of MTBE, an additive sometimes used in diesel, in their water.

        So, now you replace the diesel with…what exactly? Can’t say?

        And this: “if shutting down fracking is what you guys would like, you are entitled to your opinion.” You guys always go THERE. Like one of the presenters said at the PR conference: “They’ve been waiting for this fight they’re whole lives.” REALLY? You think a bunch of soccer moms, some retirees and a horsewoman like me were just sitting around with nothing to do waiting to spend hours and hours online and wading through regulatory agencies, spend hours at council meeting and… Really? Does that make any damn sense to you because it sure sounds like a load of crap to me.

        All we want is for you to operate and NOT pollute our air water and soil. But we don’t see that happening anywhere so I guess you can’t do it.