BREKAING NEWS: EPA confirms Dimock water is unsafe. Josh Fox provides Pro-Publica with unreleased Dimock water tests. The families in Dimock have high to explosive levels of methane in their water wells. The families have been vindicated. Science triumphs over spin.
So, is Dimock’s Water Really Safe to Drink?
When the Environmental Protection Agency announced last week that tests showed the water is safe to drink in Dimock, Penn., a national hot spot for concerns about fracking, it seemed to vindicate the energy industry’s insistence that drilling had not caused pollution in the area.
But what the agency didn’t say – at least, not publicly – is that the water samples contained dangerous quantities of methane gas, a finding that confirmed some of the agency’s initial concerns and the complaints raised by Dimock residents since 2009.
The test results also showed the group of wells contained dozens of other contaminants, including low levels of chemicals known to cause cancer and heavy metals that exceed the agency’s “trigger level” and could lead to illness if consumed over an extended period of time. The EPA’s assurances suggest that the substances detected do not violate specific drinking water standards, but no such standards exist for some of the contaminants and some experts said the agency should have acknowledged that they were detected at all.
UPDATE: I had to add this list of chemicals in the Dimock Fractini.
Among the other substances detected at low levels in Dimock’s water are a suite of chemicals known to come from some sort of hydrocarbon substance, such as diesel fuel or roofing tar. They include anthracene, fluoranthene, pyrene and benzo(a)pyrene– all substances described by a branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as cancer-causing even in very small amounts. Chromium, aluminum, lead and other metals were also detected, as were chlorides, salts, bromium and strontium, minerals that can occur naturally but are often associated with natural gas drilling.