UPDATE: State agency caught deliberately withholding evidence of fracking water contamination


Last May, I begged you to read the impressive pleading in a case alleging that Range Resources committed fraud.

Last June, I informed you about federal agencies looking into fraud and contamination caused by Range Resources.

The Karmic dominoes have started falling.

The information released today from depositions shows that the DEP in PA has been manipulating water testing results.

State Rep. Jesse White issued a press release based on this letter. The letter explains that the entire test results from water sampling were purposely not released. The PA DEP Bureau of Laboratories was testing and recording results for 24 metals. But they used a code to deliberately exclude reporting many of the metals to the PA DEP Oil & Gas Division and the landowner.

Toxic, heavy metals were found in people’s drinking water but those results were withheld.

So, I’m wondering…

In the first article that came out way back on May 26th it stated:

…alleges that Range and two commercial water testing laboratories, Microbac Laboratories Inc. and Test America, conspired to produce fraudulent test reports that misrepresented the families’ well water as good and contributed to their exposure to hazardous chemicals and a multitude of health problems.

Washington County families sue over fracking, water testing
Plaintiffs claim they fell ill from toxic spills, air pollutants
May 26, 2012 6:19 pm
Don Hopey

I wonder if they have evidence that suggests fraud by these commercial labs or perhaps some kind of collusion with the state.

I wonder how long this practice of manipulating water results has been going on.

You might remember that I had a friend whose American Dream was totally smashed by Range Resources.  You can read on the National Geographic site how they dashed her family’s dreams. Her personal story is HERE. I wonder what her water samples might reveal if they weren’t hidden away in a non disclosure agreement.

I wonder how many of these fraudulent water tests are hidden behind non disclosure agreements.

I wonder how many other state environmental agencies manipulate water and air testing results.

I will be up all night wondering.

The deposition of TaruUpadhyay, technical director of PA DEP Laboratory can be found at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/111821978

UPDATE: For more information see FRACKWATERgate.

UPDATE 2: See comments for link to NY Times article.

UPDATE 3: A flyer that explains step by step the process DEP uses to make toxic water test results disappear for the landowner.


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

    WAJ. Our gubment at work–really helping the peasants? Ha. I’ll bet that this kind of activity by these so-called “certified labs” is common practice. These labs are there to help the polluters and are colluding with the state agencies.

  2. says

    I don’t know what’s going on with the water in Arlington, TX, but officials seem worried about possible terrorist attacks on our water supply. We think they might be afraid to admit this epic disaster of permitting gas drill sites around the perimeter of Lake Arlington with its many, many horizontal wells laden with chemicals underneath the population’s drinking source. Here is the latest article that the Fort Worth Star Telegram has written in regards to installing water contamination sensors in our area:


  3. DEB says

    I’m not so sure it was a problem with the lab at all. Even though the lab tested for and found many cancer causing contaminants, the PADEP made it clear that they were not interested in any tests outside the very small list that they requested. One would think the DEP would look at all contaminants, if they were truly interested in protecting the people.

    I contend that the list requested by the PADEP was done purposefully and with full intent NOT to disclose anything other than what they could reasonably try to explain away and release the frackers from any and all obligations to provide clean water to the residents, in order to promote gas drilling here in PA and continue to the false press statements that there have been no cases of contamination. If they only see the very small handful of tests and can explain them away, then they can continue to fool the public into thinking gas drilling is OK and does not contaminate water.

    This had nothing to do with what was right and what was best for the people of this Commonwealth. This had everything to do with the continued promotion of this highly polluting industry and the continued campaign donations given to those that support it.

    Omission on purpose is detrimental to the health safety and welfare of the residents, but fruitful to the frackers and politicians that support them.

  4. says

    And a particular judge has said that what you’re doing on your blog does not qualify as journalism. In my humble opinion, he can kiss your ass repeatedly while chanting “I’m a tool! I’m a tool! I’m a tool!” between each kiss.

  5. jenny l says

    I believe there is another tactic DEP uses. I had a 942 code (among others) on our water test result. In our case DEP said that it couldn’t have been the gas well’s fault for fouling our water because all of our water comes from our own property. In other words all other water sources know our property lines and will not cross. That kind of response leaves it up to the land owner to try and find and hire hydrologist to seek the truth.

    • says

      I suspect this is widespread. The same kind of thing happens here with the Texas Railroad Commission. We need a federal investigation of state agencies, the industry and the industry’s intimidation tactics and misuse of the court system. In a federal probe, people are not bound by non disclosure agreements.

  6. Nick says

    In all of these reported pollution cases, SOMEONE needs to find a water analysis run by the city, county, water district or whomever controls your fresh water that was done prior to the invasion of the oil snatchers. Then, you would have something to compare to.

    If you have no sample, take one. You CAN afford it IF you consider the future of your water table as important. In our case, we have even talked the company drilling on our land to pay for our guy to collect & test it.

    • says

      I would never trust the industry to test. In this case, if you look at the pleading in the lawsuit, you will see that they are alleging that Range committed fraud on their water sample results.

      Don’t you find it interesting that water contamination seems to follow this industry around?

      When you consider water testing and that much of it needs to be done in rural areas, that it costs several hundred dollars per test, that you will have to test again and again as long as the well is operating and even after, it’s a major expense. Also, if you have no mineral rights, you have no leverage to use to force the drillers to test.

      • Nick says

        Not asking anyone to trust anyone. The sample should be taken by someone you trust. Share the expense with neighbors, if possible. It’s one of the only ways to show changes IF contamination is suspected in the future. No real need to continually test UNLESS suspicions arise.

        • says

          Here’s how it should work: BEFORE any permits are granted, the frackers have to set up a testing fund the landowners can use for environmental testing with labs of their choice. They should test air, water and soil to get a baseline and retest every 6 months.

          It might be hard for you to grasp this, Nick, but for many people forking over that kind of money means they don’t get to eat.

  7. Mike Knapp says

    You guys are hitching your cart to the wrong horse. Check out the video, I’m sure you’ll love his landscaping, it really keeps the natural beauty of he area intact. Also, check his criminal and civil histories. He likes to get piss wasted and drive 100 mph down the wrong side of the road while inning from the cops, and then swing at them and send two of them to the hospital. Also check the DEP letter which clearly shows his water troubles are with his junkyard, not gas drilling.




    • says

      Well aren’t you the pot that calls the kettle black. I seem to remember something about your driving record that sounds very similar.

      Hey Mike, You have a photo of me that you took off my blog without my permission. You have also made libelous and injurious statements about me on your blog. Your statements about me are outrageous lies that were proven in sworn testimony to have no basis in fact.

      Credibility? I think you credibility is called into serious question by your record that is posted here. OOPS!

      • says

        P.S. My wagon is hitched to the sworn testimony in the deposition linked above. That’s kind of hard to dispute.

        And, another thing: Dont’ bother dropping links from other fracking Joe Camels in here. They have even less credibility than you. They do a hit piece on anyone to even questions fracking. I seem to remember their ad hominem attack didn’t work out too well for them in Deborah Roger’s case.

    • GhostBlogger says


      “Those metals, found in the 450-million-year-old shale layer a mile or more underneath most of Pennsylvania, are “marker” Marcellus contaminants that should be part of any well water testing, said John Smith, an attorney with Smith Butz, a firm representing eight people in the Washington County case against Range Resources and 12 of its subcontractors…”

      “…also said the lab found volatile organic compounds, including acetone, chloroform and T-butyl alcohol — industry-recognized components of fracking fluid — in Mr. Kiskadden’s water.”

      “…But Mr. Smith pointed out in his court filing that scientific studies, including one by the Marcellus Shale Coalition in 2009, have routinely identified the heavy metals found in Mr. Kiskadden’s water as contaminants in oil and gas flow back and produced water.”


  8. Mike Knapp says

    Sharon, I got a ticket for doing 15 mph over when I was in college. That’s “familiar” to running from the cops drunk doing 100 mph in the wrong lane, sending two of them to the hospital?

    I think you might have some real perception issues.

    • says

      You didn’t address any of the other stuff in my comment. Address your lies about me first and address the poor record of your company before you point a finger at anyone else.

      You post about me on your blog is libelous and injurious and you have used my photo without my permission. Your statements about me have been proven false in sworn testimony.

  9. dick says

    Typical Knapp and IED trickery. Don’t look at the sworn testimony admitting the DEP was not releasing all the toxins found in people’s water. Look over here at Jesse White who only put out a press release about the sworn testimony.

  10. Tim Ruggiero says

    Mikey: You’re not really coming to the defense of those gasholes at Range Resources are you? Isn’t the constant denial of everything by Pitzarella sufficient enough for you? Need I remind you that Range Resources is the same fun loving bunch that ran over Chris and Stephanie Hallowich-and then settled with them out of court, then broke their own agreement, and then got sued for that? Then ran over Ron Gulla not once, but twice, and then up to this most recent fiasco, spent who knows how many thousands of shareholder dollars on deposing Sharon Wilson because she had the audacity to to tell the truth about them? Oh, wait, my bad, you’re defending Range Resources by defending the collective brain trust at the DEP.

    • says

      I will not give you a forum on my blog, until you have removed the picture you took off my blog without my permission and corrected your libel. So, unless you want to post again with a link to your updated post about me, don’t bother.

      • Tim Ruggiero says

        Once AGAIN, Mike Knapp, like the entire Industry itself, attempts to change the conversation with the ol’ bait and switch. And once again, like all the other gasholes, get put in their place with the facts and they slink away.

        • says

          Mr. Knapp won’t be posting any comments on this blog until he addresses the libelous statements he made about me on his blog and until removes the photo he stole from me.

  11. HighPlainsDrifter says

    I would like to see that Photo! Can you post his blog address Sharon,
    please? How is the new Casa Timmy?