Scientist says Range Resources’ Parker County water tests “bogus”


Range has been in the news lately but you might have missed some of it.

On Monday:

A story by Mike Soraghan, E&E reporter,Landowners’ rep says inspectors ignoring dangerous methane readings, says that the Texas Railroad Commission (RRC) failed “to report dangerous levels of methane at contaminated water wells.” (Failed is a word that attaches itself easily to the RRC.)

I blogged about it all when I warned that there are fracking bombs in Parker County.

On Wednesday: we got a threesome.

FIRST: Another story by Mike Soraghan, E&E reporter, “BARNETT SHALE: After dangerously high methane level detected, no reaction by EPA, Texas agency.” This one does not have a public link so I will give you some highlights.

This story is about Shelly Perdue whose water lights on fire like Steve Lipsky’s.

But there’s not much she can do. It’s her home, and she needs water.

Shelly figured out that the people testing for Range weren’t doing it right. Shelly has a vent at the well head just like Lipsky does and she has another vent on her holding tank. The Range testers where taking their water samples after the water vented off the methane at the wellhead and the tank.

The people who came to sample, she said, had been drawing water from a point in her line after a treatment tank, so the methane was allowed to escape.

When they came out in November 2012, she said she wanted them to sample the water where it came out of the ground and extract it in such a way that the methane was not allowed to escape. Grudgingly, she said, they agreed.

“I told the guys I would not allow them on my property,” Perdue said. “I told them, ‘You’re not getting correct readings.'”

Nice try there fellas.

bogus-fitness-claims-1Duke has been testing the wells and they get very high levels of methane. Range gets low levels. A scientist said the Range results are “bogus.”

Bryce Payne, a soil scientist hired by Perdue’s neighbor as part of the area’s long-running water contamination case, says the contamination in the area is much bigger than Perdue’s one high reading. He says EPA has accepted “bogus” test results from Range and its contractors for Perdue’s water well and 17 more belonging to her neighbors.

The results submitted to EPA by Range, he said, include contradictory data. One set shows acceptably low levels of methane in most of the water wells, while the other shows that those low levels can’t be correct.

There is lots more to the article but it requires a subscription. I’ll try to post a link here in a few days if they make it public.

SECOND: DeSmogBlog has a story about Steve, Fracking Victim Steve Lipsky’s Flaming Water is No Joke. She has some great pictures and video.

THIRD: Range Resources has to cough up the chemical composition of its fracking fluid. It’s going to take a while because Range doesn’t know what the composition is. (So much for telling health care professionals in cases where life is threatened.) This is the lawsuit where Range is accused of fraud in their testing results. Fraud is a synonym for bogus.


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. Anymous says

    How correct you are—the best way to collect the sample is to do it downhole at the point where the inlet pipe is located down in the water well and mantain the sample at the in-situ downhole pressure. Since that is very difficult, the next best thing to do is collect the sample where the water enters the surface tank at the maximum in-situ pressure at that location. The collected sample must remain at the collected pressure and remain at or near the collected temperature while in transit to the laboratory. The laboratory must insure that the analysis will include all desired materials in the sample and that none of the included or dissolved gasses (such as methane, H2S, etc.) are allowed to escape before analysis. After all the objective is to measure certain contaminants that are in the water well–not to measure the water entering the home after various treatment techniques.

  2. GhostBlogger says

    Daily Kos has a piece on this now:

    “Although the EPA had water chemistry measurements that showed Lipsky’s water was dangerously polluted, the EPA withheld the evidence and vacated the emergency order, apparently for political reasons. The EPA’s actions left Lipsky vulnerable to Range’s SLAPP suit.”

    Wonderful PR this must be for Range Resources. Maybe they need to raise the white flag now, and admit they blew it.

    • Alberta Neighbor says

      I think it’s pretty clear Range et al. don’t care much about PR.

      “Home invasions” don’t usually include PR, so I expect Range et al. will just be taking a page from Chevron’s handbook.

      “Charles A. James, Chevron’s vice president and general counsel, told law students at UC Berkeley that Chevron would fight ‘until hell freezes over, and then skate on the ice.'”

  3. says

    The Texas Railroad Commission does not know how to test for methane concentrations in water. Steve had to explain it to them then they stated that they do not care how much methane is in his water.

    • Anymous says

      Likewise, the TCEQ does not concern itself with CH4 in our air–also, they do not concern themselves with the amount of CO2, O2 and a host of other compounds that can affect our air quality & environment. A couple of “fine” organizations we have!