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Corbett's Commission Revives Push For Private Water Well Standards

We’re a few days behind on this, but the Scranton Times-Tribune’s Robert Swift put together  a solid article this weekend explaining the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission’s recommendations on private water well standards.
Right now, Pennsylvania’s standards are nonexistent. Wells drilled on private land don’t need to meet any statewide specifications. In theory, this makes it easier for a water to become contaminated, whether it’s through methane migrating from gas wells, fertilizer runoff, or other means.
The commission wants lawmakers to change that:

Some 20,000 new water wells are drilled each year in the state, yet for all this reliance on well water, Pennsylvania is one of the few states without private well regulations. The commission kept its water well standards recommendation general in scope, while referring to a 2009 study by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, a legislative research agency, which concluded that 40 percent of private water wells have failed to meet at least one health-related drinking water standard. The commission noted pointedly that poorly constructed water wells can be pathways for bacteria and contaminants such as naturally occurring shallow methane gas to migrate into water supplies.
Groundwater aquifers can be polluted by failing septic systems, fertilizer runoff and mining, the center study found, while individual wells can be contaminated by exposed well casings, or having a loose fitting well cap or no cap at all, allowing surface water to enter a well.
The study recommended passing state laws requiring testing of new water wells by a certified lab and standards for new well construction and education programs for homeowners.

There have been several high-profile instances of methane contamination caused by natural gas drilling, most notably in Dimock, Susquehanna County.
The state House approved statewide well standards during the 2001-2002 legislative session, but the legislation never cleared the Senate.

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