Last week, we told you about a Department of Environmental Protection employee’s deposition testimony claiming the state does not report complete lab results, when testing for water contamination near natural gas drilling sites. ”The heavy metals left out of one particular report back to a resident of Washington County,” we reported, “included cobalt, silicon, tin, titanium, zinc, boron, silicon, aluminum, copper, nickel, lithium, and molybdenum.”
DEP Secretary Mike Krancer is responding to the charges in a letter addressed to House Democrat Jesse White, who publicized the deposition in a press release last week. Krancer tells White his “characterization of the testimony…is untrue and inaccurate,”
Krancer says state lab employees were following protocols developed in 1991, and revised after the state’s Marcellus Shale boom began. Read an excerpt from Krancer’s letter below:
Professional staff, trained in evaluating Water complaints, utilize the relevant data and information to inform their conclusions. Although other results are generated by the lab tests, such results would not contribute to answering the question at hand– determining whether there is a connection between the gas Well activities and the Water supply.
Your press release also omits that these parameters subject to investigation in Pennsylvania are
substantially similar to the ones used in other states such as, for example, New York, Ohio,
Colorado and Wyoming.
In this particular investigation, the levels of the additional parameters were extremely low. None exceeded a primary or secondary Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for drinking Water. Silica, one of the additional parameters mentioned, is one of the most common compounds found in our natural environment. Therefore, finding Silica – particularly at these low levels – doesn’t inform DEP about Whether a Water supply is adversely affected by oil and gas related activities.
Read the full letter here: