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Flammable gases make their way into residents’ water, thanks to fracking
According to The Telegraph, residents in the Marcellus region of Pennsylvania are at risk for drinking water contaminated by flammable gases.
A study conducted by researchers at Duke University found higher levels of methane, propane, and ethane in water samples from bore holes within a kilometer of shale gas fracking sites.
Although the amounts of gases were not in concentrations large enough to effect health, the mere presence questions the future of drinking water in these areas.
How exactly did these gases get into the drinking water? Many say the process of fracking could be to blame. This process comprises of extracting natural gas from shale wells underground, and injecting water, sand, and chemicals to splinter the rock. Most likely, the propane, ethane, and methane escaped through cracks in the underground gas chambers, or through faults in the cement seal.
Studies have concluded that these leakages are only problematic in certain areas. Although the drinking water is some places is contaminated, other areas undergoing the same fracking process are sterile.
This news has prompted Britain, a country who also employs bore holes to get drinking water, to take into account the areas where drilling coincides with shale should be carefully watched. If the deep gas formation moves completely into the drinking water formation, solutions will need to be created.
At Least 42 PA Towns, Agencies Have Drinking Water Toxin Made Famous By Erin Brockovich: Study
At least 42 Pennsylvania communities have the cancer-causing toxin in their drinking water that was made famous in the 2000 Julia Roberts movie "Erin Brockovich," according to a new study published Tuesday by the Environmental Working Group. (See list below)
Although the water provided by local agencies does not exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection's maximum of 100 parts per billion of total chromium, it does exceed 0.02 parts per billion, a level that California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment set as a public health goal in 2011, the study explains. That level "would pose negligible risk over a lifetime of consumption," according to the study.
The toxin Chromium-6 can cause cancer, reproductive problems and liver damage even from little exposure, the report says.
California's public health goal was set after Brockovich was nearly successful in building a case against the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) of California in 1993 that blamed the company for contaminating local water. The actual legal cap in California is 10 parts per billion.
The Environmental Working Group, a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment, analyzed federal data from nationwide drinking water tests showing that the compound contaminates water supplies for more than 200 million Americans in all 50 states.
"Yet federal regulations are stalled by a chemical industry challenge that could mean no national regulation of a chemical state scientists in California and elsewhere say causes cancer when ingested at even extraordinarily low levels," according to the report.
The Environmental Working Group estimates that if left untreated, Chromium-6 in tap water will cause more than 12,000 excess cases of cancer by the end of the century.
The EPA issued a statement on chromium in drinking water, saying "ensuring safe drinking water for all Americans is a top priority for EPA." The agency says it has taken many actions to improve information on chromium and its potential health risks in drinking water.
"EPA is actively working on the development of the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) assessment of hexavalent chromium, which will include a comprehensive evaluation of potential health effects associated with hexavalent chromium, and EPA expects that the draft IRIS assessment will be released for public comment in 2017," the statement said.
Here is the list of towns, water commissions or countywide agencies that exceeded the report's acceptable level of Chromium-6 in tap water (0.02 parts per billion): (A full map with testing averages and further information can be found here.)
- Allentown City Bureau of Water
- Beaver Falls
- Bucks County - BCWSA Main - Lower South
- Cabot - Aqua PA - Main System
- Cheltenham - Aqua PA - Main System
- Chester Water Authority
- Conshohocken - Aqua PA - Main System
- Drexel Hill - Aqua PA - Main System
- East Goshen - Aqua PA - Main System
- Easton Area Water System
- Fort Washington - Aqua PA - Main System
- Hampton Shaler Water Authority
- Harleysville-North Penn Water Authority
- Hatfield-North Penn Water Authority
- Lansdale-North Penn Water Authority
- Lower Bucks County Joint Municipal Authority
- Malvern - Aqua PA - Main System
- Media - Aqua PA - Main System
- Nether Providence - Aqua PA - Main System
- New Britain-North Penn Water Authority
- Norristown - PA American Water Co.
- North Wales Water Authority
- Oreland - Aqua PA - Main System
- Paoli - Aqua PA - Main System
- Philadelphia Water Department
- Reading Area Water Authority
- Sellersville-North Penn Water Authority
- Souderton-North Penn Water Authority
- Springfield - Aqua PA - Main System
- State College Borough Water Authority
- Tredyffrin - Aqua PA - Main System
- Upper Merion - Aqua PA - Main System
- West Whiteland - Aqua PA - Main System
- Westmoreland Mun. Auth. - Sweeney Plant
- Wilkes Barre Area - PA American Water Co. - Ceasetown
- Willow Grove - Aqua PA - Main System
Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, before the EPA can decide whether to regulate a contaminant, it must meet three criteria:
• The contaminant may have an adverse effect on the health of persons
• is known to occur or there is a substantial likelihood that the contaminant will occur in public water systems with a frequency and at levels of public health concern and
• in the sole judgment of the EPA Administrator, the regulation of the contaminant presents a meaningful opportunity for health risk reductions for persons served by public water systems.
The EPA's drinking water standard of 100 parts per billion (ppb) for total chromium includes all forms of chromium, including hexavalent chromium.
Read the full report at the Environmental Working Group website here.
Pennsylvania Water Contamination Lawsuit Filed Against Firefighting Foam Manufacturers
A municipal Pennsylvania drinking water supplier is joining a growing number of entities, local governments and individuals filing lawsuits over firefighting foam water contamination, after cancer-causing chemicals used in recent decades at military bases and other training locations have tainted local water supplies.
Pennsylvania-American Water Company filed a lawsuit last year in the state court system against a host of chemical and safety equipment manufacturers, including 3M Company, Tyco, Chemguard and others, which was removed (PDF) this month to the federal court system, where it will be centralized with more than 1,000 complaints involving problems caused by toxic chemicals in aqueous film-forming foams (AFFF).
The firefighting foam has been manufactured and distributed with “forever” chemicals, known as per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which are now known to build up in the environment and human body, increasing the risk of cancer and other health problems.
Pennsylvania-American Water Company owns and operates 67 public water supply systems in the state, which were supplied by 100 active groundwater wells the company says have been contaminated with PFAS from firefighting foam chemicals used at nearby military bases and by civilian fire departments.
The toxic chemicals were first introduced into the manufacturing industry in the 1940’s, because of their ability to resist heat, grease, stains, and water. However, since then the chemicals have been linked to a myriad of adverse health effects including liver damage, thyroid disease, decreased fertility, high cholesterol, obesity, hormone suppression, and cancer. However, experts indicate that PFAS chemicals may take thousands of years to degrade, posing a long-term health risk for individuals directly exposed to the foam or regularly drinking contaminated water.
Tyco and Chemguard removed the case from the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, revealing their plans to invoke a “government contractor” defense they say shields them from liability in the cases.
“According to Plaintiff’s Complaint, potential sources of the AFFF that has allegedly caused Plaintiff’s injuries include ‘airports’ and ‘military facilities,’ many (if not all) of which are required by law to stock and use MilSpec AFFF,” the defendants wrote. “Accordingly, Tyco and Chemguard intend to assert the federal ‘government contractor’ defense in response to Plaintiff’s claims. Under the federal officer removal statute …Tyco and Chemguard are entitled to remove this action in order to have their federal defense adjudicated in a federal forum.”
Pennsylvania drinking water contaminated by fracking chemicals
This is the first case published with a complete story showing organic compounds attributed to shale gas development found in a homeowner’s well. And companies still argue fracking is safe!
Two years ago, I wrote an global article about fracking and drinking water contamination. Well now scientists find proofs of what I was talking about!
According to a new study, the drinking water sampled from three homes in Bradford County, Pa. contained chemicals from the nearby Marcellus Shale drilling sites.
DEP finds PFAS in one-third of Pa. public water systems none exceeded EPA limit
Detailed view on the newly installed system to filter out PFAS Forever Chemicals at Well #2 of the Horsham Water and Sewer Authority facility in Horsham, Pa., on August 22, 2019. (Bastiaan Slabbers for WHYY)
About one-third of 114 Pennsylvania water systems tested for toxic PFAS chemicals were found to contain the substances over 17 months of sampling, although none exceeded a federal health advisory level for two of the most common chemicals, the Department of Environmental Protection said.
Amid growing national alarm about the presence of the so-called forever chemicals in drinking water, Pennsylvania has been testing water sources since June 2019 at the direction of Gov. Tom Wolf’s PFAS Action Team, which was set up by an executive order in 2018.
Officials plan to finish testing by the end of March and say they will propose regulations this year that would set health limits for some of the chemicals, as some states including New Jersey have done already, in the absence of federal requirements.
Testing was suspended from March to July last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic but resumed in August with appropriate health precautions, DEP said in a statement earlier this month.
“In the interests of public health and environmental safety, we are continuing to make strides to ensure that we can determine PFAS contamination levels in Pennsylvania,” DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell said. “Although Covid-19 has impacted us all, it has not prevented us from making progress.”
Health levels known as Maximum Contaminant Limits would require affected systems to install filters to ensure their customers were not being exposed to hazardous levels of the chemicals that are linked to illnesses including some cancers, immune system impairments, developmental problems in young children, ulcerative colitis, and elevated cholesterol.
In the absence of its own limits for two of the most common PFAS chemicals – PFOA and PFOS – Pennsylvania still uses the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s combined guidance level of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) as an upper limit. Many scientists say that is far too high to protect public health from chemicals that can be dangerous even at very low doses.
Campaigners have long criticized the EPA for failing to set enforceable national health limits for the chemicals. But the Biden administration has restarted the agency’s steps toward regulation with plans for a new round of testing and the start of a regulatory process that would eventually produce national standards.
In New Jersey, officials last year finalized limits of 14 ppt and 13 ppt for PFOA and PFOS, respectively, about one-fifth the level set by the EPA. In 2018, the state became the first to set a strict limit for another common PFAS chemical, PFNA.
The man-made chemicals, formally known as Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances, have been used since the 1940s in a range of consumer products including non-stick cookware, flame-retardant fabrics, and some food packaging. They have also been used for years by the military in fire-fighting foam, resulting in high contamination levels on some military bases and in the ground water that provides drinking water for surrounding communities.
Pieces of plastic debris less than 5 millimeters long permeate the state’s waterways, according to a PennEnvironment Research & Policy report. Could they pose a health risk?
Business and the military have reduced their use of PFAS in response to health concerns, but the chemicals persist for years even if their use has ended because they don’t break down in the environment, earning the title “forever chemicals.”
Pennsylvania is not testing private wells, which serve some 3.5 million Pennsylvanians, or about a quarter of population, in the current round. But the state says it will help communities and private well owners whose water exceeds the EPA’s advisory level for PFOA and PFOS. The DEP also said it would change groundwater and soil-remediation standards for three of the chemicals: PFOA, PFOS and PFBS.
The DEP said it has identified 493 public water systems as potential sampling sites because they are within half a mile of a potential source of PFAS contamination. It plans to eventually test about 360 of them, as well as 40 sources that are outside the half-mile limit, and would establish a testing baseline.
Some of the highest PFAS concentrations have been found in Berks, Bucks and Montgomery counties. Christman Lake Water System in Berks County, for example, was found in February 2020 to contain 66 ppt of PFOA and PFOS combined – just below the EPA level but much higher than the levels that New Jersey has set as the health limit for each chemical.
In Bucks County, Doylestown Borough Water Department was found with 25 ppt of the two chemicals combined in August 2020 – well within the EPA limit but still about twice the New Jersey standard. And in Montgomery County, Audubon Water Co. was found in February 2020 with the same 25 ppt level.
In addition to those counties, chemicals were detected at sites in Chester, Columbia, Delaware, Lancaster, Lycoming, Monroe, Northampton and Philadelphia counties.
Pennsylvania tested for 18 kinds of PFAS chemicals and found seven of them including PFOA, PFOS and PFNA, present at 35 percent of the sites.
Some of the state’s highest PFAS levels have been found in the Horsham/Warminster area of Bucks and Montgomery counties where two shuttered military bases have been identified as contamination sources.
Worldwide, researchers are hunting for a kind of `secret sauce’ — a souped-up enzyme capable of breaking down some of the most resilient plastics.
Although that area was not among those sampled in the latest round of state testing, earlier samples have shown PFAS contamination of water on and around the bases at thousands of times above the EPA’s health limit. The site is one of seven around the country that are participating in a federal study of the effects of PFAS on human health recruitment of local people to provide blood samples is expected to start this summer.
Joanne Stanton, co-founder of Buxmont Coalition for Safer Water, which campaigns for PFAS removal, said the state tests covered only a fraction of some 9,000 PFAS chemicals that are known to exist.
“We need to keep pushing the federal government and state of PA to set enforceable drinking water standards for PFAS,” she said. “These are forever chemicals with a single exposure lasting in the human body for 10 to 20 years and a list of health effects that keeps growing and growing.”
Stanton argued that Pennsylvania is well behind some other states in regulating PFAS, and that private well owners are especially at risk because their wells are not being tested.
“With no sampling of private wells or other potential hot spots, the results are nothing to brag about but instead begs us to ask: What is the trigger point for PFAS action in our state?” she said.
Tracy Carluccio of the environmental group Delaware Riverkeeper Network said that even if 65 percent of the DEP’s tests failed to detect PFAS, the sampling still shows a significant impact in the state. No level of the chemicals is safe, she said, and “there are people in Pennsylvania drinking water that is contaminated with PFAS at concentrations that are known to be linked to serious adverse health effects.”
Carluccio, a longtime campaigner for strict PFAS regulation, said Pennsylvania should widen its sampling to include possible sources such as stormwater and wastewater treatment plants and sewage sludge, and she urged officials to monitor for air transmission in light of evidence that the chemicals have spread by air in some places.
“My worry is that by narrowing what they sample, PA will end up with the false conclusion that it is not a big statewide problem, when we really don’t know unless they widely sample,” she said.
ɿorever chemicals' contamination in eastern Pennsylvania water among worst in U.S.
Lauren Woeher wonders if her 16-month-old daughter has been harmed by tap water contaminated with toxic industrial compounds used in products like nonstick cookware, carpets, firefighting foam and fast-food wrappers.
Henry Betz, at 76, rattles around his house alone at night, thinking about the water his family unknowingly drank for years that was tainted by the same contaminants, and the pancreatic cancers that killed wife Betty Jean and two others in his household.
Tim Hagey, manager of a local water utility, recalls how he used to assure people that the local public water was safe. That was before testing showed it had some of the highest levels of the toxic compounds of any public water system in the U.S.
"You all made me out to be a liar," Hagey, general water and sewer manager in the eastern Pennsylvania town of Warminster, Bucks County, told Environmental Protection Agency officials at a hearing last month. The meeting drew residents and officials from Horsham and other affected towns in eastern Pennsylvania, and officials from some of the other dozens of states dealing with the same contaminants.
At "community engagement sessions" around the country this summer like the one in Horsham, residents and state, local and military officials are demanding that the EPA act quickly -- and decisively -- to clean up local water systems testing positive for dangerous levels of the chemicals, perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.
The Trump administration called the contamination "a potential public relations nightmare" earlier this year after federal toxicology studies found that some of the compounds are more hazardous than previously acknowledged.
PFAS have been in production since the 1940s, and there are about 3,500 different types. Dumped into water, the air or soil, some forms of the compounds are expected to remain intact for thousands of years one public-health expert dubbed them "forever chemicals."
EPA testing from 2013 to 2015 found significant amounts of PFAS in public water supplies in 33 U.S. states. The finding helped move PFAS up as a national priority.
So did scientific studies that firmed up the health risks. One, looking at a kind of PFAS once used in making Teflon, found a probable link with kidney and testicular cancer, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, hypertension in pregnant women and high cholesterol. Other recent studies point to immune problems in children, among other things.
In 2016, the EPA set advisory limits -- without any direct enforcement -- for two kinds of PFAS that had recently been phased out of production in the United States. But manufacturers are still producing, and releasing into the air and water, newer versions of the compounds.
Earlier this year, federal toxicologists decided that even the EPA's 2016 advisory levels for the two phased-out versions of the compound were several times too high for safety.
EPA says it will prepare a national management plan for the compounds by the end of the year. But Peter Grevatt, director of the agency's Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water, told The Associated Press that there's no deadline for a decision on possible regulatory actions.
Reviews of the data, and studies to gather more, are ongoing.
Even as the Trump administration says it advocates for clean air and water, it is ceding more regulation to the states and putting a hold on some regulations seen as burdensome to business.
In Horsham and surrounding towns in eastern Pennsylvania, and at other sites around the United States, the foams once used routinely in firefighting training at military bases contained PFAS.
"I know that you can't bring back three people that I lost," Betz, a retired airman, told the federal officials at the Horsham meeting. "But they're gone."
State lawmakers complained of "a lack of urgency and incompetency" on the part of EPA.
"It absolutely disgusts me that the federal government would put PR concerns ahead of public health concerns," Republican state Rep. Todd Stephens declared.
After the meeting, Woeher questioned why it took so long to tell the public about the dangers of the compounds.
"They knew they had seeped into the water, and they didn't tell anybody about it until it was revealed and they had to," she said.
Speaking at her home with her toddler nearby, she asked, "Is this something that, you know, I have to worry? It's in her."
While contamination of drinking water around military bases and factories gets most of the attention, the EPA says 80 percent of human exposure comes from consumer products in the home.
The chemical industry says it believes the versions of the nonstick, stain-resistant compounds in use now are safe, in part because they don't stay in the body as long as older versions.
"As an industry today . we're very forthcoming meeting any kind of regulatory requirement to disclose any kind of adverse data," said Jessica Bowman, a senior director at the American Chemistry Council trade group.
Independent academics and government regulators say they don't fully share the industry's expressed confidence about the safety of PFAS versions now in use.
"I don't know that we've done the science yet to really provide any strong guidance" on risks of the kinds of PFAS that U.S. companies are using now, said Andrew Gillespie, associate director at the EPA's National Exposure Research Laboratory.
While EPA considers its next step, states are taking action to tackle PFAS contamination on their own.
In Delaware, National Guard troops handed out water after high levels of PFAS were found in a town's water supply. Michigan last month ordered residents of two towns to stop drinking or cooking with their water, after PFAS were found at 20 times the EPA's 2016 advisory level. In New Jersey, officials urged fishermen to eat some kinds of fish no more than once a year because of PFAS contamination.
Washington became the first state to ban any firefighting foam with the compound.
Given the findings on the compounds, alarm bells "should be ringing four out of five" at the EPA, Kerrigan Clough, a former deputy regional EPA administrator, said in an interview with the AP as he waited for a test for PFAS in the water at his Michigan lake home, which is near a military base that used firefighting foam.
"If the risk appears to be high, and you've got it every place, then you've got a different level" of danger and urgency, Clough said. "It's a serious problem."
Problems with PFAS surfaced partly as a result of a 1999 lawsuit by a farmer who filmed his cattle staggering, frothing and dying in a field near a DuPont disposal site in Parkersburg, West Virginia, for PFAS then used in Teflon.
In 2005, under President George W. Bush, the EPA and DuPont settled an EPA complaint that the chemical company knew at least by the mid-1980s that the early PFAS compound posed a substantial risk to human health.
Congress has since boosted the agency's authority to regulate problematic chemicals. That includes toughening up the federal Toxic Substances Control Act and regulatory mandates for the EPA itself in 2016.
For PFAS, that should include addressing the new versions of the compounds coming into production, not just tackling old forms that companies already agreed to take offline, Goldman said.
"Otherwise it's the game of whack-a-mole," she said. "That's not what you want to do when you're protecting the public health."
Pennsylvania Drinking Water Contaminated - Recipes
Marla Lickers runs Marla's Place in Steelton. Last week she got a letter saying there were contaminants in the drinking water, FOX43 reports.
"I was drinking the water never knowing there was a problem with it so yes it was scary to me," said Lickers.
What exactly contaminated the water? Something called disinfectant byproducts. "A water treatment plant will add chlorine to the water. That Chlorine bonds with other compounds in the water and you have a disinfection byproduct," said DEP Spokesperson Amanda Witman.
That's what happened in Steelton, but Witman said the water is now safe to drink and there are no short term health risks.
"Thankfully the levels are at an acceptable level at this point. The Department has been working very closely with Steelton Water Authority to correct this issue," said Witman.
The partnership comes after the DEP slapped the Steelton Water Authority with a $55 thousand dollar fine back in 2013 for not treating the water properly and falsifying reports.
"They have stepped up their monitoring efforts for the disinfection byproducts to ensure that this does not occur again," said Witman.
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Goldsboro Residents Told Not To Drink Contaminated Well Water
The well water situation in Goldsboro, North Carolina keeps on getting lots of press. That’s probably because a lot of well owners are potentially affected by contaminants coming from a stormwater pipe that ruptured over a year ago at a retired Duke Energy plant.
Following water testing done by a professional lab, the well owners in this area are being told to NOTdrink their well water. At the same time Duke Energy is saying any elevated levels of contaminants aren’t coming from them since the ones that would come from coal or coal ash aren’t in that group.
I’m sure the well owners affected aren’t very happy after hearing all of this. It will take years of cleaning up, capping and/or disposing of, the coal and coal ash ponds in the affected plants.
We sure hope the people who live in and around these areas come out of this ‘clean’ healthwise.
I picked this article out to make a point:
Well Owners Need to “Take Control and Manage the Quality of Their Well Water” !
Most well owners will nothave have anyone else making sure their well water is safe unless there is a known breach like the one in Goldsboro. Contaminants could be seeping into their well and they wouldn’t know it.
The great majority of well owners think their water is safe because it looks clear, doesn’t smell, and tastes just fine. The problem with this is that the things that could literally be killing them are not visible, do not smell and have no taste. Some of these contaminants, like pathogenic bacteria, can be harmful in the short term. Others, like some heavy metals and volatile organic compounds, will start to affect the body several years out.
Well owners cannot stick their head in the sand because everything seems just fine. They need to think like a scientist or water testing lab director—”let’s test, so we really know if we have a problem or not.”
…we are strongly encouraged to get an annual physical, right? The doctor not only examines us for the things they can see, but they also have our blood tested for the things they cannot see. If the blood test shows something is not quite right, they can either prescribe a treatment and/or monitor its level from physical to physical.
This is the same principle we advocate for well owners. Become your own water doctor and perform an annual water ‘physical’—start now with your first one!
You can read the full article about the well water problems in Goldsboro, NC here: Goldsboro NC Well Water Contamination.
Learn more about well water testing at our site, Drinking Water Specialists.
Scientists Discover Fracking Chemicals In Pennsylvania Drinking Water
The &ldquofoaming&rdquo drinking water wells of a few rural Pennsylvania homes have been infiltrated by chemicals commonly used in fracking operations, according to new peer-reviewed research.
Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday, the research showed three homes in Bradford County with water wells containing multiple compounds similar to the mix used by drilling companies. The amount of those compounds were small, however, and did not pose a health risk, the authors said.
Still, the scientists say their findings pose a direct refutation to industry claims that fracking poses no risk to drinking water systems.
&ldquoThis is the first documented and published demonstration of toxic compounds escaping from uncased boreholes in shale gas wells and moving long distances [into drinking water]&rdquo Susan Brantley, one of the study&rsquos authors, said in comments to the Associated Press.
One of the households&rsquo water supply contained 2-Butoxyethanol (2BE), a commonly used drilling chemical that is known to cause adrenal tumors in animals (it&rsquos unknown if it causes cancer in humans). In that case, the water well was &ldquofoaming,&rdquo the study says.
How did this happen? According to the study, it was likely the result of poor practices when constructing nearby gas wells for fracking. Constructed in 2009, those gas wells lacked protective casing of steel and cement when they were drilled below approximately 1,000 feet, the study said.
The alleged result was that &ldquonatural gas and other contaminants migrated laterally through kilometers of rock at shallow to intermediate depths, impacting an aquifer used as a potable water source.&rdquo During the process of fracking, companies drill a well underground, then blast a high-pressure mix of water, sand, and chemicals into it to crack underground shale rock.
Though the chemicals discovered are commonly used in fracking, it is unclear whether those specific chemicals are actually used at the drilling sites near the three homes. That&rsquos because the drilling companies would not provide scientists with access to their specific fracking chemicals. Still, the researchers said, shale activity is &ldquothe most probable source.&rdquo
The oil and gas industry is pushing back against the study. In a response written this week by Katie Brown of the industry group Energy in Depth, she said the study had &ldquomajor research gaps,&rdquo particularly with its discovery of 2BE. That chemical is found in many other products, she said, &ldquoincluding things as common as Windex and cosmetic products.&rdquo
&ldquo2-BE can be an indicator of a lot of things, actually,&rdquo Brown writes. &ldquoAt no point do the researchers consider that the &lsquovery low concentrations of 2-BE&rsquo could be from any one of these multiple, common and commercial sources.&rdquo
She also notes that the researchers themselves admitted they could not say with 100 percent confidence that fracking itself caused the chemicals&rsquo presence &mdash just that it was the &ldquomost probable&rdquo cause.
&ldquoIt is not possible to prove unambiguously that the [chemicals] were derived from shale gas-related activities,&rdquo the study reads.
This isn&rsquot the first time, however, that Butler County residents have had concerns about nearby drilling and their drinking water. As noted by the New York Times, three Butler County homeowners sued drilling company Chesapeake Energy Corporation in 2011 over reportedly contaminated drinking well water.
It&rsquos also not the first time research has been published linking well water contamination to oil and gas operations &mdash specifically, to a poorly-constructed well. Last year, another Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences study showed that faulty casing and cementing in gas wells had contaminated drinking water in Texas and Pennsylvania.