UPDATED: New case of drinking water contamination in Texas

Smith Water-DISH.JPG

Updated on February 15, 2011

This post used to be entitled: "New case of drinking water contamination after hydraulic fracturing in Texas." However, since this report was posted, we've learned that the contamination has been attributed to drilling activities, not hydraulic fracturing. This does not lessen the tragedy of a contaminated aquifer, the need to compensate victims whose water has been contaminted, or the absolute necessity of regulations to prevent similar incidents in the future.

According to recent reports, an underground source of drinking water in the town of DISH, Texas, was contaminated after hydraulic fracturing of nearby natural gas wells last year. At first, the Smith family noticed that its water turned gray and was filled with sediment. There were changes in the water pressure. The Smiths installed a water filtration system, but over a year later, it was useless and clogged.

The Railroad Commission of Texas  and the Town of DISH have both taken samples of the water for testing. Testing has found arsenic at almost ten times the acceptable level for drinking water, lead at 21 times the acceptable levels, and chromium at more than double the allowable limits, as well as elevated levels of butanone, acetone, carbon disulfide, and strontium. Previous testing had already found benzene, ethylbenzene, styrene, toluene and xylene in their water, although at levels below federal limits. These toxic substances all pose very serious health risks. The Smiths are worried about the health of their children; any parent would be. Stronger regulations are needed to ensure this does not happen again. Here is a photo of the Smith's water (credit: Amber Smith):