Two more cases of drinking water contamination linked to fracking

Michael and Nancy Leighton of Granville Summit, Pennsylvania, report that tests of their drinking water found clean and safe water in May, 2011, before fracking occurred near their home, but that water testing conducted in May, 2012--after nearby fracking--found substantial increases in the levels of methane, ethane, propane, iron and manganese in their groundwater. They report that their water "drastically changed in clarity and color, had a foul odor, contained noticeable levels of natural gas," and had "become flammable." In addition, they report that the creek on their property began bubbling at the surface. 

In the fall of 2012, Howard and Nielle Hawkwood, ranchers near  Cochrane, Canada, lost ten percent of their cattle herd (18 cattle) after fracking near their ranch. Their veterinarian found the cattle had an electrolyte imbalance, but couldn’t treat it.  They also noticed an “off taste” in their drinking water and had the water tested. Compared to previous years, the chloride levels had doubled. Mr. Hawkwood reports that he has also checked the water of all of his neighbors, and says, “Everybody’s got the same problem.” In addition to their water contamination, the Hawkwoods also report severe air pollution, health problems, and damage to their barn and other property due to underground vibrations.

I'll be adding these incidents to the list of other incidents where hydraulic fracturing is a suspected cause of drinking water contamination.

These incidents--and the many other reports of the health and environmental risks related to fracking--are why NRDC is working to keep people safe from the perils of fracking, including fighting for federal regulation of fracking, protecting the rights of communities to put safeguards in place, and moving America beyond fossil fuels as rapidly as possible. 

About the Authors

Amy Mall

Senior Policy Analyst, Land & Wildlife program

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