Fracking is in the news again for controversial reasons. This time, the drama is set in the small, rural Pennsylvania town of Dimock.
After a second round of water testing following widespread local complaints of cloudy or foul-smelling water, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) terminated clean water deliveries to four homes and declared no contamination was present.
The EPA had been delivering water to these four homes since January after there was suggestion that levels of contaminants might be too high.
“The sampling and an evaluation of the particular circumstances at each home did not indicate levels of contaminants that would give EPA reason to take further action,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn Garvin.
Despite one of the wells revealing higher-than-advisable levels of manganese, which is suspected to cause neurological complications in high quantities, the EPA found that localized water treatment resolved the issue.
Dimock is mainly known for being the epicenter of the debate over fracking in Josh Fox’s 2010 documentary, Gasland.
Since 2009, when Cabot Oil & Gas (NYSE: COG) began fracking operations in Dimock, locals have made consistent complaints over their water quality.
Although fracking has become a highly contentious topic, studies on both sides leave any observer at a loss.
Champions of fracking present compelling evidence demonstrating no, or negligible, correlation between the highly pressurized drilling process and environmental problems caused by it.
On the other hand, critics present equally compelling arguments indicting fracking as the culprit behind elevated localized radiation levels, aberrant seismic behavior, and increased risks of drinking water contamination.
Overall, the EPA tested around 61 households in the area and did not find anything worth raising concern over. Although there were some spots of higher concentrations of methane, chromium, arsenic, and other materials, the EPA stated that these were within acceptable limits.