Initial testing by federal regulators has found no dangerous contamination related to oil and gas drilling in water samples from Dimock, Pennsylvania, where residents and activists have claimed hydraulic fracturing contaminated drinking water, according to Upstreamonline.com.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the initial findings from 11 water wells in Dimock late on Thursday, saying the lab determined that water from all 11 homes was safe to drink.
Of the 11 samples, six of them showed levels of sodium, methane, chromium or bacteria and two showed levels of arsenic, but all water samples fell within safe drinking water standards, the EPA said in a statement.
The agency plans to test water from 60 homes and will continue to deliver drinking water while awaiting the results of all those tests.
“Our actions will continue to be based on the science and the law as we work to help get a clear picture of water quality for these homes in Dimock,” the EPA said.
The EPA announced earlier this year that it would re-test water in Dimock, one of the most prolific areas of the Marcellus Shale in north-east Pennsylvania, and would provide alternative water sources for some residents after state regulators declared the water safe to drink.
After the state gave the wells its stamp of approval, US independent Cabot Oil & Gas stopped delivering water to the residents, who complained of strange tastes, odours, and colours in their water as well as health problems.
The move angered both the state and industry players who saw it as the federal government overstepping its regulatory authority.
Cabot cheered the findings on Thursday as proof that initial state tests were accurate.
“We are pleased that data released by EPA today on sampling of water in Dimock confirmed earlier findings that Dimock drinking water meets all regulatory standards,” the company said in a statement.
“We hope that lessons learned from EPA’s experience in Dimock will result in the agency improving co-operation with all stake holders and to establish a firmer basis for agency decision making in the future.”