Thank you to William Huston for this update.
The contamination in NE Pennsylvania from gas drilling is far worse than anyone knows.
The brown towns all have known sites of water contamination.
I used the following criteria:
1) At least one site with an external water tank (“water buffalo”) receiving replacement water
2) Water filtration system installed due to contamination
3) PA DEP complaint
4) PA DEP positive determination letter
All of these towns were first identified by Laura Legere, Scranton Times Tribune, in the May 19, 2013 article, “Sunday Times review of DEP drilling records reveals water damage, murky testing methods”.
One problem with the dataset is that it is heavily redacted. In almost every request, the name of the homeowner and the address were redacted. This is one reason for the per-town granularity.
Also, there are 9 towns in Bradford County, plus 7 towns in Susquehanna County where precise locations of the sites have been determined and the names of the impacted persons known, ether by myself, or one of four confidential sources I used for this report.
A word about using confidential sources:
There are many reasons why people who get water contamination prefer to be anonymous. Here are a few:
Gas industry bullies will attack you (as the Sautners were attacked by Phelim McAleer and Energy in Depth).
Your neighbors with gas-leases will ostracize you. “Why do you want to make trouble and ruin this for all of us? Just keep your mouth shut and you’ll be taken care of.”
Your home is your largest investment. If it becomes known that your town, and your property specifically, has water contamination, your home will become worthless.
I will work with bona fide journalists, and scientific investigators in identifying my sources if a promise is made to respect the privacy of the victims.
I would say I could, fairly easily, get precise locations for some sites in about 16 towns.
(9 in Bradford and 7 in Susquehanna Co.) subject to privacy concerns.
This map shocked me.
I try to be well informed of what is going on in Pennsylvania.
However: This map shocked me.
I know that some of my confidential sources who live in the Gasfields of PA and are extremely well informed, also had no idea the extent of the water contamination.
NE PA is only 2% to 20% developed.
Note Well: I am not saying the entire (brown) town has bad water.I am only saying that each brown town has at least one site of water contamination.
Each site may contain several affected homes.
Several towns have multiple sites, each with multiple homes.
It would be a huge task to get precise locations for these sites.
A large bulk came from Laura Legere’s RTK request,
which came back heavily redacted
(no precise address).
Out of these totals:
29 of 37 towns in Bradford Co. (78% of all towns in the county)
15 of 27 towns in Susquehanna Co. (56% of all towns in the county)
44 of 64 (69%) total towns in two counties with contaminated water.