PA Fracking Complaints are Increasing, Systemic
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) logs incoming complaints from residents about drilling activity in the Commonwealth, and Public Herald has spent a great deal of time aggregating and making that information public. A recent investigation by Public Herald into that data, with help from FracTracker, has highlighted a number of concerning issues related to fracking in Pennsylvania unfortunately.
Firstly, the data they reviewed indicate that complaints from residents about unconventional drilling (how most fracked wells are designated) are more common than those about traditional wells. Secondly, it seems that complaints about fracked wells are increasing over time, even though the number of new wells has decreased.
There may be several reasons for such trends, and Public Herald discusses some of them in their new report. Are fracking wells more likely to fail, resulting in a higher proportion of complaints from nearby residents? Or has tracking simply improved in recent years? What these trends undoubtably indicate, however, is that the impacts from drilling have been systemic, according to Drs. Ingraffea and Stolz, who also reviewed the data.
Probably the most troubling finding unearthed in this investigation is that the PA DEP was not transparent about complaint data. The information they released to Public Herald differed wildly from the spreadsheets previously obtained by other requestors. Learn more about this and other issues in Public Herald’s Hidden Data Report.
Digging into the Data
Below we have included a map showing where those complaints originated, as well as a table that parses out the data by county.
Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Complaint Map
View map fullscreen | How FracTracker maps work
The above map by Public Herald and FracTracker Alliance shows the density of citizen complaints reported to the Department of Environmental Protection from 2004 – 2016. It includes conventional and unconventional well complaints. Clicking on a township reveals a database of complaints where viewers can download files.
In addition to the report issued by Public Herald, you can explore the data mapped above in the table below. It fleshes out how many complaints have been issued by residents, where these complaints originated, and how many are specific to water issues.
Table 1. PA Unconventional Well Complaint Statistics Logged by the PA DEP
|DEP Office||County||Total Complaints (#)||Water Complaints (#)||Municipalities w/Complaints (#)||Drilled Unconventional Wells, Jan 2004 – Nov 29 2016|
SWRO = Southwest Regional Office; NWRO = Northwest Regional Office; NCRO (ERO) = North Central/Eastern Regional Office. Find your office here.
On or around Oct. 2015, Mallard K1 gas well was fracked, we noticed that our water filter went from changing every 3 months to on month and then as time went on every two weeks and by Jan 2016 every 3 hours, we had notified DEP and Cabot of the major change in our water,Cabot sent out a company represent them,Moody and DEP sent out their guy. On Jan.27, 2016 DEP took samples and Cabot called to let us know Moody would be there that day,Cabot told me that they were putting down a well that was not near us as the source of pollution, i disagreed for many reasons and he insisted, not knowing anything about the dishonest ways of Cabot ,we continued and DEP put down the same false well.There were no issues with the water until the Mallard well was put in,it is drilled under us and when it was fracked it shook the house.we were told the water was safe to drink, i was sceptical so i put in another filter system and we drank the water for the remaining year of 2016. On Feb.22 2017 DEP took more samples and Moody on Feb.27, 2017 more water samples were taken Moody tried twisting our words. Clearly working for Cabot.My wife ,daughter and myself developed health issues that doctors were uncertain of why.All this time our water filters were black sludge ,Cabot denies all doing and has DEP in their pocket, a letter of no impact was issued on both times of taking samples.By all law and amended laws ,Cabot is assumed the cause and they are to provide drinking water and fix the problem,we have Addendum’s in our lease that says the same they have violated all, We need clean water. Now things around here have had issues people were harassing us to sell our house, i had people stopping to look at our house, It’s not for sale,finally i talked to one of them and end conversation was Cabot wants to put a gas well next to us because under us is one of the deepest pockets of Marrcellus in the world.They continue to pollute the water for money and have ignored all laws,I have contacted EPA and many others, however the greed and corruption is over riding the very people that are to protect us, two other wells that i know of were contaminated and paid off to shut up. Thank you and any insight or influence you could do or point to me would be a help. We are located in Forest lake twp. Montrose,PA 18801
Thank you for your educational/research efforts. I find items of great interest in each of your email updates. I’ll send more money when I can.