Water Contamination and Fracking in Wyoming

Tonight’s CBS Evening News included a story on fracking in Pavillion, Wyoming that can be found here.

The NPR story on the subject can be found here. An excerpt:

People in Pavillion, located on the Wind River Indian Reservation, contacted the EPA three years ago, complaining that their water smelled and tasted bad.

The agency started sampling drinking water wells in 2009 and found low levels of methane and other hydrocarbons in most of those wells. Although the levels did not exceed drinking water standards in most cases, the agency recommended that people get other sources of water for drinking and cooking, Encana, the company which drilled the wells, started providing water. The company says it provides drinking water to 21 households at a cost of about $1,500 per month.

The agency was concerned that higher concentrations of some of the chemicals might be lurking elsewhere in the aquifer.

So EPA researchers drilled two wells and found lots of chemicals, which could be tied to drilling. For example, they found levels of benzene, which is known to cause cancer and other health effects, far higher than safe drinking water standards. The presence of other chemicals — like synthetic glycols and alcohols — persuaded them that the contamination was likely coming from fracking.

Finally, a recent post about fracking can be found here.

Ellen Kohler on Water Management in Michigan

Ellen Kohler has published “Ripples in the water: judicial, executive, and legislative developments impacting water management in Michigan” as the lead article in Volume 53 of the Wayne Law Review.

Here is the introduction to this interesting paper:

Michigan is defined by water. The two peninsulas touch four of the five Great Lakes, creating 3,300 miles of Great Lakes shoreline. We enjoy 35,000 inland lakes and ponds, and 34,000 miles of rivers. Michiganders are very aware of our surface waters-we swim, fish, and boat in them. We see them on our maps of the state.

The water underground is more of an afterthought. Most of us don’t know how far underground the water is, where it is, or how it moves. Yet, groundwater is essential for our public health, safety, and welfare.

Continue reading