Pennsylvania Omitted Poison Data in Water Report – NYTimes.com
PHILADELPHIA — Pennsylvania officials reported incomplete test results that omitted data on some toxic metals that were found in drinking water taken from a private well near a natural gas drilling site, according to legal documents released this week.
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Keith Srakocic/Associated Press
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in 2002 in Claysville, Pa., at a Range Resources drilling site in the Marcellus Shale, a formation rich in natural gas.
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The documents were part of a lawsuit claiming that natural gas extraction through a method known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and storage of the resulting wastewater at a site in southwestern Pennsylvania has contaminated drinking water and sickened seven plaintiffs who live nearby.
In a deposition, a scientist for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection testified that her laboratory tested for a range of metals but reported results for only some of them because the department’s oil and gas division had not requested results from the full range of tests.
The scientist, Taru Upadhyay, the technical director of the department’s Bureau of Laboratories, said the metals found in the water sample but not reported to either the oil and gas division or to the homeowner who requested the tests, included copper, nickel, zinc and titanium, all of which may damage the health of people exposed to them, according to the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
Ms. Upadhyay said that the bureau did not arbitrarily decide to withhold those results. “It was not requested by our client for that particular test, so we did — it is not on our final report,” she said in a deposition on Sept. 26.