Despite this, there are numerous incidences of water contamination due to fracking or fracking-related activity in the US, many of which are making their way through the courts. Many others have
been settled out of court with the addition of a gagging order of the plaintiff. Here are just a few of the cases that have seen the light of day – and where better to start than Dimock, Ohio, famous
for the ‘burning tap water’ images from the film Gasland?
DIMOCK, OHIO In 2009, heavy concentrations of methane contaminated the drinking water of several dozen families In Dimock, Ohio. This notorious case – which resulted in people being able to
set fire to their tap water – has become the ‘ground zero’ for water contamination lawsuits in the US, which is well documented in this
State Impact article. You can hear Dimock resident Norma Fiorentino’s story of how her drinking water well blew up in her own words
here, and read an in-depth report on this case in the Scientific American.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also stated after an long-running investigation that drilling for fracked gas caused ‘significant damage’ to aquifers in the area, as reported in
BRADFORD COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA In 2012 Chesapeake Energy paid $1.6 million in damages to three families from Wyalusing, Bradford County for contamination of their water supply, as described in this
State Impact article. This was one of the first cases
that didn’t come with a gagging order, as the plaintiffs refused to sign a confidentiality agreement. “They wanted the public to know what the settlement was about,” said the lawyer for two of the
families, Todd O’Malley.
Research published in 2015 the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences also showed evidence of a
connection between gas drilling and water contamination that occurred in Bradford County in 2010.
POTTER COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA In September 2015, Two public drinking water systems were impacted and at least five private water supplies contaminated due to ongoing pollution being caused by
a natural gas fracking operation of JKLM Energy in Potter County, Pennsylvania. Read more on the Public Herald website.
COOKING THE BOOKS A 30-month investigation by the investigative news website Public Herald in Pennsylvania showed that the Department of Environmental
Protection in Pennsylvania ‘cooked the books’ by wrongly assigning or shredding complaints about fracking and water contamination in the state. This case involved over 2,000 complaints. You can read
more about this here.
Further detailed investigations into the impact of fracking on the water supplies in Pennsylvania can be found on the Public Herald and State Impact websites.