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
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 ohio.com.
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.