New EPA Report Again Ties Wyo. Water Pollution To Fracking

On October 10, 2012, as a follow-up to its December 2011 draft report concerning allegations of groundwater contamination in Pavillion, Wyoming, the EPA released the methodology and results for additional water samples collected from two monitoring wells by the U.S. Geological Society, in cooperation with the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, in April 2012, a report that was highly criticized by industry.

The EPA announced that the results of the additional testing “are generally consistent with the monitoring data” in the draft report which indicates that the groundwater in the area contains chemicals (glycols, alcohols, and methane) linked to hydraulic fracturing.

The December 2011 draft report and this additional data are now available for public comment on the EPA website through January 15, 2013. These reports can be found here; and additional information about the comment period can be found here.

The EPA’s conclusion is being questioned by industry representatives, including Encana Corp., the operator of oil and gas wells near Pavillion. An Encana spokesman stated that the EPA has provided no sound scientific evidence that drilling has impacted domestic drinking water wells and that finding hydrocarbons in two monitoring wells is not surprising given that the wells were drilled into a gas production zone.

This article was prepared by Barclay R. Nicholson ( or 713 651 3662) from Fulbright's Energy Practice.