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Marcellus Water Contamination Notification Policy Disputed
A coalition of 14 environmental groups has asked Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett to reverse a Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) policy that requires field offices to advise senior DEP officials of their intent to acknowledge water contamination related to Marcellus Shale gas well operations before notification letters are sent to potentially affected homeowners.
“When contamination is discovered, it is crucial that these notices be issued without delay and be based only on scientific information,” the groups, which include Clean Water Action, Delaware Riverkeeper Network and Sierra Club, said in a letter to Corbett dated Oct. 22.
But the policy change has done nothing to delay notifications to homeowners, according to DEP spokesman Kevin Sunday.
“There has been no change or delay to our communication with homeowners whose well water may have been impacted by drilling,” Sunday told NGI‘s Shale Daily. “We provide homeowners with sample results as we get them and are in continuous communication throughout our investigations. These communications occur well in advance of any determination DEP may make so that homeowners are always aware of the quality of their water. We respond to every complaint we receive and, when warranted, conduct a full investigation.
“The results of our investigations inform our determinations and we stand firmly behind our decision to apprise senior management of what these determination letters contain. It is unreasonable to assert that DEP management should not be aware of these matters, and it would be bad management for them not to be.”
The policy change went into effect Sept. 14.
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