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Pennsylvania Families File Lawsuit Over Hydro Fracking Water Contamination

  • Written by: Staff Writers
  • 3 Comments

An environmental tort lawsuit has been filed against a Texas energy company by more than a dozen Pennsylvania families who claim the company contaminated their water supply by pumping tons of chemicals into the ground to get at natural gas deposits, a process known as hydraulic fracturing or hydro fracking.  

The complaint was filed on Tuesday in the Court of Common Pleases of Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, on behalf of 13 families who live in the county. Southwest Energy Production Company, and its parent company, Southwestern Energy Company, which are both based in Houston, Texas, are named as defendants.

According to the lawsuit, Southwest Energy Production Company has contaminated water supplies by using a gas mining method known as hydraulic fracturing in the Price #1 Well in Lenox Township. The mining has resulted in chemicals loaded with heavy metals and carcinogens infiltrating the ground water and residents’ well water, the lawsuit claims.

Hydro fracking is a controversial process used by energy companies to extract hard-to-reach pockets of natural gas, usually in coalbeds. A soup of chemicals and water are injected into the ground at high pressure, causing the bedrock that is trapping the gas to fracture and providing access to the gas. The fluid is then pumped back out. Environmental groups and residents who live around hydraulic fracturing wells have long claimed that it causes groundwater contamination, which can result in chemicals in families’ drinking water. However, energy companies have maintained that the process is safe.

The lawsuit filed in Susquehanna claims that at least one person has gotten ill and suffered what appears to be neurological damage consistent with exposure to toxic chemicals. Some residents have also attempted to show that their well water is being contaminated by gas and other pollutants from the well by lighting their tap water on fire in YouTube videos.

The lawsuit claims that the hydraulic fracturing operation, which began in 2008, uses a mix of chemicals that includes diesel fuel, lubricating materials and chemicals that contain barium, manganese and strontium. It also claims that the plaintiffs have had to turn to other drinking water sources for their safety.

Plaintiffs claim to have lost property value, enjoyment of their property and quality of life. The plaintiffs are seeking a preliminary and permanent injunction to stop drilling operations, in addition to compensatory damages, punitive damages and seek to have the company pay for their future health monitoring.

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3 comments

  1. J Harvey Reply

    On Saturday, 9/25/’10, we discovered that yellow pipes have been installed next to the Susq. River, behind the Valero Gas Station at the N.Bound exit off I-81 in Great Bend. 150 to 200 tanker trucks per DAY pump and take water OUT of our local Susquehanna River! It is OUR public water, yet the gas co.’s are using it for fracking. The private land owner has given the gas co. permission to do this. G. Bend has NO zoning, so we can do nothing about it, we are told. NOT FAIR! Public’s water being used for private profits!!!! HELP!

  2. shirley Reply

    Almost 1000 residents have cancer, in Powell County…we had a cresote company shut down, what would be the chances, that fracking was used when drilling and the contaments got in the water supply??

  3. Ed Reply

    Natural Gas for millions of years has found its way to the surface. I was in Texas some years back and watched trucks with flames pointed towards the ground to light such Natural Gas seepage. For as long as we have been able to drill for water wells people have been able to light their tap water on fire. Also there are some hundreds of known chemicals in normal everyday tap water as well a s water wells, The Standards for a contaminated well is anything above 25 parts per million. Unethical enviromentalist go around drill sites and test wells and show that contaminates are in the peoples water causing so many people to believe a fraud scheme as to further their enviromental cause of anti Carbon base fuels. meanwhile they travel the country in Lear Jets drive 4x4s to reach those homes to test wells. They are hiprocrats and do more harm then good. Can any well get contaminated, 15,000 law suits nation wide says no. However some drilling companies cave to small claims and settle out of court, but that only opens up larger claims for no reason.

  4. Mary Ann Reply

    Regarding MEDICAL MONITORING … should you need such a thing … make SURE you know everything about this process/aspect BEFORE agreeing to any one section of it!!! Our medical monitoring was a FARCE!!! AND we had NO CHOICE – NO OPTION but to agree to it. Don’t let that happen to YOU!!!!! DO NOT LET ANY LAWYER FORCE YOU TO SETTLE OOC for ANY REASON whatsoever. BTDT. You should be able to CHOOSE your own MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS WHEREVER THEY ARE LOCATED. We did not have that opportunity. MEDICAL MONITORING for us – FARCE – we had to pay for illness/cure/death BEFORE submitting ANY medical DX -DEATH – ETC before the medical monitoring would kick in. THANK GOD ALMIGHTY I did not need nor desire such balogney …..

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