Tom Morton, KTWO Radio
More than a decade of research has determined that oil and gas development did not pollute water wells near the town of Pavillion, according to a report issued by the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality on Monday.
“We just have not been able to find [contaminants] in those domestic wells that would be connected to hydraulic fracturing,” DEQ spokesman Keith Guille said Monday.
Residents with water wells east of Pavillion began raising concerns about contamination in 2008, Guille said. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency investigated the concerns and reported in 2011 that hydraulic fracturing — using high pressured water and chemicals to dislodge minerals — could be polluting the wells.
The new report, building on prior research, disputes that.
An unpublished report by the DEQ in 2016 did not find unsafe levels of about 20 different contaminants, Guille said, adding that researchers wondered how much lower detection measurements they would need go to find them.
The DEQ sampled water after the irrigation season in 2017 and before the irrigation season in 2018, he said. “That’s why it’s taken a bit longer; we wanted to collect some more data.”