As WPX Energy contractors place efforts to drill into the Marcellus Shale and extract natural gas from the land in Franklin Township, they are also placing efforts on restoring drinking water. The company has arranged to provide landowners in the township with a bulk water tank filled with replacement drinking water.
When three homeowners in the townships began to notice gray and black discoloration in their water, they knew there was a serious problem and contacted the Department of Environmental Protection. The water was tested for water contamination. All three samples contained elevated amounts of methane and two contained barium at twice the federal drinking water limits. The DEP has not determined the cause of the elevated methane.
The wells placed in the township for drilling were not tested prior to drilling, making comparisons between past and current water quality very difficult.
State regulators called WPX to provide help to the families that were affected by the water contamination. WPX then took gas samples at three water wells to perform an analysis on the level of methane. This data will be shared with the state as part of the investigation.
Right now, there is no information about what kind of methane it is and where it is coming from. In other areas where the Marcellus is “booming,” there are similar water contamination issues.