Appalachian Basin

Pennsylvania Resident Takes The Digest To Task on Coverage

Recently it came to our attention that a recent Readers Digest feature entitled “how safe is our water really” irked some residents of Pennsylvania.  So much so in fact they were compelled to write the Digest to correct the record.  Below find their letter (we have added the links). Also, miles from any natural gas production (approximately 20 miles) they can do neat tricks with their water faucet too. So without further ado, read on. And of course thanks to Pat and Paul for sharing.  

Dear Readers Digest,

 I have been a loyal reader and subscriber to Readers Digest for over 40 years.  I want to correct some erroneous information presented by Tom Gower in his article “Our Water Was Bubbling and Spurting Like AlkaSeltzer”.

 Victoria Switzer is a fairly new resident of Susquehanna County, and may not be aware of the many residents who have experienced similar issues with their water wells, long before drilling for gas arrived in the area.  The residents of Dimock whose wells were allegedly affected by the drilling, may have had issues prior to the drilling, or those issues may have occurred even without drilling, as was the case with our water problems, which are detailed below.  We also live in Susquehanna County about 20 miles Northeast of Dimock.  There is no gas drilling near us, nor are there any stone quarries doing blasting in the area.

 Unfortunately, Cabot did not test the wells for the presence of methane before drilling commenced.  It only tested for TDS (total dissolved solids) and other typical elements.  Pennsylvania laws state that if any issues arise with water wells in an area where oil or gas drilling is being conducted are presumed to be caused by the drilling whether they actually are or not.  Thus, Cabot’s response in rectifying the problems for the majority of the allegedly affected residents.  The small minority of seventeen or eighteen families, who have refused corrective actions, are obviously hoping for a financial windfall from their law suit.

 Based on research by the EPA, the risk of hydraulic fracturing contaminating water supplies is very, very small.  Fracing is done a mile below ground (over 5,000 feet), while the water aquifers do not extend below 1,000 feet.  Additionally, all of the chemicals constituents of fracing fluid used in Pennsylvania by gas companies are being provided to the PA Department of Environmental Protection and many companies are even publishing the lists.  The statement that they are unknown is definitely not true.  There are fewer chemicals in 1,000 gallons of frac fluid than there are in most households’ collection of cleaning products.

Tom Gower did not thoroughly investigate the facts in this article.  If he had, he would have written a very different story than the one published.  It appears the editorial staff was merely trying to push an agenda and sensationalize an issue that may have little basis in reality.

 In the future, I would hope that Reader’s Digest provides a more accurate view of controversial subjects.  I will be reading your magazine articles with a more jaundiced eye from now on.


Patricia M. Propert


Post A Comment