Controversy Continues Over PA DEP Water Testing Near Frack Sites

In November, MDN told you about a new controversy that began when PA State Rep. Jesse White (Democrat from the Pittsburgh area) claimed the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection was knowingly covering up water well testing data that may “prove” fracking activities in some cases are contaminating groundwater supplies (see PA DEP Accused of Skewing Water Tests from Wells Near Drilling). The DEP immediately responded that White and those claiming there’s a cover-up are wrong. The Marcellus Shale Coalition also jumped into the debate to shine a light on White’s anti-drilling tendencies (see MSC Responds to Allegations PA DEP Skews Drilling Water Tests). It does appear White has an ongoing blood feud with Range Resources, but in fairness, he contacted MDN to assert he is not anti-drilling.

The latest round in this controversy comes from an article that appears in the Beaver County Times on Tuesday. The article is perhaps the best we’ve seen that outlines what the controversy involves (although the article tends to the anti- side). In brief, it’s all about “Suite Codes” and whether or not the DEP intentionally did not order the appropriate tests in some cases of suspected water contamination—and in other cases did not report back full results from tests done. There are three Suite Codes potentially used by the DEP when ordering and reporting on water testing, as described in the article:

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