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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: December 2, 2014 09:55 AM
From: Senator Wayne D. Fontana
To: All Senate members
Subject: Water Testing Results by DEP
In the near future, I plan to reintroduce a bill pertaining to water testing and possible contamination in Pennsylvania due to Marcellus Shale drilling.

The first part of my legislation would require the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to provide the water test results to homeowners for all parameters that they have accurately measured using their normal procedures. It is important to note that accurately is significant here since it is common for labs to get results for many additional parameters but not always to have the proper quality control on all parameters to allow for accurate reporting.

Currently, DEP is required to test water for possible contamination due to drilling in the Marcellus Shale. As you may recall, DEP was under scrutiny in 2013 because they only revealed the results of eight possible contaminants in Washington County even though DEP tested for 24 contaminants. Many individuals feel DEP intentionally leaves out the complete set of test results. My legislation would ensure homeowners get the complete analysis of accurate information about their water supply.

The second part of my legislation would require the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to post the water test results online in an aggregate method when testing for contamination due to drilling in the Marcellus Shale. My legislation will not only make water test results more transparent across the state, but at the same time, mechanisms will be put into place so that the confidentiality of homeowners’ water supply will not be compromised. Ohio and Michigan have similar policies in place where they post test results online.

This legislation was introduced in the 2013-14 as SB 592. Included in the co sponsors were Senators Rafferty, Yudichak, Blake, Costa, McIlhinney, Tartaglione, Farnese, Brewster, Schwank, Hughes, Boscola and Wiley.

Water is essential for life and we must make sure there are standards in place to keep our water free from contamination. I believe my legislation will make the drilling industry more transparent and protect the health and safety for many generations to come and I hope you will consider joining me in co sponsoring this bill.

Introduced as SB257