For the first time, Pennsylvania has made public 243 cases of contamination
of private drinking wells from oil and gas drilling operations.
As the AP reports
, Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection posted details about the contamination cases online on Thursday. The cases occurred in 22 counties
, with Susquehanna, Tioga, Lycoming, and Bradford counties having the most incidences of contamination.
In some cases, one drilling operation contaminated the water of multiple wells, with water issues resulting from methane gas contamination, wastewater spills, and wells that simply went dry or undrinkable.
The move to release the contamination information comes after years of the AP and other news outlets filing lawsuits and Freedom of Information Act requests from the DEP on water issues related to oil and gas drilling and fracking.
The Pennsylvania DEP has been criticized
for its poor record of providing information on fracking-related contamination to state residents. In April, a Pennsylvania Superior Court case claimed
that due to the way DEP operates and its lack of public record, it's impossible for citizens to know about cases where private wells, groundwater and springs are contaminated by drilling and fracking.