The CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ADSRD) has weighed in on a three year history of drinking water contamination in Medina, OH. They recommended that immediate action be taken to avoid explosion in homes. The problems developed within a week of two gas wells being drilled within 3000 feet of the homes with contaminated drinking water.
The full text of ADSDR’s 12/22/11 letter to the USEPA Region 5 is here: cdc-atsdr to epa letter–medina OH–12-11 I believe this is the first full text publication. Short quotes of this letter were previously published in Ohio newspapers. The ATSDR/CDC was unwilling to release full text.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) 2009 response to the home owners’ complaints is here: –ODNR letters to mangans—Public Record Request re Mangan Water Well
Implicit in the ATSDR letter is a catalogue of the errors by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The ODNR permitted this hazard to exist for over three years; did not tested for methane; did not retest for other pollutants in spite of continued complaints; has still not investigated nearby homes for contamination; and inappropriately dismissed the link to the gas drilling which occurred days before the homeowners reported a sudden onset of fouled water.
The ATSDR points out that it is a “public health hazard” for there to be explosive levels of natural gas in homes. In other words, flaming faucets are not just an interesting visual effect. They represent a source of gas that can blow up your house. ATSDR recommended that effected homeowners vent the room (i.e. open the window) while taking a shower to avoid explosion.
The ATSDR says that they do not have enough data to be sure of the source of explosive levels of methane that can be seen entering the “bore hole of the drinking water well”. But their “Conclusions” make it clear that they are open to the gas wells drilled in 2008 as the ongoing source. This also contradicts the ODNR’s dismissal of this option.
Recently, there has been increased research by the USEPA and CDC into the public health problems caused by gas drilling, bringing new data and understanding of public health risk in Texas, PA, Wyoming, and now OH. This new understanding has led CDC and US EPA to critically analyze how these states’ officials responsible for gas drilling have failed to protect public health.