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Winter 2008 Issue of the Finger Lake Sierran

Marcellus Shale Formation—Are You Being "Fracked"?

by Gene Stolfi, Finger Lakes Group ExComm

Twenty-percent of the freshwater in the world is located in North America. River valleys between eastern mountain ranges charge the aquifers that provide drinking water to the eastern portion of the USA.

The recent interest in this formation, and the "fracking" process where river water and chemicals are injected at high pressure into this formation to separate the layers of shale, is a potential threat to these aquifers.

It is natural for land owners to want to receive gas money; and society needs fuel to continue our lifestyle. Gas companies are focused on getting gas.

The only hope we have to ensure that the "most precious resource," our water supply, is safe is state and federal government agencies.

These agencies must focus on preserving this supply by recording baseline studies documenting contaminants in the aquifers. Many small towns and cities do this already, so the database is already started.

This data must be monitored and added to so any changes in contamination can be detected early and hopefully corrected -remember mat groundwa-ter moves very slowly, but continually, into these underground rivers.

In the absence of government protection, the last resort may be the legal system.

Homeowners near areas that are being developed and who rely on well water to drink may want to have their water tested by reliable lab similar to tests towns do to document water contaminants. Early test results compared to later test results after your well is contaminated will help your chances in the hands of your attorney to compensate you.