U.S. takes action to protect public health in TX Jan 18, 2011

Environmental Protection Agency Region 6 South Central – Top Stories.

U.S. takes action to protect public health and enforce EPA imminent and substantial endangerments order in southern Parker County

The United States Department of Justice filed a complaint today against Range Production Company and Range Resources Corporation (“Range”) in federal district court, seeking enforcement of a Dec. 7, 2010, emergency order issued by the Environmental Protection Agency against the companies. In the order, the EPA determined that Range had caused or contributed to the contamination of a drinking water aquifer in Parker County, Texas. The complaint asks the Dallas court to direct the companies to comply with portions of the order and to pay a civil penalty of up to $16,500 per day of violation.

EPA issued the order following an investigation into complaints from residents about methane contamination in their private drinking water wells. According to allegations in the complaint filed today, testing confirmed the presence of methane gas and the presence of other contaminants, including benzene, a known human carcinogen, in the well water

Residents noticed problems with their private drinking water wells soon after Range completed drilling and well stimulation operations on two natural gas wells located near the residents’ drinking water wells. During the course of conducting its investigation and while consulting with various state authorities, EPA determined that the risk of explosion warranted the issuance of an emergency order.

While Range offered to provide two affected residences alternative drinking water and installed explosivity meters in their homes after issuance of the emergency order, it has failed to comply with other requirements to conduct surveys of private and public water wells in the vicinity, to submit plans for field testing, and to submit plans to study how the methane and other contaminants may have migrated from the production wells, in addition to plans to remediate affected portions of the aquifer.

Complaint against Range Production Company (10 pp, 27 KB, About PDF)
Exhibit A to the complaint (12 pp, 2.87 MB, About PDF)