Oklahoma’s eight counties represented over one third of the 23 counties with over 50 EPA drinking water violations studied from the last 36 years (starting in late 1980 ending through July 3 in 2017) per the US 24/7 Wall St. report. http://247wallst.com/special-report/2017/08/29/counties-with-the-most-contaminated-water/2/.
Of note there were three Texas counties in the top 23:
Andrews-top fourth (flouride, arsenic),
Midland-top tenth (fluoride, arsenic, selenium, among others), &
Wilbarger-top sixteenth (nitrates).
While arsenic is naturally occurring, it can be associated with O&G extraction….
and Arsenic can also be activated by water draw down, & ground shaking (aka the fracking connection)….
It is no wonder that…577 cases of TX groundwater contamination in 2016 were Oil & Gas related,
Here is the abbreviated cut & paste of items of interest I selected from the 24/7 Wall St listings of
23 Counties With the Most Contaminated Water
…..(and YES many were TTHM total trihalomethanes – disinfection/chlorine poisoning that I have been warning about Arlington TX’s drinking water). Note I left off notes about poverty levels that strongly suggest the poor suffer the worst effects of exposures to water and air pollution.
23. Dona Ana County, New Mexico – Most recent violation: November 20, 2008 “…all 52 of its water quality violations of the last four decades in the period between August 2005 and November 2008. Nearly all of the violations were due to levels of uranium…One source of the contaminant may be the NASA White Sands Test Facility, where uranium was historically used in missile tests. Uranium also occurs naturally in many parts of Dona Ana County”.
22. Grady County, Oklahoma – Most recent violation: March 24, 2017 “Over the past three years, the EPA issued 47 water quality violations…The violations were mostly due to excessive levels of TTHM — dibromochloromethane, bromoform, chloroform, and bromodichloromethane — in the water. As a result, Chickasha switched the disinfectant it uses for purifying the water supply from chlorine to chloramines, which are less likely to produce TTHMs. At high concentrations, TTHM can increase the risk of cancer and cause damage to the heart, lungs, kidney, liver, and central nervous system”.
21. Rio Arriba County, New Mexico – Most recent violation: March 24, 2017 “…40 violations …due to excessive levels of various radioactive elements between 2009 and 2011. In addition to several naturally occurring radioactive deposits….the area was the site of Project Gasbuggy, an underground nuclear detonation carried out by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission in December 1967. … has also been issued violations for arsenic, which is also naturally occurring and can lead to an increased risk of cancer and skin disease with long-term exposure”.
20. Custer County, Oklahoma – Most recent violation: August 27, 2012 “Of the 53 contamination violations issued to the Weatherford water system, 43 were due to excessive levels of arsenic… arsenic is a naturally occurring element, it is also possible that Oklahoma’s historical smelters may have contributed to the prevalence of arsenic in the soil…” NOTE also similar contamination problems in Custer, Cleveland, & Canadian counties in Oklahoma.
19. San Juan, Puerto Rico – Most recent violation: June 1, 2017 “…16 consecutive violations of excessive coliform from 2000 to 2011. Including coliform…18 violations for total trihalomethanes and 13 violations for total haloacetic acids — byproducts of the water disinfection process. There are five haloacetic acids that can cause damage to the nervous system and liver if consumed in excess. Total trihalomethanes are similar to haloacetic acids, and can increase the risk of cancer and certain birth defects with long-term exposure”.
18. Bergen County, New Jersey – Most recent violation: February 23, 2011 “…56 water quality violations since 2002 — 45 of which were for excessive levels of arsenic. While arsenic is a naturally occurring element found in rocks that erode over time and enter the soil and water, consuming too much of it can put people at risk for diseases such as skin, lung, bladder, and kidney cancer”.
17. San Bernardino County, California – Most recent violation: August 17, 2016 “…60 water quality violations …over the past decade…. EPA discovered in 1980 that the toxic solvents the Army used to clean weapons and trucks during World War II at the now defunct Camp Ono have since led to the contamination of more than 25% of the City of San Bernardino’s water supply”.
16. Wilbarger County, Texas – Most recent violation: December 18, 2014 “Since 1982,… 60 violations due to excessive levels of nitrates …can cause methemoglobinemia, a condition that results in decreased oxygen carrying capacity of haemoglobin in babies, and can lead to death…. continues take in dangerous levels of nitrates through both fertilizer runoff and naturally occurring sources”.
15. Carter County, Oklahoma – Most recent violation: May 19, 2017 “…61 water quality violations since 1996…total trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids, which are byproducts of the drinking water disinfection process…also issued several violations for the presence of coliform bacteria, including E. coli.”
14. Rogers County, Oklahoma – Most recent violation: May 19, 2017 “…65 water quality violations since 1989…more than nearly any other U.S. municipal water system. In the past several years, all of the violations the district received have been for high levels of trihalomethanes…”
13. Pittsburg County, Oklahoma – Most recent violation: May 18, 2016 “…66 water quality violations over the past three decades, among the most of any public water system in the United States. Most of the violations were for concentrations of total trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids…”
12. Juncos Municipio, Puerto Rico – Most recent violation: February 28, 2017 “The Gurabo River is the dumping site for at least one major industrial corporation, Amgen Manufacturing Limited, which is permitted to discharge small amounts of contaminants such as coliform, lead, and selenium at a wastewater treatment plant along the river. Since the subsidiary of biotech giant Amgen was founded in Juncos in 1991, the Ceiba Sur water system received 50 violations for coliform bacteria”.
11. Santa Clara County, California – Most recent violation: January 6, 1994 “While the City of Morgan Hill water system has not received a water quality violation since 1994, many private wells in the Santa Clara Valley still have dangerous levels of nitrate…the water district provides rebates to private well users who purchase nitrate treatment systems”.
10. Midland County, Texas – Most recent violation: January 4, 2017 “Since 2009,…70 water quality violations for excess levels of fluoride, arsenic, selenium, and other contaminants. The district received 13 violations for arsenic, a carcinogen that can cause nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain in the short term and increase the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and neurological problems in the long term. One factor contributing to pollution in the area may have been a chemical leak from the oilfield services company Baker Hughes in the region in the 1990s that is still in the process of being remediated”.
9. Gurabo Municipio, Puerto Rico – Most recent violation: June 1, 2017 “…one of two municipalities along the Gurabo River where the public water system was cited for more than 65 violations since 1991. The Gurabo Urbano water system received 54 violations for high levels of coliform from 1991 to 2005. Consumption of coliform may cause gastrointestinal illnesses, fever, and flu-like symptoms”.
8. Jackson County, Oklahoma – Most recent violation: March 24, 2017 “…84 water quality violations since 1987, mostly for high levels of trihalomethanes…One main site of contamination in the district is the Altus Air Force Base, which tested positive for high levels of trihalomethanes in early 2015. …Altus completed a new facility in April 2016 and has not received a violation since March 2017”.
7. Okmulgee County, Oklahoma – Most recent violation: June 30, 2017 “… most of the violations issued to the Okmulgee water system can be traced back to the water system itself. Of the 89 water quality violations the EPA issued to Okmulgee since 1991, 87 were for total trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids…”
6. Kings County, California – Most recent violation: February 16, 2015 “In addition to the 109 water quality violations the City of Hanford water district has received for arsenic and coliform over the last four decades, Hanford has some of the worst air pollution of any U.S. city”.
5. St. Francois County, Missouri – Most recent violation: February 29, 2016 “…whopping 118 violations to the Farmington water system, 98 of which were for various kinds of radionuclides. Radionuclides occur naturally in soil as a result of radioactive decay… may be traces of the alpha variety in St. Francois County’s water supply”.
4. Andrews County, Texas – Most recent violation: January 4, 2017 “…132 water violations from the EPA since 1982, the fourth most of any municipal water system. All of these violations are for having excess fluoride and arsenic in the water supply, except for one incident of excess coliform in 1991”.
3. Stephens County, Oklahoma – Most recent violation: May 19, 2017 “Stephens County is one of many rural areas in the United States where a large oilfield service provider has left a legacy of pollution and contamination. The Halliburton Company, which the government contracted to clean rocket fuel from 1965 to 1991, admitted in 1988 that ammonium perchlorate seeped into the area’s groundwater. While Halliburton helped connect the affected homes to the Duncan municipal water supply, the Duncan Public Utilities Authority also has issues with contamination, having received 144 water quality violations since 1984. The most common violation is for high levels of trihalomethanes,…”
2. Waukesha County, Wisconsin – Most recent violation: May 18, 2017 “…183 water quality violations in the past four decades, the second most of any public water system in the United States and its territories. The violations were all for excessive levels of various radionuclides such as radium and alpha emitters. Waukesha County is located within Wisconsin’s “radium belt,” a series of communities in the eastern part of the state where groundwater radium levels are as much as triple the EPA’s limit of 5 pCi/L. Radium, which occurs naturally in bedrock throughout the region, has continued to seep into public water systems as they drill deeper to meet growing water demands….Waukesha has recently placed a bid to start sourcing its water from nearby Lake Michigan”.
1. Cumberland County, North Carolina – Most recent violation: May 18, 2009 “…high levels of radium are present along the state’s fall line, the geological contact between the hard, erosion-resistant rocks of the Piedmont region and the sedimentary rock of the Coastal Plain… issued 214 violations from the EPA for excessive radium in the water supply between 2006 and 2009…Brookwood has not been issued a water quality violation since May 2009”.
——–end 24/7Wall St report——–
Besides Arsenic being natural but disturbed by man, there are the manmade toxins made during disinfecting source water. I focus on Trihalomethanes that form in the presence of chlorine.
Contrast for example how Total Trihalomethanes that 24/7Wall St identified that violated the MINIMUM “enforceable” EPA Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 80 ppb with the VAST VIOLATORS identified by The Environmental Working Group (EWG) using the LOWER threshold health guideline of 0.8 ppb as defined by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment as a draft public health goal. This is the level of drinking water contaminant that does not pose a significant health risk. This health guideline protects against cancer.
Here is the link to Arlington TX Gasland’s (EWG’s) TTHM “fail” report, https://www.ewg.org/tapwater/system-contaminant.php?pws=TX2200001&contamcode=2950#
“Trihalomethanes aren’t found in drilling wastewater, but there can be a link. The waste stream often contains bromide, a salt, which reacts with chlorine disinfectants used by drinking water systems to kill microbes. That interaction creates trihalomethanes.
And then there are those MICROBES resistant to chlorine. Microbes are a feared staple of the Oil & Gas industry as they try to control mother nature’s proliferation when man interferes with the earth’s natural balance in grabbing her hydrocarbons.