Highwater Marks

It's about time the EPA looks into how natural gas fracking is affecting the drinking water of people living near the over 10,000 natural gas drilling sites in the U.S. The EPA announced last week that they will study the impact of using massive quantities of water on the local environment, contaminant spills at drilling sites, and contamination of drinking water from the fracking process. Initial results will be available in 2012, but the study will not be complete until 2014. In the meantime, shouldn't fracking be put on hold? I think so. Read more here. If you are worried about your drinking water being contaminated, you should get your tap water tested at a lab. The money you spend will be worth it so you know if your water is safe. You can contact your local municipality to get the results of their most recent tests, but understand that they don't test for all contaminants.   If your water is contaminated, there are water treatments that can make your water safe. Check out Highwater Filters for our new lower prices on home filter housings and a variety of home water treatments for your particular needs.
Wow, I must have been too busy last week to notice the email I received from American Rivers that announced the "Most Endangered Rivers of 2011." I received another email today urging me to take action to help protect our rivers. I was shocked to see that the Susquehanna River that flows through New York State, Pennsylvania, and Maryland was rated #1 for 2011. But with the threats to water throughout the Marcellus Shale formation from natural gas extracting, it really shouldn't be that big of a surprise. The Susquehanna River is no stranger to me. I have lived near its shores in both Plattsburgh, NY and Binghamton, NY, back in the late 70's to mid 80's. But of a greater concern is that my folks live on the Isle of Que in Selinsgrove, PA. They moved there 30 years ago. It lies just off shore in the Susquehanna River. In addition, I have a sister who lives with her family on the Isle of Que and my younger brother and his family live in Selinsgrove, too. So this hits home for me. As I stated in my previous blog post on Hydro-fracking, this method of energy production comes with considerable costs. It wastes and contaminates large amounts of water, and numerous cases of leaks and ground water contamination illustrate the risks to environment and the health of people living in the vicinity of extraction sites. That the gas companies use the mask of "proprietary information" to preclude themselves from disclosing the chemicals that are used in the fracking process is disconcerting, at the very best. A glimmer of hope may be on the horizon as the Wall Street Journal reported in today's edition that: "On Wednesday, shareholders at three gas producers, including Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp., will vote on whether the companies should provide more information about the risk of air and water pollution, lawsuits and possible harm to their reputations from an increasingly widespread drilling practice." I unfortunately couldn't access the entire article because I am not a subscriber but if you subscribe, you can read more here. As the truth becomes more apparent to the risks of hydro-fracking and the eventual costs to stockholders is considered, we can only hope that the voices of reason will be able to help stockholders realize that the risks, and expense, outweigh the benefits they may be currently enjoying. We can only hope.
Hydraulic fracturing is the new oil boom. This controversial process to extract natural gas from deep below the earth’s surface has been expanding at breakneck speed, almost as if gas companies are racing against an invisible clock. Perhaps they are concerned that their dirty little secrets are becoming big daily news reports, and the dirt is piling up. Take the recent nightmare that a young mom from Granville Summit, PA is experiencing. 29-year-old Crystal Stroud wasn’t fazed by the change in color or odor of her family’s tap water shortly after a gas company set up a natural gas drilling rig near her home. She naively believed  the company's claims that fracking was safe and that ground water contamination wasn’t a risk. But when her hair started to fall out and she became very ill, she soon regretted her decision to drink from the tap. She sent water samples to a lab and the results were alarming. According to the Williamsport Sun-Gazette, “The water test revealed high doses of lead, strontium, barium, arsenic, radium and other chemicals, she said, and she immediately stopped drinking the water, but the damage had been done.” Read more about Crystal’s nightmare here. The fracking process depends on very large quantities of water that are mixed with a proprietary blend of chemicals and forced deep into the earth to aid in the release of natural gas. The resulting huge amounts of contaminated water are a waste product and, despite what gas companies will tell you, have been know to contaminate ground water nearby. Unfortunately for the public, the proprietary nature of the process prevents disclosure of the chemicals that the gas companies use. Even after local wells have been contaminated with toxic cocktails that not only release vapors, but can actually be ignited into flames at the tap, property owners are often left with catastrophic medical problems, worthless real estate, and few answers or accountability.  This horror story apparently has been replayed in communities across the country where hydro-frack drilling rigs are sprouting up all over, or as in the case this past week in Towanda, PA, spilling all over. I will be introducing a new product in the very near future that I am very excited about. This countertop filter is capable of removing radioactive particles including iodine-131 and cesium-137. It also removes strontium-90 and radium-226. People concerned about radioactive emissions from the Fukushima reactor will be delighted with the protection this filter will provide, and I am hoping that those contending with contaminated water from fracking will be too.  I am still learning more about its capabilities, but I am encouraged with what I have seen so far. It’s brand new and still in testing mode, but I hope to have them available soon. Check back for updates and in the mean time, check out my Highwater Filters store for the best selection of Katadyn portable water filter products (including our best selling Katadyn Pocket) and our brand new non-electric Lifesaver distiller kits. Thanks for stopping by!