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Contamination Found Near Natural Gas Drilling Sites

HARTFORD, Ark. -- The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) found land and water contamination at 11 natural gas and oil sites. Jack White enjoys growing his own produce out of his greenhouse at his Hartford home. His only source of water comes from a well. He said a nearby natural gas waste water dumping site, operated by Eastern Tank Services, and is preventing him from expanding his garden. "We have to have water and they've taken it away from us," White said. "If we get any water it's polluted." Waste water from drilling sites is taken to holding ponds that's eventually sprayed onto land owned by the company. The ADEQ recently discovered higher than normal levels of chemicals including chloride and sodium in land and water samples at all 11 sites tested. Four sites are in the Fayetteville Shale, the others are located in the Arkoma Basin. "They certainly tested for total petroleum hydrocarbons and that was one that was of concern to us," said Teresa Marks, director of the ADEQ. White said those chemicals and more poisonous materials are entering waterways and putting him at risk of health hazards. Due to the findings the ADEQ is instituting new permit requirements that will force companies to dispose of waste water in a different way. They'll have to dig deep wells then inject the waste water into them. The method has proven to be more environmentally sound. The agency is still conducting tests on its ground water monitoring wells to determine if chemicals in the drilling process are contaminating residents’ drinking water. A representative from Eastern Tank Services said the company has and will continue following state guidelines.

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