DEP Official Defends Testing Methods
Washington PA Observer Reporter
7 November 2012
The secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental
Protection is defending his agency in a response to a local
lawmaker who called for an investigation into DEP water testing
Secretary Michael L. Krancer, in a letter to state Rep. Jesse
White, D-Cecil, dated Tuesday, wrote that White “misapprehended
some important facts” over how the agency handles water quality
testing related to Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling.
Last week, White called upon state and federal enforcement
agencies to investigate “alleged misconduct and fraud” following a
sworn deposition in a civil case by a DEP Bureau of Laboratories
director. That case involves a lawsuit by three Amwell Township
property owners against the DEP and Range Resources, claiming they
have experienced health problems from nearby gas drilling
activities. All three property owners have leases with Range.
The testimony provided by technical director Taru Upadhyay
involved codes used to test for contamination within certain
To White, that means some relevant data is being withheld from
Krancer took exception to that, noting that Upadhyay did not
testify DEP developed a special code in order to manipulate data
but that the code was first developed in 1991 to identify elements
that would indicate contamination from gas drilling.
“In this particular investigation, the levels of the additional
parameters were extremely low,” he wrote.
Krancer also noted White fails to appreciate how the DEP lab
functions which is to generate data while the field staff reviews
“Mixing these functions together would not only be redundant but
would also be inappropriate protocol for any laboratory because it
would put the laboratory’s rigorous impartiality into question,”
White said while the laboratory tests for 24 metals results, only
the results of 8 metal tests are returned to the field office.
“If they have nothing to hide and did everything the right way,
why not just give everyone the data?” he asked.
The DEP has demonstrated its willingness to protect citizens and
hold operators accountable when drilling activities impacted water
supplies, Krancer said.
“Our staff are professionals, and know what to look for to
determine the cause of possible water supply contamination,” he
White is still hoping for an investigation into the matter.
“I think we need an outside pair of eyes to come in and look at
what’s going on here,” he said.
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