Despite EPA report, Vienna residents still skittish

Vienna oil spill investigation continues


VIENNA, Ohio (WYTV) – A new EPA report released Thursday says hydraulic fracturing has not led to widespread impacts on drinking water across the country.

The agency says this is because of safety standards and federal regulations being followed.

However, residents along Sodom Hutchings Road in Vienna are still asking questions about their drinking water after an injection well spill in early April by Kleese Development Associates.

“It has been over a month and you don’t know what has been leaching into the soil and that. I just went today and purchased drinking water and I do have concerns,” Deborah Duer, who lives near the injection well, said.

Duer said it’s been slow getting more answers.

“In fact a couple of days ago, I received a report from the state of Ohio that there was no radioactivity in my well water. I find it hard to believe it has taken them over two months to get that report to me,” Duer said. “It only takes one incident to really change your opinion of things. This has been very scary because you’re drinking your water, you’re bathing in it, you’re washing your clothes in it.”

Lillian Defrance is also still concerned after what she saw a few days ago.

“I saw people in Hazmat suits just the other day. So I am not trusting it yet,” Defrance said.

She said she has received multiple letters from the EPA and county officials concerning the water.

“I actually opened the letter today, saying they tested for radiation and other contaminants, saying it was all clear. But I am still buying bottled water,” Defrance said.

However, Defrance applauds the progress being made at KDA.

“I see them doing a lot of work down there. A lot of things they didn’t do when they first opened up I see going in now. I am very happy the EPA is making them be in compliance,” she said.

American Petroleum Institute (API), which¬†represents all segments of America’s oil and natural gas industry, responded to the EPA draft report.

“After more than five years and millions of dollars, the evidence gathered by EPA confirms what the agency has already acknowledged and what the oil and gas industry has known,” said API Upstream Group Director Erik Milito. “Hydraulic fracturing is being done safely under the strong environmental stewardship of state regulators and industry best practices.”

From 2009 to 2013, while the EPA was conducting this study, state agencies finalized an estimated 82 groundwater-related rules for oil and gas production, including hundreds of discrete rule changes, according to the Ground Water Protection Council.

“Continuous safety improvements have been an ongoing part of hydraulic fracturing for 65 years,” added Milito. “That process will continue, with our support, under the oversight of state regulators who are most familiar with their own area’s unique geology, hydrology, and other physical characteristics.”

Hydraulic fracturing supports more than 2 million U.S. jobs, has increased supplies of oil and natural gas, and has helped to put downward pressure on energy prices. It also has strengthened America’s energy security and geopolitical position, a statement from API said.

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