Environmental group: gas drilling could taint Philadelphia drinking water

    A new report says chemicals used in natural gas drilling create toxic wastewater that could pollute the drinking supply for the Delaware Valley.

    A national environmental group says the upper Delaware River tops their list of 25 most “endangered” rivers in the country. American Rivers released a report yesterday that says natural gas drilling is the biggest threat.

    17 million people in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania drink water that comes from the upper Delaware. But the report says chemicals used in natural gas drilling create toxic wastewater that could pollute that drinking supply.

    Albert Appleton is a former director at the New York City water and sewer system. So how does Appleton think the natural gas boom upstate will affect downstream residents of the Delaware Valley?

    “Your listeners should be very concerned about whether, five years from now, they will be able to drink the water,” says Appleton, “and whether or not they will be able to drink the water without having to pay an enormous amount of money to upgrade the water treatment facilities of Philadelphia or whatever Delaware River valley city they’re living in.”

    Across the state, energy companies are acquiring thousands of acres of land in the natural-gas-rich Marcellus shale formation.

    Royal Dutch Shell just spent $4.7 billion dollars purchasing land in gas-rich regions of New York and Pennsylvania.

    The drilling industry says the process is safe, resulting in no large-scale environmental impacts.

    “I think we, as probably most in industry, feel that, while those concerns need to be addressed,” says Bryan Lastrapes of Shell, “we don’t think they are a problem.”

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