Image courtesy of WPX Energy.

Oklahoma-based gas producer WPX Energy was ordered Thursday by Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to permanently replace polluted water supplies for three households near its Kelp well pad in Stahlstown.

A leak at a treated-water storage facility near the Kelp well pad contaminated surrounding water wells, Upstream said.

The Kelp pad drills into the Marcellus shale formation.

An investigation determined the drinking water at the home of an elderly couple living near the well pad had higher concentrations of chloride, barium, calcium, magnesium, manganese and strontium after the well had been drilled.

Contaminated drinking water was also found at two adjacent properties.

WPX has been providing the three households with bottled water and other sources of potable water.

“As we learned of the water concern from three of our neighbors individually, we began working with each family and the DEP to provide fresh water for their use at our expense, and began an investigation with the DEP,” the company said.

WPX has 30 days to either appeal or comply with the order before enforcement actions take place.

It hasn’t indicates that it would appeal the order.

The company said it will continue providing fresh water to the three household with the goal of providing “a permanent water solution”.”

However, the DEP said bottled water is “not a replacement for clean running water in the home.”

WPX holds nearly 88,000 net acres in Pennsylvania.

The company entered the Marcellus Shale play in June 2009 and has interests in more than 100 natural gas wells in the play.


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