RTK Reveals Water Treatment Systems Installed in Potter County After JKLM Energy Chemical Release

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RTK for Emails On Drinking Water Investigation in Potter County Produces Results When Questions Went Unanswered

by Joshua B. Pribanic for newsCOUP at Public Herald, follow @jbpribanic @newscoup

A recent Right to Know request by Public Herald to Potter County Commissioners for emails between the commissioners and JKLM Energy, the oil and gas company that polluted drinking water resources in September 2015, has revealed that six water treatment systems have been placed in affected homes.

The emails included a ‘status report’ sent to county commissioners stating that as of March 9, 2016, JKLM Energy installed water treatment systems at six households in the North Hollow area. To get a better picture of which houses received those treatment systems, Public Herald created this map.

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JKLM Energy North Hollow water contamination investigation status update to DEP as of March 9, 2016. © Public Herald

The map shows six households that received treatment systems: two that neighbor JKLM’s well pad where chemicals were released into the aquifer and four that are 1.5 to 2 miles away.

So far, DEP has mailed out six positive determination letters to residents whose drinking water supplies are contaminated as a result of the JKLM Energy chemical release. The DEP letters state that Benzene, Toluene, Acetone, MBAS (methylene blue active substances) and an array of other contaminants were detected. JKLM Energy is named as the responsible party for the contamination.

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Screenshots of DEP positive determination letters sent to complainants with contaminated drinking water from the JKLM Energy North Hollow chemical release. © Public Herald

According to Chapter 78 of the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Act, the company is required to restore those water supplies, and water treatment systems are often used in complaint cases.

Using the Potter County Tax Parcel Viewer, we can see roughly 16 households between the two red zones on the north side of North Hollow road, and around 24 on the south side. That leaves around 40 households situated between the six homes with treatment systems.

*Calls and emails to DEP this week about this story were not returned.

“newsCOUP” are informal stories, photographs, and videos from ongoing investigations in the Public Herald newsroom that need attention. This story is part of the INVISIBLE HAND series and will be part of a new installation in the coming week. Read all the reports on DEP and JKLM Energy in our 15 part series.