The little town of Dimock, Pennsylvania found itself the center of the debate between hydraulic fracturing and the anti-fracking movement starting around 2009. Many families that live in the town of Dimock took the oil and gas company, Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., to court. The allegations involved dozens of families arguing that poor fracking processes led to the contamination of the local drinking water with methane. While many families opted to settle out of court with the gas company, a couple of families continued in court. The previous court ruling by a jury awarded the families over four million dollars in damages, but the most recent appeal saw a change in the verdict.
During the appeals process, Judge Martin Carlson overturned the jury’s ruling in favor of the families. According to a Forbes article on the decision, Judge Martin Carlson stated, “[T]he weaknesses in the plaintiffs’ case and proof, coupled with serious and troubling irregularities in the testimony and presentation of the plaintiffs’ case – including repeated and regrettable missteps by counsel in the jury’s presence – combined so thoroughly to undermine faith in the jury’s verdict that it must be vacated and a new trial ordered.” While this is probably the last we won’t hear about this court case, as the judge is allowing for a new trial of the issue, it’s a big blow for anti-fracking activists.
Why is this court case so important?
This court case centers around a mix of fracking procedures, but especially around frac fluid and flowback liquid storage solutions. As we’ve previously discussed, there are a wide variety of ways in which to store water, frac fluid, and flowback during the entire hydraulic fracturing process. More often than not, these substances are stored in an open ground pit, which is the main center of the controversy. The plaintiffs’ argue that methane was able to get into the drinking water from flowback due to the storage of this flowback in open frac ponds.
Both the Environmental Protection Agency and a study by Yale University support the defendant, suggesting that there is no correlation between fracking operations and typical in-ground frac ponds. However, Forbes points out another study done by Stanford University that suggests drinking water could be at risk if frac ponds are not lined or they do not have solid cement barriers.
Patented above-ground frac tanks from Well Water Solutions help to eliminate any problems with local water supplies due to their durability and the fact that they aren’t just pits in the ground. These are functional frac tanks that allow a fracking operation to be run smoothly and as soundly as possible. Lawsuits like the one in Dimock could have been completely avoided with the right tools and supplies on the operational site. Having the right frac tanks for water, frac fluid, and flowback can make a huge difference for your operation, and Well Water Solutions makes sure that they are affordable for any sized operation and provide a variety of liquid management services if you are in need of them as well. Call a specialist for more information today!