Map pinpoints contaminated water in Parker County

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by CHRIS HAWES

WFAA

Posted on December 8, 2010 at 8:29 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 9 at 5:28 PM

PARKER COUNTY — We now know exactly where the EPA says North Texas drinking water was contaminated by natural gas drilling.

Federal regulators feared some homes could actually explode if people kept using the water.

The two contaminated water wells are in southern Parker County. One of them is off of River Oak Court; the other is off of Old Ranch Court.

The natural gas well the EPA says contaminated those water wells is off of Lake Country Road in neighboring Hood County.

Robert and Wendy Bagwell saw a WFAA report on the wells Tuesday night, and weren't surprised when WFAA arrived Wednesday to tell them the wells were only about one mile from their house.

"When you were driving in, I went, 'I know what they're fixing to start talking about,'" Mr. Bagwell said.

The couple said the water was always smelly but changed after drilling began. They say it's clear on some days, and on other days unusable.

"It bubbles," Mr. Bagwell said. "It's yellow. You don't want to make ice out of it, you don't want to eat with it and you don't want to cook with it."

Range Resources, which operates the gas well, says it does not believe it is responsible for the contamination.

"We want to find the source," a spokesman for the company said. "And, if we're the cause or not, we intend to work with the Railroad Commission to assist in remediation as the investigation continues."

The EPA, however, has released a timeline showing the first water well was drilled in 2002. No problems were reported until May of this year — several months after that nearby gas well started producing.

An emergency order issued by the agency Tuesday requires Range Resources to stop the contamination and  to come up with a plan within five days to identify and test nearby wells. That includes wells served by the Lake Country Acres public water supply wells. The Bagwells are waiting. They said they haven't heard about any arrangements for the tests.

The other contaminated well was drilled in April 2005. Signs of gas in the water were first seen there in December of last year, about three months after that natural gas well started producing.

Aqua Texas operates the Lake Country Acres system. A company spokesman said the most recent testing was done in July and found the water to be safe. They said they will complete any additional testing required in Parker County

E-mail chawes@wfaa.com

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