Emerald Lakes well contamination still a mystery

Emerald Lakes well contamination still a mystery by Howard Frank, August 28, 2012, Pocono Record
DEP representatives saw a petroleum-based substance in the water and began an investigation. The agency took samples from her and four neighboring wells on July 2. But testing of neighbors’ samples came back negative — meaning the contamination isn’t coming from the aquifer that supplies area wells. “All the test results from neighbors came back with acceptable levels,” DEP spokesman Colleen Connolly said. “There’s nothing in their water results to lead us to believe the water isn’t safe to drink. It is safe to drink.” “I made a pot of coffee with a new filter yesterday,” Barron said on Monday. “It came out greasy as hell.” Connolly said she couldn’t comment on Barron’s water until all tests on her home are complete. Results from one test are still pending — a test for volatiles that can reveal organic compounds like chlorinated solvents and fuel components. That’s exactly what Barron believes it is. “When I flush the toilet in the morning, I smell gasoline,” she said. “It’s coming from somewhere.” Barron only uses the well water to flush the toilet, take a shower and wash clothes. “My daughter said when she takes a shower she can smell it.” Connolly would only say the negative results on neighboring properties meant the contamination wasn’t in the area’s water supply. She wouldn’t comment on whether the contaminant could have been added directly to the well. “We believe this is an isolated incident to the Barron property and localized in her well,” Connolly said. “It leads us to believe this came from the surface, not from the aquifer where you get the water from.” The agency is trying to determine how large a radius the contaminant, should it show up on the final test, could have come from. The DEP is sending out letters to surrounding neighbors notifying them their water is safe. That’s not good enough for Barron, though. “We’ve had to live with it all summer,” Barron said. “It’s still the same, and nobody is cleaning it up. I feel somebody should be supplying me with water.” Barron issued the DEP a challenge. “I’d like them to come to my house now. I’ll make a bottle of iced tea in front of the Pocono Record and see if they’ll drink it.”

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