Fracking lawsuits are spreading across the US. The first cases were launched in Pennsylvania in 2009, claiming damages for contamination of the aquifers on which the plaintiffs depend. Since then, other cases have been launched by dozens of property owners in Pennsylvania, Texas, Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, New York, West Virginia etc.. Some lawfirms are actively soliciting potential plaintiffs.
Most of the lawsuits assert that improper drilling, capping and/or casing practices allowed toxic chemicals to escape into their groundwater, causing loss in property value and expenses for replacement water. Some also claim actual or potential health damage from the polluted water. The contaminants complained of include hydrogen sulfide, methane, hydrocarbons such as hexane, toluene, propane and isobutene, and metals such as manganese, barium and strontium.
One group of Dimock, Pennsylvania families received $4.1 M from Cabot Oil & Gas, under a settlement reached with the Pennsylvania regulator. A December 2010 agreement between DEP and Cabot required the company to offer residential treatment systems that remove methane from the residents’ water, and to pay them twice the assessed tax value of their homes. Recently, Cabot was permitted to stop delivering bottled water to the affected homes. The agreement does not make the company liable for any chemicals or metals that have turned up in the residents’ water, nor does it require the company to treat the water for anything other than methane. The residents are appealling the settlement,