August 31, 2010 - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency investigating drinking water contamination in Pavillion, Wyoming, found benzene and methane in wells and in groundwater, agency officials said.
At a community meeting with well owners, EPA officials revealed Tuesday they found low levels of petroleum compounds in 17 of 19 drinking water wells sampled, and that nearby shallow groundwater was contaminated with high levels of petroleum compounds such as benzene, according to the report.
The affected well owners were advised not to drink the water at the recommendation of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, and told to use alternate sources of water for drinking and cooking, agency officials said.
Meanwhile, the EPA is working with various government partners and EnCana, a natural gas company, to provide affected residents with water and to address potential sources of the contamination, agency officials said.
The study included sampling 21 domestic wells within the area of concern, two municipal wells, plus sediment and water from a nearby creek. The EPA also sampled groundwater and soil from pit remediation sites, and produced water and condensate from five production wells operated by the primary natural gas operator in the area, agency officials said.