Alberta Oil & Gas Collateral Damage: She Can Light Her Water on Fire
Photo by Will Andruschack.
Update: Burning Tap Water and More: GASLAND Exposes the Natural Gas Industry
When Lighting Your Water on Fire Isn't a Magic Trick
Jessica Ernst lives in the village of Rosebud, Alberta, East of Calgary. EnCana, a big oil & gas company, is operating close to her house. The photo above speaks for itself. Read on for her story.Living Next to EnCana
According to Fast Forward Weekly:
In 2005, Ernst noticed something was happening to the water from her well. At first, her dogs wouldn't drink it. Then, she saw it was fizzing as if it was carbonated. In December, she couldn't turn her taps off: there was so much gas in her water, it raised the pressure and forced its way through her pipes.
She also discovered she could light it on fire. When lit, a huge blue flame burns on the surface of the water, before turning orange and escaping upward like a flare. 'It still scares me,' she says. 'You never know what the water is going to do.'
Tests on her water revealed high levels of methane, ethane and several other fossil fuels. It also showed signs of heavy hydrocarbons, like the ones used in drilling fluids.
Photos by Will Andruschack.
But of course, according to EnCana, it's not the company's fault. It has denied having contaminated Rosebud's water supply. Earlier this year, a provincial report on Ernst's well even concluded that the gas in the well was naturally occurring and had nothing to do with the company.
But, also from Fast Forward Weekly:
A company report from 2005, for instance, shows that EnCana fraced the underground aquifer where area landowners get their water. A test by University of Alberta water expert Karlis Muehlenbachs also showed strong similarities between the gas in Ernst's well and the gas EnCana was pumping out of the ground nearby.
Alberta's Environmental Problems
Alberta Tar Sands to Increase Output 250% Over Next 10 Years
A Picture is Worth... The Alberta Tar Sands
Tar Sands: The Most Destructive Project on Earth
Canadian Oil: At What Price?
More on Citizen EnCana
Citizen Encana: The double life of Calgary's greatest corporation