"ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) -- Thirteen families in the heart of the gas-rich Marcellus Shale say their water wells have been contaminated by poisonous fluids blasted deep underground by a drilling company using a technique at the center of a fierce nationwide debate.
A faulty gas well drilled by Houston-based Southwestern Energy Co. leaked toxic fracking fluid into local groundwater in northeastern Pennsylvania's Susquehanna County, exposing residents to dangerous chemicals and sickening a child, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday.
The lawsuit -- one of the first in the nation to link hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to tainted groundwater -- said the well's cement casing was defective. It also cites spills of industrial waste, diesel fuel and other hazardous substances.
"The fracking fluid leaked into the aquifer and contaminated wells within several thousand feet, if not more," said plaintiffs' attorney Peter Cambs of Port Washington, N.Y.
A Southwestern official denied any problems with the well and state environmental officials said they found no link between the well and any contamination." More>>>>