A new Bureau of Land Management report indicates that most of the groundwater contamination near Pinedale was not caused by the energy industry.
After petroleum products showed up in water wells in the Pinedale Anticline gas field in 2006, several agencies launched an investigation to figure out where the contamination was coming from. They concluded that some pollution occurred naturally, as gas seeped upward through geologic layers and into the groundwater. The report says other pollutants came from the process of drilling and installing water wells.
An environmental group in Pinedale is trying to help residents understand water quality issues, by creating an online map of gas wells, water wells, and other hydrologic data.
Linda Baker with the Upper Green River Alliance says she got the idea for the project when water wells in the Pinedale Anticline gas field started showing traces of benzene and other pollutants several years ago.
Baker served on the Pinedale Anticline Working Group, and she says data from the Bureau of Land Management, Department of Environmental Quality, and other agencies was very technical.