Driller temporarily stops operations at Pa. wells

April 21, 2011 7:59:12 PM PDT
A natural gas company has suspended a drilling technique involving chemical-laced water at its Pennsylvania wells until it determines the cause of a spill in the northern part of the state.

Chesapeake Energy Corp. said Thursday crews have significantly reduced the flow of the chemical-laden water from its out-of-control well near Canton in Bradford County.

Spokesman Brian Grove says the cause of Tuesday night's breach is unknown but it's located in a wellhead connection.

Thousands of gallons of drilling fluids spilled. They escaped containment, crossed farm fields and entered a stream.

Grove says initial testing of area waterways has shown "minimal impact, if any."

The gas drilling technique is called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. It involves blasting chemical-laced water into the ground. Critics say it could poison water supplies; the gas drilling industry says it's safe.

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