The credibility of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's water testing is a precious, fragile commodity. That is especially true in disputes about possible impacts of gas drilling on water supplies.
Performed by career civil servants in the DEP laboratory in Harrisburg, water test results in the last 5 years have annoyed drilling companies, homeowners, and environmental organizations. All sides have been made unhappy by one test result or another and have sometimes fallen prey to the temptation of attacking the messenger. And that alone is compelling proof that the numbers in the tests are honest.
With that as background, DEP's change of policy on handling the notification of water test results that is described in this article is not wise: www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/marcellusshale/dep-alters-policy-on-foul-water-notifications-657473. Indeed, the change described by Don Hopey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette may erode public confidence in the integrity of the test results and gas drilling oversight, and that would be a loss for homeowners, the gas industry, and environmental advocates.
When things are not broken, it is indeed much better to resist fixing them.