Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "water contamination" ...

  • Potter County, Pennsylvania: Private & Public Drinking Water Sources Contamination by Illegal Chemicals

    Public Herald broke the story about groundwater and surface water contamination from drilling operations by JKLM Energy in Potter County that impacted private and public water supplies. Since our first breaking report, we have been contacted by residents who informed us that they were not notified that the local groundwater had been contaminated, continued to use their water and experience stomach and digestive pain and discomfort. County officials applaud the industry for being "responsible" despite illegal operations and a refusal by the company to release a full list of chemicals that contaminated water sources.
  • Complaint Report

    After a 30-month analysis, a Public Herald investigation into fracking complaints uncovered 9 ways officials at the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) kept drinking water contamination across Pennsylvania “off the books” since 2004.
  • Something In The Water

    For years, the state of Texas has said there is no link between water contamination and natural gas drilling. WFAA’s “Something In The Water” series has made it difficult for the state to maintain that stance. Our series, which is still ongoing in 2016, focuses on how a fireball erupted from a rural family’s water well in the Barnett Shale natural gas field. Our investigation found gas drillers not properly cementing their wells to protect underground water, and fudging permitting paperwork with state regulators. Our stories have prompted a board of top EPA scientists to now question whether drilling is linked to contamination. https://vimeo.com/wfaa/review/151843222/9cb971b521
  • Tainted Legacy

    "Legacy lawsuits" have cost oil companies hundreds of millions of dollars in Louisiana to clean up decades of contamination after state regulators turned a blind eye. Landowners and their attorneys say the lawsuits are the only way to get oilfield polluters to clean up their mess. The industry says the lawsuits are frivolous money grabs, used by greedy plaintiffs to dig deep into the pockets of Big Oil. We revealed that after hundreds of lawsuits, and hundreds of millions of dollars in judgments and settlements, only 12 sites have been cleaned up.
  • Semper Fi: Always Faithful

    Marine Corps Master Sgt. Jerry Ensminger was a devoted marine for nearly 25 years. As a drill instructor, he lived and breathed the Marine Corps and was responsible for training thousands of new recruits. When Jerry’s nine-year-old daughter Janey died of a rare type of leukemia, his world collapsed. As a grief-stricken father, he struggled for years to make sense of what happened. His search for answers led to the shocking discovery of one of the largest water contamination sites in US history. For thirty years, unbeknownst to the Marines living there, the Marine Corps improperly disposed of toxic cleaning solvents that contaminated the drinking water at North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base. It is estimated that nearly one million Marines and their families may have been exposed to high levels of carcinogens through the water. 25 years after the wells were finally closed, only a fraction of former residents know about their exposure to the toxic chemicals. In the process of investigating the Camp Lejeune contamination, a larger issue comes into focus - the abysmal environmental record of the military. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Defense is the United States’ largest polluter, which raises grave questions about environmental conditions at other bases across the country. “Semper Fi: Always Faithful” is a timely and sobering story of the betrayal of US soldiers and is a call to action for more environmental oversight of military sites.
  • Poison in the Water

    “Poison in the Water” is a WNCN investigation that exposes how state government failed to warn families that the water they were drinking could be killing them. Through six weeks of research and digging through hundreds of FOIA documents, WNCN uncovered the source of the contamination in a Wake Forest, N.C. community and revealed state regulators ignored their own evidence of the danger. “Poison in the Water” held the powerful accountable and sparked calls for state legislative change. As a result, national groundwater advocate, Erin Brockovich, visited the Wake Forest families.
  • Hidden Wells, Dirty Water

    An investigation into groundwater contamination in the heavily agricultural Lower Yakima Valley found that local, state and federal agencies responsible for clean drinking water and environmental health repeatedly neglected their regulatory duties. This left low-income Latino farm workers exposed to health threats.
  • What the atomic age left behind

    This series described a 10.5-million-ton pile of nuclear waste polluting the Colorado River. The waste was left over from decades of milling uranium ore, first for atomic weapons and later for nuclear fuel. For decades, the pile of toxic and radioactive waste leaked into the river, which provides the drinking water for more than 20 million people in three western states. It was the largest of the dozens of piles of tailings and the only one that hadn't been moved away from major rivers in the United States. And for a while, it appeared it would stay put, contaminating the river for centuries.
  • Interstate 99: An environmental challenge

    This investigation revealed how massive amounts of sulfurous rock, called pyrite, unearthed by road builders threatened to pollute streams and groundwater. Furthermore, the newspaper found that the failure of state road builders and environmental regulators to communicate contributed to faulty decisions, that a decision by road builders which ran counter to design specifications contributed to the problem, and that a decision by former U.S. Rep. Bud Shuster to eliminate federal oversight of the highway construction project eliminated a layer of inspections that could have foreseen the problems.
  • The Walkerton Story

    A Toronto Star investigation examines the reasons for an environmental disaster that has caused seven deaths in Walkerton, a rural Ontario town. The investigation shows that the water of the town has been contaminated with a deadly bacteria from animals' waste. The reporters point to "20 years of reckless mismanagement by government" and "severe cutbacks in water protection money in mid 1990s" as main reasons for the disaster. Among the major findings is the fact that the town's water has been repeatedly contaminated with the fetal bacteria since 1978. The story reveals that government officials have been aware of the problem, but unwilling to tell the public. The investigation also shows that water contamination is threatening many towns across Ontario, as they are "not properly testing their water or treating it with chlorine."