.

http://1490newsblog.blogspot.com/2010/03/spill-now-believed-to-be-accidental.html reports:

“Although emergency crews first thought the oil spill on Hedgehog Lane this morning was malicious, police now believe a valve was accidentally opened, according to Bradford Township Supervisor Gayle Bauer. She said the investigation is continuing.
. . . . .

“The operation is run by Aiello Brothers.

“Bauer said three vacuum trucks are still on the scene working on containment, and that another environmental cleanup company is coming in to help.

“Just over two weeks ago Schreiner was ordered by DEP to provide a permanent solution to water supply issues at two homes the company’s drilling activity impacted near Hedgehog Lane.

“DEP had previously determined that Schreiner was responsible for affecting water supplies at other homes in the area.”

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The Bradford Era reports:

Thursday, September 3, 2009 4:05 AM EDT

DEP gets tough questions Wednesday night

By ADAM VOSLER, Era Reporter

Hedgehog Lane residents made it clear to Department of Environmental Protection officials Wednesday that their water and quality-of-life problems due to recent oil drilling are far from solved.

About 20 residents and Bradford Township Supervisors Chairman Don Cummins gathered at the Lions Club community building to ask tough questions of four DEP representatives who made the trip to provide an update on the issues and answer concerns. State Rep. Martin Causer, R-Turtlepoint, also attended the meeting, the second of its kind in recent weeks.

“I’m sure this has dragged on longer than you would’ve liked it to,” Regional Director Kelly Burch said of the problems, for which DEP issued violation notices to Schreiner Oil and Gas for four overpressured oil wells and contamination to seven water wells.

“Gas migration cases are very difficult.”

Schreiner drilled nearly two dozen wells last fall. Since then, residents have complained of everything from poor water quality to odor, noise, oil lease access road runoff onto Hedgehog, and other issues.

“We think most of the problems are corrected,” Burch said.

Several residents took exception to that claim. Many of them said their water still has foul odor and abnormal taste, while DEP countered that the water passes the agency’s 18 parameters for safe drinking.

“The source of the gas has been abated,” said Craig Lobins, regional manager of DEP’s Oil & Gas Management Program.

The other top complaint of residents has been a stripper plant located off Hedgehog Lane. [http://un-naturalgas.org/weblog/?p=457]

The plant strips unwanted gas out of the gas product that is coming out of wells. The structures, residents say, are a hazard because of its propane tanks that were placed only a few hundred feet from homes; also, the compressor station is noisy and produces an odor.

So the residents were likely not happy to hear that DEP granted New Century Pipeline a permit for the plant a few weeks ago — months after the structure was already built without permission.

That company, which is under Schreiner partner Aiello Bros. Oil & Gas, is facing a yet-unscheduled Bradford Township Zoning Board hearing on grounds that it never filed for a zoning permit. The matter could end up in McKean County Court if the company appeals the zoning officer’s findings.

“We are obliged by law to issue the permit if they meet our standards,” said DEP Air Quality Coordinator John Guth.

Cummins complained that the permit shouldn’t have been issued if the plant was in violation of township zoning laws. New Century has also faced DEP fines because it never informed the agency of its building plans, either.

“They have been noncompliant since the day they started operating,” Burch acknowledged.

Hedgehog natives wondered aloud why their neighborhood has been slow to receive help and why repeated offenses by Schreiner have been tolerated.

“When people are acting like this over and over and over, that’s where my frustration lies,” one Hedgehog resident said.

“Why is it up to us to try and stop somebody else who’s obviously breaking the rules?” asked another resident.

Schreiner’s permits for the several remaining wells to be fractured are valid until spring. DEP would not deny him that right, but Lobins said the wells are nearly worthless at this point because they’ve been open for so long.

“I don’t know if (Schreiner’s) going to drill any more of those,” Lobins said.

DEP had ordered Schreiner to stop further oil and gas drilling on Hedgehog until the water supplies were “restored or replaced,” which they have done by supplying bottled water and redrilling water wells. Of course, that matters little to the residents who say their water is still coming up bad.

. . . . .

Overall, it’s clear the residents are tiring of the water situation and what they believe is DEP’s negligence of obvious problems with its drinkability.

“I’ve lived there 21 years, and my water in the last year, it’s gone to crap,” said a man who identified himself as a resident of 177 Hedgehog Lane. Several residents cited the water as tasting “musty” and “old.”

A few visitors even questioned DEP reports they found online, saying the reports twisted what agents and residents said about their water’s poor odor and taste during recent visits.

Burch was swift in defending his staff.

“Many of my employees have a private well just like many of you … I know they wouldn’t tolerate it.”

After nearly two hours of back-and-forth between Cummins’ constituents and DEP officials, the supervisor boiled it down to one simple question.

“How do we get their water back to the way it was?” Cummins asked Burch.

As of today, the DEP does not seem to have an answer.

Full story at

http://bradfordera.com/articles/2009/09/03/news/doc4a9f350208adc444487486.txt

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From Hedgehog Lane, Bradford Township, McKean County, PA:

“There is a Crossett truck here this morning.  The second that I saw it pull up, I closed every window because I knew what was coming.  My house is currently full of vapors that are making me nauseous….even with every window closed, this is the result.  What more can I do????  There is nowhere in my house that I can go to escape the fumes, I certainly can’t go outside, and I have no vehicle.  So I am forced to sit here light-headed, dizzy, and with a headache sucking in these fumes.  This is the third time in the past 6 days that we have been exposed to this severity of stench.  This is a very real problem that is going on way too long.”

“I spent 2.5  hours in my basement because the fumes were so bad in my home while a propane truck filled up from the stripper plant.  It’s the 3rd time in 6 days that the stench has been so bad, but today was by far the worst!  The basement even stunk, just not as bad as the rest of the house…I have had calls from neighbors over a pretty large area that say that they experienced the vapors today as well.”

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Does Schreiner’s ‘right’ to extract natural gas supersede residents’ right to clean water and safe homes?    And does the industry’s ‘right’ to process natural gas supersede the neighborhood’s right to clean air?

These folks didn’t move into this neighborhood knowing their air and water was going to be ruined. They had good water and air. Drilling and processing of (un)natural gas by someone else has taken their property.

————–

June 9, 2009
“Our neighbor who has been out of his house for 11 weeks brought a sample of his water from his newly drilled well up to our house, and it still catches on fire- we got video again.  Plus, now there is some weird black stuff in it- it’s a little like oil but a little like charcoal or something.  Very strange.  Schreiner apparently didn’t know that our neighbor already tested his water, because he told him that he has great water now and can move back in!  I just can’t believe that.  Also, it appears that Schreiner has lied to State Representative Martin Causer’s secretary Rhonda because he told her that the Bailey family was already back in their home- definitely not true.

“Another neighbor told me that he heard that Schreiner has been kicked out of New York state and Sheffield, PA for bad practice before.  I’d sure like to try and find those details.

“Another neighbor has a new well and a reverse osmosis system, and his water is still bad.  DEP alluded to the idea that as long as they can get good water out of one tap in the house for drinking, then that will be all that Schreiner has to do.  Ridiculous.

“The stripper plant is still way too noisy and the vapors coming off of it are not getting any better.  The couple of neighbors who have detectors in their homes (I think CO2 and methane) have had the alarms go off several times.  These are issues that we are going to stress at the next township meeting on the 22nd.”

————

June 16, 2009
“My neighbor who has been out of his home for 12 weeks now was forced to move back in tonight.  His water still catches on fire, but Schreiner said that he’s done and won’t pay for a hotel anymore.  DEP claims that it’s perfectly safe… even though when my neighbor runs the washer there is free methane left in the machine after the laundry is done!  Unbelievable. Schreiner says he put $100,000 into addressing our problems, and even though not one house has their issues fixed, he is “done” and if we want more we just have to sue him.  He’s even been giving State Representative Causer’s secretary crap telling her to stop calling him with our complaints and that he is just going to stop answering his phone.”

————

DEP, why do you side with industry?

It’s time to take the oil & gas industry in hand.


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“DEP holds Schreiner responsible for compromising the water supplies of 7 households.  But there are more – maybe more like 15.

“One neighbor lost water in October – had only about 7ft of water above pump until February when got new well. New well required filtration. Even with filtration system, the water is bad – currently looking for better filtration system.

“One neighbor has been out of his home for 10 weeks now because of high levels of methane in well – see the video of the vapors catching fire:

Click here>>    Video: Flammable water

“DEP told him not to light a match in his bathroom or start a bonfire in his yard. Just got new well dug last week- waiting to see about water quality.

“Several homes now require methane detectors – we know at least one has gone off twice.

“One neighbor lost water a couple of weeks ago and was filling his own tote to supply water to his home. It sounded today like they have just begun drilling him another well- we’ll see about its quality.

“One neighbor has depleted quality and quantity of spring because a road was built through her spring. DEP’s response was that it was not much of a spring anyway. The spring has supplied this home with water for at least 50 years and is the only water supply that this neighbor has.

“One of my neighbors had disgusting black slime that DEP would never test- they would run the water until all of the black stuff was out before they tested it.  The neighbor had an independent lab test it, and it turned out to be iron bacteria.

“Some neighbors have complained of rashes and excessively dry skin and hair.

“The majority of these wells have existed for over 40 years, and have never had these troubles.  Our water was pristine- no filter required.  Friends and family used to bottle our water to take home with them.

“So far it does not seem that the oil company wants to take much responsibility.  They have provided us with bottled water for drinking temporarily, and drilled a few wells that are most likely still contaminated.   They have about another 60 wells they want to drill.

“We are almost sure that the site of the propane tank and access road was wetland.  It met almost all of the criteria that DEP has listed for wetlands (mottled soil, indicator species, presence of water…..).  When we called DEP out, they said that there were areas that could be wetland, but a full study would have to be done to delineate it.  We expected them to do the study – next thing we know, all of the trees are down and construction had begun.”

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“I live on Hedgehog Lane in Bradford, PA where oil and gas drilling has contaminated many water wells.  The DEP recognizes seven, but there are more of us.”

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“We also have a stripper plant in our residentially-zoned neighborhood that has us furious.  It consists of a 19,000 gallon propane tank less than 300 feet from our house, a compressor and generator that run 24/7 – the noise is simply unbearable – and pipes that seem to leak propane so that we smell it all of the time.  Propane trucks the size of semi’s routinely come to the pipes to fill up with propane.  We just don’t understand how this all fits into zoning laws, and we are frustrated with how it has changed our neighborhood and property values. ”

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Glycol leak 1

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Glycol leak 2

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Methanol leak

Click here>> Video: methanol leak

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Oil leak

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Oil leak

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Oil leak

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Oil staining of soil

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15w40 drum and leak

“Our water smells and tastes weird enough that we don’t drink it, and we don’t even give it to our animals.  It smells musty- like dirt.  It reminds me of an organic that I used to work with when I was a chemist.  DEP officials have agreed that they smell and taste it, but that the standard test they run for about 15 or so substances come back normal.  We have asked DEP repeatedly to test for VOCs, but they refuse.  They say that the test is tricky because a neighbor spilling oil or gas could be the cause.  I told him, I agree – a neighbor IS spilling oil – Aiello Brothers Oil and Gas – drillers for Schreiner  (http://abogi.net/default.aspx)  … and I have the pictures to prove it.  They still refused to test for VOCs.  They said that it isn’t standard operating procedure to do so.  When I responded that my neighborhood isn’t going through a “standard” situation, they replied that we actually are. When I asked for clarification, I was told that this sort of thing happens every month.  I said I found that interesting because this very same DEP official was quoted in a newspaper article as calling the situation in Dimock an anomaly, so I asked him which was it?  Was it typical, or an anomaly?  He said that he didn’t know where I got that info but that I shouldn’t believe everything I read.  Because my water doesn’t have one of the about 15 substances that DEP tests for (Fe, Mn, methane) we have been written off.  I find that to be ridiculous and negligent.  One of my neighbors has been given the very same treatment.  So much for presumptive liability when the wells are drilled within 1000ft from your water well!!!”

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Propane tank

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Propane truck

“As I research and find that this is happening all over the country, I get more angry!  It’s just wrong.  And to think that in our case we are asking for so little…..they can’t use just a smidgin of the millions that they gain from our hill to give us safe drinking water?  Absurd.”

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