PA DEP Investigating Natural Gas Well Leak In Lycoming County

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa., July 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is investigating a natural gas well leak at an East Resources well in McNett Township, Lycoming County.

“East Resources is cooperating fully with our investigation, and has already implemented measures to stop the leak,” said DEP Northcentral Regional Director Robert Yowell. “DEP staff will continue to work closely with East Resources and local emergency responders to ensure the safety of nearby residents.”

DEP was alerted to the problem last week by a citizen who reported discoloration of water in a tributary to Lycoming Creek and in a nearby spring. DEP staff investigated on July 24 what was then a suspected sediment problem in the creek.

On Monday, DEP received a report of possible natural gas bubbling from the tributary. DEP staff collected water samples from the spring and the tributary. Those samples are being analyzed for methane and other parameters in the department’s laboratory in Harrisburg. DEP staff confirmed the bubbling in two Lycoming Creek tributaries earlier today.

East Resources personnel monitored 18 private water wells in the nearby area that same day, and are providing water to four homes. They also monitored methane levels in the homes.

East Resources has three wells in the area, which are in the Oriskaney [sic] geologic formation, and not in the Marcellus Shale area. Two of the wells are drilled and completed, but not yet in service due to the lack of gathering lines in the area. The third well was previously plugged and abandoned.

East Resources began flaring the Delciotto #2 well on Monday to reduce pressure from the natural gas, and is currently working to flare the other two wells. The company is investigating the possibility that a casing failure in part of the Delciotto #2 well caused the natural gas leak. The company is attempting to seal off the leak with drilling mud to stop the natural gas from escaping.

CONTACT: Daniel T. Spadoni (570) 327-3659

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

- http://news.prnewswire.com/DisplayReleaseContent.aspx?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/07-28-2009/0005067720&EDATE=

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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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http://www.wtrf.com/story.cfm?func=viewstory&storyid=59425

Five Natural Gas Workers Hospitalized After Exposure to Acid

NEW MARTINSVILLE, WV –  According to WTRF-TV, as of May 20,  five men were under observation in Wetzel County Hospital after being exposed to what Chesapeake Energy called “battery acid.”

The station reported “Chesapeake Energy says there was no fire at the well site, just ‘an incident in which they were exposed to a material in the drilling process.’”

From the story:

“Wetzel County Hospital was set up with lights, sirens and a decontamination unit in the parking lot.

“At 10:15 a.m., the hospital was given a heads-up that they had five patients coming in, who had been exposed to commercial battery acid from a methane well drilling accident.

“‘They were pumping the material into the well site and apparently it splashed back onto the individuals and it also vaporized, creating the problem that we had here today,’ said Chief Larry Couch with the New Martinsville Fire Department.

“‘We were able to set up a decontamination unit, bring in additional medical staff, and actually we had five doctors on hand at the time when the patients arrived,’ said George Couch, Wetzel County Hospital CEO. “I think it was chemical exposure. I couldn’t assess any serious chemical burns. Appeared to be some respiratory distress.”

“New Martinsville Police Chief Tim Cecil had to hold back curious onlookers….

. . . . .

“According to Hospital CEO George Couch, all five employees are admitted for observation and are all in fair condition.

“Chesapeake Energy says the well site has been secured and is no danger to the public.

“Several agencies are reportedly investigating.”

Here’s what one commenter had to say about the story:
“I’ve been a professional chemist for twenty-eight years, with a degree from West Virginia University, and this would be the first instance I’ve encountered where “commercial battery acid” (AKA sulfuric acid) could produce the kinds of vapors cited in this story.

“I believe that Chesapeake Energy should have referred to the material by its proper name: hydrochloric acid, which is very commonly used in the well development process.

“Why did they choose to lie about this?”

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shopping-center-explosion

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http://cms.firehouse.com/content/article/article.jsp?sectionId=46&id=63728
FORESTVILLE, Md. – Five firefighters and one gas company employee were burned in an apparent natural gas explosion at a shopping center in Forestville. Some were seriously burned, but they have not said if any of the injuries were life threatening. All six have been transported to the Washington Hospital Center’s burn unit.

As many as a dozen were injured, the other six were hit by shrapnel from the explosion.

According to Prince George’s County Fire and EMS spokesperson Mark Brady, the fire department received a call around 12:30 p.m. Thursday for a report of a natural gas leak. They arrived at 3426 Donnell Drive and evacuated the building. Sometime after that, the explosion occurred.

Brady reports that a flash fire burned the firefighters and gas company employee. The building was heavily damaged, so no one has been able to go in and search to make sure everyone got out. Brady says they are hoping everyone was taken out in the initial evacuation.

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http://www.cleveland.com/sunnews/news/index.ssf?/base/news-0/123988722216420.xml&coll=4

BAINBRIDGE, Ohio -

More than 100 people crammed into an overflowing meeting room at the Federated Church Tuesday to hear what the state was going to do about problems created by oil and gas well drillers.

Sean Logan, the Ohio Department of Natural Resource’s director, had few answers to calm fears. He failed to satisfy the concerns of more than 40 residents whose water wells were damaged by an English Drive gas well drilled in December 2007 that blew one house off of its foundation.

It was for these residents that he called the meeting.

In addition to Bainbridge residents, fire chiefs, public officials and residents came from neighboring communities and as far away as Highland Heights, Broadview Heights and Twin Lakes.

They wanted to see how the state responds to gas well accidents because they face new wells in their own communities.

Logan had no answer for Niki Kakoleck of Scotland Drive.

“What is the state going to do for me and my family?” she asked point-blank.

“I tried to refinance my house today and the bank told me my house has no value,” she continued. “My husband and I paid $180,000 for it before the gas well blew up. Now it has no value. I have to pay an attorney now on top of it.
“We’re on the verge of bankruptcy. I hired a sitter to watch my nine-year-old and 11-year-old so I could come here and hear what you are going to do.”

When Logan repeated that he was ordering a new municipal water line, she cut him off.

“This sucks,” she said. “You guys dropped the ball for me and my family.

Life in a hotel
“You don’t understand what we’ve been through. I had to live in a hotel for a week before Christmas with my kids and two dogs when the gas well blew up. My electric fence I paid a couple thousand dollars for was ruined by your temporary water line.

“The water delivery trucks have ruined my driveway — it’s all cracked now. I have to leave my garage door open two days a week and let strangers come and go in my house to fill the temporary water tank. I worry about the safety of my kids.

“The temporary water line freezes in the winter right in the middle of giving my kids a shower — it stopped. I had to wash soap from them with freezing cold water. I didn’t sign up for the gas well. I’m not getting any royalties from it. What are you going to do for me?”

Lou Wagner of Scotland Drive said he is more concerned about safety than the water line, which Logan said last week that the ODNR would install because drilling has fouled water wells.

“What’s going on with the trapped gas underground?” he asked. “Is it going to seep into my basement and blow up my house? We’re living on a minefield. Even if we had good water you can’t drink it if you’re dead.”

Logan replied that the gas is venting underground.

“Yes, it is — it’s venting into the aquifer,” a woman said as the crowd roared in laughter.

‘No evidence’
Logan said he does not have evidence that the gas is continuing to flow into the aquifer.

“But, you don’t have evidence that it’s not,” said another resident.

Although Logan said, “The buck stops here with me,” he placed most of the blame on the driller, Ohio Valley Energy for not moving fast enough to install a municipal water line.

He called OVE’s actions “egregious” and repeated his pledge of last week to order OVE to install the water line to the homes considered to be affected by the faulty gas well.

Several residents asked how they could find out if their home was among those deemed affected and entitled to the proposed water line. They did not receive a clear answer.

When asked when the water line would be installed, Logan said he would give OVE 15 days to submit a plan.

Last week Jerry Morgan of Geauga County Water Resources Department told Sun News he has seen plans for the waterline from OVE’s engineering firm, but it could take months to get it approved through the county and the Ohio EPA before digging could begin.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, Logan told residents the delay was with OVE.

Who’s to blame?
An insider told Sun News that state and county officials — not OVE –may be to blame for holding up progress on the waterline.

Last week OVE’s president Charlie Masters told Sun News that his company has been trying to bring in the water line since February 2008, but has met with resistance.

Tuesday night, Logan said his technical staff would examine independent laboratory reports on the “black goo” that is showing up in well water where gas wells have been drilled and fracted [sic].

This is a change from his stance April 7 when he said, “It seems to be naturally occurring in Geauga County water.”

At that time, he further stated “It’s well documented that there are problems with well water in Geauga County.”

County officials refuted that statement.

Loud boos
Logan pledged that he would push the envelope of the law to make OVE pay for monthly water bills homeowners would face with a municipal water line.

He was booed when he said although his department issues permits, it has no authority to slow down the drilling by slowing down the number of permits it issues.

He admitted that his department is understaffed and does not have enough inspectors to inspect new wells as they are being drilled, although current rules call for the inspections.

He further said his department does not have the authority to refuse a permit to OVE or any other driller that is caught using faulty practices.

“But you’re the only one who does have control over drillers,” a woman said. “We’re the people, and it’s time you stood up for we the people and stopped standing up for the gas industry.”

“You should just step up,” a man shouted.

Logan said he is working on legislation to change current laws.

State Sen. Tim Grendell and Rep. Matt Dolan attended the meeting.

Grendell told the crowd that he is working on legislation to bring back local control of gas well drilling, while Logan is working with the oil and gas well industry on his proposed legislation.

Attorney Dale Markowitz thanked Logan for meeting with residents. Markowitz also told Logan, “You’re on your last leg.”

Markowitz is representing the 40 residents and Bainbridge Township in their lawsuit against the driller and ODNR.

Dolan declined a resident’s request to speak at the meeting.

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The Daily Review, a Towanda, Pennsylvania newspaper, printed a truly regrettable editorial in their April 12 edition.  It was titled, astonishingly, “Give gas firms a decent chance to do right thing.”   I didn’t know such naivete was still possible.  And I can’t say I can remember ever seeing such smarmy pathos in an editorial.

The people of Bradford County, fortunately, are way smarter than their newspaper’s editorial board.  You can read their comments, as well as the editorial,  here: http://www.thedailyreview.com/articles/2009/04/12/editorial/tw_review.20090412.a.pg4.tw12edit_s1.2440910_edi.txt

This comment stood out:

“Finally, this editorial has opened up a topic of interest to me. Trust. I do not trust Chesapeake Energy. Its less than stellar corporate reputation is reported on regularly by local and national news media, and CHK has done several things to reinforce this reputation since they’ve been in Bradford County. CHK, as a company, is a warrior which uses its well-honed public relations as a shield, and lawyers as its legal gun-wielding army. Every contract presented has legal wording which are the equivalent of burdocks and oil. The burdocks are there so that the contract sticks to you if they want it to, but the oil is there so that CHK can slip out at their discretion. How many people last year thought they had a lease with CHK, just to find that they didn’t? In how many cases did independent landmen (not CHK, of course) lie, evade, or misrepresent facts in order to get a signed lease for CHK’s benefit?

“I went to the March 5th CHK presentation in Athens and was impressed by the people I met.
One of the reasons that I was impressed by the CHK people was that from my corporate training of many years, I recognize consummate professionals upon sight, and the group fit the bill perfectly.

“When I came home I did a little research, and found out why the image had been so impressive. Two of the individuals were media professionals, having worked until just a few years ago for the prestigious Charles Ryan Associates in Charleston. One of these individuals plus another who will be coming to Towanda as the Central Bradford Progress Authority dinner speaker on April 16th are registered lobbyists in the state of West Virginia representing Chesapeake. These are people who are both media and law savvy. Nothing wrong with this, but the average resident in Bradford County needs to know the level of skill and experience of the persons he is working with.

“I found the third individual truly humorous and likeable. He explained that he had previously worked for Columbia Natural Resources and was absorbed into Chesapeake along with the office furniture. After my research, I learned that he, along with Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon, spoke at the glitzy, WV governor-attended 8/23/07 Chesapeake announcement of its planned Charleston WV Eastern Regional HQ building which was an investment of 40 million dollars in Charleston WV. But something bad happened. On May 22nd, 2008, the full verdict including financial damages were announced for Chesapeake’s loss of a WV Supreme Court Case over cheating landowners out of royalties (which it took liability for when it bought out CNR). On May 29th, only seven days later, the true nature of CHK was apparent when its CEO Aubrey McClendon announced that CHK axed the plans for the eastern regional headquarters as a result of the outcome of the state Supreme Court case. Vindictive behavior, no apologies, true reason revealed. CHK knows that the money it has can buy justice, and if it doesn’t, it will retaliate. No big surprise, then, that on 3/2/09, just a few days before the Athens CHK public meeting, CHK announced cutting out 215 jobs in Charleston and demoting the Charleston regional corporate headquarters to a regional field office. Further retaliation against a state government that was clearly not influenced by money.

“On 3/5/09 in Athens, the professional faces of the CHK trio showed no hint of emotion at the CHK Charleston job cuts which must have been troubling them. Even the humorous fellow, a Charleston native who had been inherited by CHK along with the CNR landowner royalty-cheating liability and the office furniture, who had been involved in proudly announcing the Eastern Regional HQ building in his hometown, who had lived through the axing of the building and now was surviving the axing of the jobs, kept his mask on securely. Only 3 days after the public announcement, any pain he or the others must have felt masked by professionalism, the CHK media show at Athens went on flawlessly. Good corporate soldiers doing battle on the front line for a flawed Napoleonic leader.

“Just axing the building plans and jobs isn’t enough for a vindictive CHK CEO. In 2007, a CHK cheap shot against WV had been made in the early days of the lawsuit, this one against hopeful royalty owners. Here’s a quote I picked up from the net.

“’We’re just finishing up the first large three-dimension seismic survey ever shot in West Virginia which, ironically is in Roane County (the county where the lawsuit was filed originally),’ McClendon said. ‘So we’re kind of scratching our heads about what to do with it.  We own most of this acreage already — it’s called ‘held by production by shallower wells,’ he said. ‘So in terms of timing, if we want to sit on this for the next 20 or 30 years, we can certainly do that. I’m not willing at this point to commit to a big new exploration program in the state of West Virginia when I don’t know how the leases that I’ve inherited are going to be interpreted by judges across the state.’

“A comment on a fourth fellow at the 3/5/09 meeting, who presented himself as the new CHK local Tunkhannock recruit. A former Chief of Staff to Lisa Baker, he has a long resume of PA state government experiences. CHK has a desire to manage its relationship with state governments productively. I am sure his contacts will be useful to CHK. The only PA lobbyist I could find listed for Chesapeake in PA is a Robert J. Wilson of the Sandstone Group out of Kansas. I have to wonder whether Chesapeake has some new local lobbyists in mind? Now that same local fellow is recommending that we don’t post and bond. I am left wondering why. What is in it for CHK? I only know, I cannot recognize the burdocks and oil in a legal document. The army of CHK lawyers, armed with their legal guns, will insure that you don’t win. I’ve come to the conclusion that it almost doesn’t matter what the document you sign with CHK says. Their army of lawyers can twist and spin words and meanings, and CHK will win in any case brought against them. And if they don’t, they’ll be hell to pay.

“The plans for the prestigious Charleston Eastern Regional Headquarters are probably still available on their award winning architect’s shelf. If Bradford County cozies up to CHK enough, and the state of PA does likewise, maybe someone can convince CHK to plunk the building down in Towanda on Main Street in the borough-owned lot next to C&N. What a feather in our cap that would be! Maybe that’s what the Central Bradford Progress Authority has in mind as it cozies up to CHK at Thursday night’s annual dinner. Only time will tell.

“Chesapeake’s ethical position is self-expressed in great detail on its website. CHK gives money to good community causes and uses lots of media savvy and more money to shore up its reputation. It’s true reputation, however, leaves much to be desired. And I will not be so trusting as to lower my guard.”

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Thanks to http://txsharon.blogspot.com/2009/04/barnett-shale-industries-dish-it-out-to.html for this story:

From Calvin Tillman, Mayor of DISH, Texas
I continue to bring up the negative illustrations of the impact the numerous pipelines, compressors and metering stations which have forced themselves upon our small community. In fighting the last four years, it has been a hope of mine that at some point the assault on our rights would stop. However, it is becoming more and more apparent that the blows from this industry will continue. Many of you have seen the massive compressors, metering stations and pipelines that we have here. If you could have seen this area five years ago, the footprint was very small. Unfortunately, this sight grows more and more every day. Atmos Energy decided to put their facility here, and unfortunately for us, if you want to sell natural gas to Atmos, you are going to bring it here. Atmos really started this mess, as some describe, they were the camel’s nose in the tent, and from there it exploded and has destroyed the better part of 70 acres of good land. However, it appears as though it is only the beginning, as there is more on the way.

When one of these companies come sniffing around, they too just stick their nose in the tent, and send their paid liars to tell you that a small facility is all it is going to be…and then you hear the rest of the story much later. They tell you that there will be a facility that you will hardly even notice such as Crosstex energy told us a year and a half ago. They tell us that there will only be a small building, that houses a small compressor, and if that was the end, it wouldn’t have been bad. However, now they want to put in some other gas processing equipment that has a couple of tanks that are forty feet high…yes forty feet! So once again the Town of DISH, gets kicked, and they won’t even let us get up. Once they get through with their continued assault, there will be one of the other companies coming to share the bad news of their expansion. It seems as though there is little we can do to stop constant violation of our civil rights. How is it that a for profit company, can decide that we here in DISH are the ones whose property becomes worthless? How is it that our peace and quiet here in DISH is destroyed, for the greater good? How is is that we have to deal with natural gas releases in the middle of the night during a lightning storm (which sound like a jet engine at full throttle)? I foolishly thought that we had protections from these assaults, left to us by the founding fathers of this great nation. I don’t recall the story in the history books that told of the for profit company, who could destroy your way of life, you property rights, and quite possible your health, as many of you know better than me. I was not a great student, but I did manage to stay awake in history, how could I have missed this?

It has now become clear that “enough is enough”, is not a theory these companies believe in. They somehow have been given the power to violate the common people’s rights, and have taken it so far as to believe that they are justified in doing so. I wonder from time to time how they sleep at night? What do they tell there families when they go home at night? Do they tell them that they swindled someone out of there land? How bout the person that lost there retirement which they invested in the property that they threatened into signing over to them? Do they tell their families those stories? More likely, they tell them what good neighbors their prospective companies are, or better yet they tell the story of the great product, and how nice it feels on a cold morning, when that clean natural gas fires up. . Clean natural gas? Come look at the by-products of that clean natural gas here in DISH and judge for yourself. As always, I will do everything I can do, to soften the blow for the citizens here, but it will not be enough. It won’t be long before every camel has their entire body in the tent at our expense. As always, please share this with whoever might be interested.
..
Calvin Tillman
Mayor, DISH, TX
(940) 453-3640

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So, the natural gas industry wants to increase demand, eh?

Here are a few reasons we need to reduce it: this winter’s rash of natural gas explosions in New England suburbs, and the lives lost:

1. One dead in house explosion
http://www.theunionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=One+dead+in+house+explosion&articleId=b0836fb5-ce5c-4986-aa7b-168dc60b083e

2. Gas leak forces evacuations in Keene
http://www.theunionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=Gas+leak+forces+evacuations+in+Keene&articleId=31ffaf73-a619-4cee-83e5-8afedc73b28f

3. Woman killed in gas explosion in Somerset

http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090220/NEWS/902200349

Before explosion, gas crew waved off help; told firefighters they could leave the scene
http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/02/21/before_explosion_gas_crew_waved_off_help/

4. More natural gas leaks discovered around Gloucester
http://www.wickedlocal.com/manchester/news/x959451230/More-natural-gas-leaks-discovered-around-Gloucester

Owner miraculously survives explosion – ‘Miracle day’
http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1147762

5. 1 Dead In Scituate House Explosion  4 Nearby Homes Condemned After Explosion
http://wbztv.com/local/scituate.house.explosion.2.889634.html

The infrastructure is aging: For years Matt Simmons, the only Peak Oil activist among the oil & gas industry elite, has been warning about, besides peak oil, the aging energy delivery system:

“If the world wants to keep using energy from oil and gas, it will have to rebuild the infrastructure and the cost of doing this could rival the combined cost of the World War II war machine, the post-war Marshall Plan that rebuilt Europe, and the post-war buildout of the U.S. interstate highway system.”

Simmons said the costs could be enormous–in the $50- to $100 trillion range. Triage needs to happen immediately to prioritize which links in the system are the weakest and need to be repaired or replaced first. Pipelines are old, some dating to World War II. The average age of the drilling rig fleets onshore and offshore is 24 years. Refineries are even older.

See:
http://blogs.oilandgasinvestor.com/leslie/2008/05/05/matt-simmons-rust-happens/

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