Has The Truthland™ 8H Frack Well Ruined The Water Table?
Scott Cannon’s video camera is loaded for bear.
Routinely stonewalled by state agencies like the DEP, Resources Environmental, Fish and Boat, or the many other offices they’re told to call, Pennsylvanians have been quick to recognize that it’s up to them to put the impacts of industrial shale gas drilling on record. Official documentation of the damage inflicted by the industry on land, air and water may be slow to emerge, if ever.
Filmaker Cannon and Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition have long chronicled the devastating impacts of shale gas development in the epic The Marcellus Shale Reality Tour series. Here, the fifth installment covers events occurring in Franklin Forks, PA, not long after several frack wells were drilled nearby. It’s a perplexing and pathetic irony that four of those wells are on property owned by the Depues, the perky Truthland family seen sprawled across sofas, slamming Gasland, referring to it as “this little movie.” Y’know, the ones with the bubbling annulus.
Marcellus Shale Reality Tour, Part 5: Truthland Erupting Water Well
“This is what you’re gonna ruin. I mean, ya gonna ruin the whole state? Eventually?”
Uploaded by: gdacoalition.org
GDAC notes: The video Truthland features a woman seeking the truth about gas drilling. What they don’t tell you is that she and the gas company who drilled are being sued for methane migration problems by a family living nearby. There are 10 wells on her pad. WPX Energy Gas has been fined for faulty well casings there. State regulators are investigating the cause of high methane levels in three Susquehanna County water wells after residents reported gray or black sludgy water, and one home’s well began to erupt water through its cap.
The Department of Environmental Protection has not yet determined if natural sources, nearby natural gas drilling operations or some other cause has mobilized methane and metals into drinking water supplies. Inspectors were in the township hamlet of Franklin Forks on Wednesday to take a second round of samples from water wells.
DEP officials originally indicated to residents in January that the likely source of the gas was a natural methane seep documented for over a century in nearby Salt Springs State Park.
But the chemical markers of the Salt Springs methane have been well characterized by scientists and the department is just now in the process of determining the signature of the gas found in the water wells to compare to the seep.
Analyzing the stable carbon isotopes – a form of chemical fingerprinting of the gas – “could prove fruitful” in this case because Salt Springs is so well documented, DEP spokeswoman Colleen Connolly said.
The department also is considering the potential impact of nearby Marcellus Shale drilling on the water supplies.
“Everything is still part of the investigation,” she said. “We’re not ruling anything out.”
DEP cited WPX Energy for defective casing or cement in two of the natural gas wells closest to Franklin Forks last year. The nested strings of steel casing and cement are meant to protect aquifers from gas and other fluids in the wells, but flaws in the barriers have caused methane to migrate into water supplies throughout the region, most notably in Bradford County and Dimock Twp. 15 miles south.
DEP inspectors also found gas bubbling from between the casing strings on three more WPX wells on the same two well pads – the DePue and Hollenbeck – although those wells were not cited for violations. Bubbling is often viewed by state regulators as an indication of a leak or defect in a well’s construction.
WPX is an exploration and production company recently spun off from Williams Companies.
DEP is evaluating the WPX wells as part of its investigation, but it has not named any responsible party and has not ordered any company to replace or restore the water supplies, Ms. Connolly said.