Energy. Environment. Economy.

Company drops plans to remove water tanks from Franklin Forks homes

Franklin Forks resident Tammy Manning with her granddaughter. WPX Energy dropped plans to remove water tanks it installed for the Mannings and a neighbor.

Susan Phillips / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Franklin Forks resident Tammy Manning with her granddaughter. WPX Energy dropped plans to remove water tanks it installed for the Mannings and a neighbor.

A natural gas drilling company has decided to donate water tanks to two Susquehanna County families after its plan to remove the water supplies attracted attention and criticism.

WPX Energy Inc. announced Friday that it had dropped plans to take back the tanks from the homes in Franklin Forks, according to the Associated Press. The company installed the tanks at three homes in early 2012 while state regulators and the company investigated the cause of high levels of methane, salt and metals in the families’ well water.

The state Department of Environmental Protection concluded this year that drilling was not to blame for the foul water, which is known to occur naturally in the region at a salt spring a mile and a half away. The residents have appealed that finding and sued the company.

On Saturday, Democratic gubernatorial candidate and former DEP secretary John Hanger said DEP had agreed to reopen its investigation to consider new data about the water wells.

WPX got a court order to remove the tanks from two homes next week after protestors blocked the company’s first attempt. The company already removed a tank from a third home.

More from the AP:

WPX announced its change of course Friday afternoon, hours after Democratic gubernatorial candidate and former DEP secretary John Hanger criticized plans to remove the water tanks. Hanger said in a letter to Republican Gov. Tom Corbett and Environmental Secretary Chris Abruzzo that the DEP should reopen its investigation into the contamination.

[WPX spokeswoman Susan] Oliver said the decision to donate the buffaloes had been in the works all week and that Hanger’s letter had nothing to do with it.

Hanger said the company’s initial plan to remove the tanks was the wrong move, especially given the holiday season.

“This is exactly the kind of arrogant, inhumane behavior that is creating widespread condemnation of the gas industry. To leave those families a week before Christmas without any water source takes my breath away,” he told the AP earlier Friday.

The company tried to work with the Mannings and the other residents to help them get their wells fixed, Oliver said. But she said out-of-state anti-drilling activists have exploited them for their own political ends.

“If it wasn’t for the activists yelling and screaming, we could have helped that family fix the mechanics of their well,” she said.

The company also faced criticism from environmental and investor groups who said the plan to pull the water tanks “risks positioning WPX as a corporation that is not concerned with the well-being or basic human needs of residents living near its operations.”

Hanger called for DEP to reopen its investigation in Franklin Forks based on new data gathered by an Ohio State University scientist that he said indicates that the contamination in the water wells is the result of nearby gas drilling.

A DEP spokesman said in an email Friday that Secretary Abruzzo directed DEP’s oil and gas program to “reach out to Mr. Hanger immediately” to learn more about the data. “DEP has extensive knowledge of this matter,” DEP spokesman Eric Shirk said, “and we will review any new information promptly.”

In a press release Saturday, Hanger said a DEP official called him to say that the agency will reopen its investigation.


  • William Huston

    “[WPX spokeswoman Susan] Oliver said the decision to donate the buffaloes had been in the works all week”

    HAH! That’s a hoot. I don’t think so. But Susan lied in testimony to a federal judge (the crime of perjury), so lying to the media is nothing.

    • Tom Frost

      This attempt by WPX to deprive John Hanger of credit is just one more example of how the industry is afraid of him.

      • Maggie Henry

        I think we have more to fear from Hanger! Thinking he favors us over the gas companies will end the night of the election!

    • FrackDaddy

      Bill, you must work for the NG industry if you have this inside info! And please tell us more about how Mrs. Oliver lied to a federal judge…………..

  • Vera Scroggins

    great news; justice is done and more will come out showing that gas drilling is at fault for water contamination.

    • Maggie Henry

      The is no justice and no amt of money can compensate for the emotional turmoil and the health impacts of contaminated water.

      • FrackDaddy

        But it clearly says….”The state Department of Environmental Protection concluded this year that drilling was not to blame for the foul water, which is known to occur naturally in the region at a salt spring a mile and a half away.”

        • Maggie Henry

          Are you a nitwit or something? Who would believe DEP about anything after the suite codes debacle? Under oath, threat of jail time for perjury is the only way to get the truth out of DEP!

          • FrackDaddy

            Classic Anti comment! An insult, Some name calling,a Government conspiracy and NO FACTS what so ever! Actually I have lived in Susquehanna County my whole life, And am quite familiar with the issue of methane, since my family has a vented cap on our water well since 1983 when that well was drilled. But I am sure you are a geologist and know more than the people who have lived here for generations.

          • The_White_Rabbit

            Show me a report. That is the bottom line.

          • FrackDaddy

            You filed you FOIL, if they think it is appropriate to give it to you they will.

          • The_White_Rabbit

            Still waiting from June.

    • FrackDaddy

      “Justice is Done”? What did you do to make this happen? lets be real if WPX was not the “Good Neighbor” they claim to be, This water system would be on a truck to Pittsburg right now. “More will come out showing gas drilling is at fault for water contamination” this does not in any way prove that any drilling operation caused any water damage. DEP proved that WPX was not at fault, Judge proved that the property DID belong to WPX, and WPX proved they are “Good neighbors”. because “good neighbors” don’t file lawsuits with no merit against their neighbors. So Please go back to NJ/LI were you came from and leave the people of Susquehanna County alone!

      • Scott Cannon

        All of these activist you see here made it happen. Thank you all!

        • FrackDaddy

          Scott, I see you are just as delusional as the rest! Did these activist prove WPX did anything wrong? NO! Did these activist win in court? NO! Did these activist alienate these family’s from their community? YES! Did they stop a company that drills wells everyday from fixing theirs? YES! Did these activist cause these families thousands in legal bills? YES! Did WPX gift the water systems after showing that they were not at fault in any way, and did own the equipment? YES!
          Thanks WPX for making the holiday’s great for two Franklin Forks families! We are lucky to have Neighbors like them!

      • The_White_Rabbit

        PADEP has not released a report stateing that.

        • FrackDaddy

          PADEP has not released a report stating what? WPX was not at fault? Read the Article! in case that’s to much work for you.

          I love using your our own anti fracking sites to debunk your BS.


          the water wells and spring exhibited similar water chemistry, including the constituent’s barium,

          iron, total dissolved solids (TDS), chlorides, manganese and aluminum.

          Wait….? These have been in the water naturally for 100′s of years!

  • TinaMc.

    how do you know when an industry spokesperson is lying??? when their mouth is moving……..

  • Scott Cannon

    Gas drillers, making lawyers and used car salesman look good since 2008!

  • DoryHippauf

    problem is Hanger
    is all for regulations, he views gas drilling as the least of the “ugly
    choices” between coal and oil. What happened to the Mannings and
    thousands of others the result of settling on one of the ugly choices
    instead of looking for better choices

    • Scott Brion

      Suggest you research Hanger a bit. I think you will find he is a huge proponent of renewable energy. You can check out his blog – he posts daily on energy matters and the focus is renewables.

  • JimBarth

    Holding the drilling companies responsible should be a minimum pre-requisite for the permit to drill in an area. If an area is known to contain high levels of potential methane (in this case salt and metals as well) migration, if a household has not experienced manifestations of such a problem prior to the drilling, as sworn by the members of that household (even without baseline testing having been performed), if a household experiences such problems post drilling, that should be enough to warrant holding the company responsible for the contamination that has commenced.

    In my book, the gas extraction companies, should be charged with criminal negligence for drilling such locations in the first place.

    t is way past time to hold PADEP and Pennsylvania politicians responsible as well.
    Pennsylvania regulations do not protect anyone, except the gas companies.

  • TinaMc.

    why aren’t the gas companies the ones required to do all of the pretesting??? why should someone that does not even have a lease still be required to prove they lost their water source due to drilling?

  • crismcconkey

    In regard to the AP report, I am really baffled how WPX Energy thought they were going to mechanically “fix” the Manning’s well. It is just a fall back for them; how they choose to spin it through AP. The aquifer is contaminated. Barium was detected in the water as well as methane. Barium is used in drilling mud. The gas can come from any layer that is bored. Casings failure is about 6% the first year, and increases thereafter. If WPX cared, they would have avoided drilling in this area because the geology means that there is more likelihood there will be problems. Will DEP conduct an unbiased investigation? Only if they themselves are scrutinized, and their investigation is transparent.

  • Victoria Switzer

    Very relieved for the impacted families..very pleased with John Hanger’s intervention and the efforts of many others..however, water buffaloes are a temporary fix for what may be a permanent loss of drinkable water. The question is, how many Manning families are there? What is the real number of folks living in the gasfields that are using replacement water?

  • The_White_Rabbit

    I believe great step but this is still not consistent with the way PADEP normally does things. While John Hanger cites a new study in Ohio to support reopening the investigation it seems there is more pressing concerns on typical investigations common to this part of PA. The only way to show if this is related to gas drilling or coming from a vertical fracture along Silver Springs Road (if recall the local road that runs by Salt Springs Park) is to do an “ADEQUATE” vapor intrusion study. This is common to most investigations and for some reason lacking at both Dimock and suspect Franklin Forks. Note that the EPAOSC website does have Dimock data (although no evaluations) including residential wells that is very common. The isotopic analysis is good tool but unfortunately being used to replace rather than supplement common vapor intrusion investigations in the PADEP NERO region. Elements that are likely missing from Franklin Forks:

    1. monitoring wells to define source, background conditions, groundwater movement, and vertical/horizontal extent of the problem.

    2. Soil gas shallow holes that evaluate gases in the unconsolidated (soil/weathered rock) very common with hand driven slam bars to a few feet, to deep soils using a small Geoprobe or equivalent.

    3. Sub slab samples in basement. This is another common method with basements having concrete slabs. A small diameter hole is driven through the slab with a drill, sampling equipment inserted and samples taken. This provides the qualitative potential of gases entering basement spaces.e

    4. Mobile van (PADEP did have a Mobile Analytical Unit that was used in many investigations in northeast region). Tedlar bags are collected by the sampler and taken to mobile lab for analysis. This can analyze many gases. USEPA has also a mobile lab which has been used on Superfund and HSCP sites in this region.

    5. VERY IMPORTANT. Timed canister samples in basement and living areas. These are the “SUMMA” brand type of air samples that are collected over a specific period. Typically a 24 hour valve is used. Canisters are placed in basement and in appropriate living areas depending on house construction. THIS IS CRITICAL AND DONT ACCEPT ANY BULLSHIT ON THIS ONE. THE “ONLY” WAY FEDERAL AND STATE HEALTH ASSESSORS CAN DETERMINE THE HUMAN HEALTH BASED RISK IS FROM THIS TYPE OF SAMPLING. Ambient outside air samples are also taken on each day of SUMMA sampling for comparison. If the regulatory agencies have not done this there is serious discrepancy.

    6. Utilizing meters for (only) scanning purposes along vents, cracks, and potential man made and natural pathways for biased gas movement. It is critical that methane and other gases have appropriate lower detection levels that is not really common in many field meters.

    7. Evaluation of personal information critical to health assessors such as hobbies, work history, home improvement, etc. that could influence sample results and critical to health assessors.

    None of the above are off the wall just theoretical investigative tools. This has been done for YEARS on past PADEP investigations. If not done at Franklin Forks the logic should be explained.

    • crismcconkey

      @The_White_Rabbit:disqus Please contact me off line via my Facebook Two local radio shows this week on Franklin Forks. On Wednesday morning, I want to talk precisely on what it means for DEP to investigate –what they need to do technically, how they need to conduct themselves in a transparent manner, and who oversees what they do. So, I’d like to learn more about the needed testing, and also more precisely how the Duke study is important in this matter.

  • Lisa DeSantis

    When WATER becomes more valuable then a ‘Foreign Companies Profits’ and high volume slick water horizontal hydraulic fracturing is banned, I will be here to hold those who poisoned us accountable for their actions. Fracking will affect a hundred generations.

  • Julieann Wozniak

    So they’re going to stop treating Pennsylvanians with respect now? And abandon their bully-boy, jackbooted tactics? Somehow, I’m skeptical.

  • Maggie Henry

    I really wish someone would have called Oliver out on this…“If it wasn’t for the activists yelling and screaming, we could have helped that family fix the mechanics of their well,” and forced her to explain how the noise from the activists interfered! What a buffoon! If every gas company was required to put nanotechnology tracers in every well it would never be a matter of conjecture who contaminated the water! Why didn’t hanger help Franklin Forks way before this?

    • FrackDaddy

      Maggie, Just look at your own Vera Scroggins You Tube account. You can see Activists yelling and screaming, Then kicking them off the land. I think you may be the Buffoon….. So typical of your side to just throw out accusations with out taking the 5 minutes to research it.

      • Maggie Henry

        Saw it when it was posted. Your accusations are baseless, I do my homework…that is why I oppose drilling, as would anyone with a brain!

        • FrackDaddy

          Maggie, Please tell me what accusation is baseless? And I doubt its about homework and more your need for attention judging by you profile photo. Because if you did real homework you see the values and safety put in place by DEP, EPA, And the NG industry. But you choose to accuse them of being paid off, So you like all the others on your side only pick and choose what info you think is relevant.

          • The_White_Rabbit

            Actually Frackdaddy there is no released report on Franklin Forks OR Dimock that would be common in any other PADEP program. It’s not the fractivists making the gas companies look bad, its the specific gas companies that don’t assess and abate any problems, and the bureaucrats on high management levels that allow this to happen. PADEP has shown poor responses to citizens concerns during this administration. These are facts not speculation.

            Two FOIAs on Dimock since June 2013 and still no response on final report other than the one leaked to the LA Times.

            Franklin Forks report CONFIDENTIAL due to containing residential water results. Most PADEP reports have residential water results. The names/addresses are replaced with non identifiable monikers like RW1.

          • FrackDaddy

            O yes it must be a BIG conspiracy. Everyone is out to get the White Rabbit! And by saying “its the specific gas companies that don’t assess and abate any problems” I assume you would be talking about installing a water system for FREE, before any testing or determination is made. Delivering free water for over a year with no determination. and leaving the system even after they were found not to be at Fault. You like to only report the half of the story that seems to benefit your agenda. All you have “leaks” and unnamed sources, No real facts! And most DEP reports have not had movies made about them! No matter how you replace the names and address everyone will know who it is.

          • The_White_Rabbit

            Seems like facts rather than your whining. Show me a report. Don’t believe me, go to the PADEP files and look at reports. This has been going on for decades and well before your excuses for companies that don’t do the normal and adequate reports..

          • FrackDaddy

            Yes they are facts! Which you have not provided any. But are quick to call people whiners. Come back with some factual info, Not just and obscure claim that you have not seen the report! A judge ruled WPX could take the tanks because of NO ISSUES WITH DRILLING. Unless you are a judge or geologist which you are neither it is a mute point! You just need something to hold on to in your delusion mind. You need to keep telling yourself everyone is out to get you. The facts are out there if choose to believe them is up to you!

          • The_White_Rabbit

            Judges are not geologists. Show me one technical report. You are the deluded one. Show me one fact that my comments are wrong. You have no facts just moronic insults.

          • FrackDaddy

            Lmao, keep reaching! I believe I know the difference between a judge and a geologist. Since you are going to start accusing me of insults, which I have made none, Just keen observations. I asked for a FACT you could not provide. But you were quick to twist my words, to try and fit your agenda. I will say it again unless you are a judge or geologist (one moderates court proceeding one specializes in the study of the earth). The report means nothing to you! But I assume your argument is the report says something completely different than the statement released by the PADEP. Which again goes back to trying your best to something in your movement relevant. Please provide some facts or stop wasting my time.

          • The_White_Rabbit

            Your link is to a “statement” not a “report”. So far you have not shown ONE technical document available for public review. You do know the difference between a PR statement and technical report? Again, go to the PADEP files and you will see thousands of publically available reports that have residential monitoring data.

            Salt Springs State Park is a source of naturally occurring methane and brines. Note that even the Indians were more knowledable than you and many high level PADEP managers since they knew it was rare occurrence and a guarded secret for the source of salt. The formations you use for aquifers are common to not only Susquehanna County but many areas not currently being actively drilled. Natural methane is not common in noticable concentrations.

          • FrackDaddy

            Maybe you need to go back to school for some reading comprehension? “BTW it is standard DEP operations to give press releases and statements on investigations not the full report! ” because I have addressed this! Thanks for yet another insult with no fact behind it! The Indians keep it secret so the White man would not take it from them. Well lets break down your twisted words and double talk! You say “The formations you use for aquifers are common to not only Susquehanna County but many areas not currently being actively drilled.” then why are only small numbers of homes “effected”? Is it just by chance that only 3 homes are using said aquifer? Is it possible that they drilled into the same aquifer that the Mobile Home park up the road was in and had to abandon the well do to high levels of methane and other dissolved solids? That was over 10 years ago far before any drilling was happening. Why did the Manning report the well problem after drilling and before fracturing? When there had been no activity in the hole? Not noticeable concentrations? Creek’s here have been bubbling my hole life! Seems they need quite a concentration to go non stop for over 30 years! The farm house near salt springs has been using NG from a shallow well for 100 years with no end in sight. But again you just play the “I said it, its a fact” game. You will never prove to the REAL RESIDENTS OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY anything different as we have lived with this for generations. But I am sure you know better!

          • The_White_Rabbit

            Seems that the PADEP files are full of technical reports that give data, evaluations, and recommendations. Not that I would suspect you have any clue on this.

            One remote example is Salt Spring Park. Read the park literature and attempt to learn something. Thats not a common event.

            The amount of the aquifer affected depends on the direction of the plume from the source and those homes that are tappign into this aquifer. Much of this should be in the Catskill lower formations although some may be a bit younger depending on the location. Thirty years is not unusual on rare examples that some promote as common. Again, the bottom line is to provide a techical report (not a half baked PR statement) that shows information on groundwater flow directions, lithology, potential sources of contamination, definition of contaminants (not just methane), and background wells that show for a specific area what normal really is. Without this the PR Statement is speculation.

          • FrackDaddy

            No, just like you a am not a geologist, And I believe I just gave you a history lesson on salt springs! If the movement of “The Plum” as you say is irrelevant cause it goes one way or the other, Would be more than 3 homes anyway you look at it if your theory is true. I noticed like all you comrades, you declined to comment on the mobile court with a bad well, 5 years before the NG industry came to town. And also the fact that the “Tammy’s” claimed the water went bad, when nothing was happening at the drill site. Cause that would not fit your agenda. You still have not provided one FACT to back up your point! But I will keep asking you keep playing the “I said it so its true” game if that is what makes you sleep at night.

          • The_White_Rabbit

            The plume is the contaminated groundwater if you focus and read up some yourself. The only way you can assess the problem is with an adequate investigation. For your education (which you need quite a bit) plumes can move fast in feet per day or slow in fractions of an inch depending on the flow zones involved. Some Superfund sites that are current are due to problems that started decades ago. There can be large areas with few houses or a relatively small area with lots of affected houses Bottom line is having the evaluations considered confidential makes it difficult to say and not consistent with normal DEP procedures. Most people reaize if they have been drinking bad water for long periods of time. Show the reoport and evaluations. Can you even name who from DEP was involved?

          • Maggie Henry

            Don’t even bother to argue with this fool! Everyone who can read a newspaper knows DEP has been complisant with the gas industry on screwing up peoples water and then lying about it. Telling mothers their water was completely fine to give to children. All those b@$tards need to go to jail. Actually, just being forced to drink the very water they deemed fit for babies and children. News out today highlights radioactive water being fed to Pittsburghers. Democracy allowing corporations to poison citizens, time for to dust off the guillotine, let the revolution begin!

  • FrackDaddy

    The part I don’t get is after the DEP, cleared WPX. A judge in good standing gave them an order to remove the tanks. And WPX decided to leave them anyway as a good gesture to the people of FF, You people consider it a victory! You do realize that WPX can still show up anytime and take there equipment! There is nothing to say WPX has left the water system there do them causing a water issue, But you will all twist the words and use half truths to further your agenda….But I am sure you all have solar panels on your roof, Don’t use computers, tables, camera, or smartphones, Ride bikes with no tires, Ladies use no cosmetics, And the list goes on and on………But with the way the people come in and treat people of county I guess being a hypocrite is no big deal…..The truth is as you read this wells are being drilled and fractured safely, So we can keep this county from being Spain or Greece and protect your rights to try and bring down this country!

    • The_White_Rabbit

      I use natural gas which is great. I also use many products that expect the industry to provide adequate and normal investigations of problems if they occur, and correction of problem as needed. Your arguments are illogical and immature.

      • FrackDaddy

        Its too funny, Because a “adequate and normal investigations of problems if they occur, and correction of problem as needed.” is exactly what has been done in both Susquehanna County cases. And I hardly believe that naturally occurring materials in this area is either illogical and immature. What would be considered illogical and immature, Is claiming that the DEP and EPA are all on the take and YOU thinking you need a report that has been reviewed by professional Geologist and Judges, Like you would know more…….What exactly do you think is in this report that you so covet? BTW it is standard DEP operations to give press releases and statements on investigations not the full report! But please by all means continue to call me names and insult me! I know its is one of the last things you have to hold on to.
        I am still waiting for any type of FACT from you!

        • The_White_Rabbit

          They did not use common techniques used at most sites for gas migration studies. They do not have evaluations of groundwater direction in horizontal and vertical directions or defining what contaminants are really over background. Again, show one source to a study.

          • FrackDaddy

            Rabbit, you are digging your self quite a hole here! How do you know what process were used if you have not seen the report? You are just making false assumptions and accusations.

          • The_White_Rabbit

            I am aware they did NOT use soil gas, timed canister samples, geoprobe, or mobile lab. Monitoring wells were not installed. Since you say you are from area feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

          • FrackDaddy

            So you were there when they tested? Where are you from?

          • The_White_Rabbit

            So am i wrong? What in the above post is not true?

        • William Huston

          Hey FrankDaddy– apparently NEPA isn’t the only place with paid trolls abusing people online– LIKE YOU!

          • FrackDaddy

            Well, bill I have to give you credit. I don’t where you find the time to find all this. What is it you do for a living a again? Because as we have discussed many times I in no way work for any O&G company. But then people like you and Vera, who claim producer credits on Shale Shock Media, But you go and slander people all day, Its okay? It just goes to show, How you Bill Huston are the “Shill”. Well in fact you are the one that will constantly accuse people of being paid and lying about where we live and bullying online. When they are VERY simply showing how you are twisting the facts, and using half truths as scare tactics. My point being. Since I truly have to spell it out for you. How you could possibly accuse anyone of any of these activity’s when you yourself engage in everyone! Just goes t show what a hypocrite joke you are. BORN AND RAISED IN SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.

          • Maggie Henry

            interesting find for sure! I think it is fairly tell tale that they use stupid made up names rather than their given name like we do.

  • Vera Scroggins

    This is John Hanger’s contribution to the Franklin Forks situation from his website:

    December 16, 2013

    Dear Vera,

    Over the weekend, John saved the only water supplies for families in Susquehanna County. Now they will be able to stay in their homes over the holiday season. He stood up to the gas drillers who were planning to rip out the families’ water tanks and they backed down.

    Donate today so that John can be a tough regulator of the gas drilling industry as governor.

    John’s compassion, his leadership skills and his keen understanding of the levers of power were all effectively put to use to achieve justice for the families whose water was contaminated shortly after gas drilling began near their homes.

    And the families are extremely grateful. Here’s a note to John from Tammy Manning who was about to lose her water,

    “I just wanted to send you a huge thank you for all the support and kindness you have shown us through the turmoil we have been going through with the threat of losing our only water source as a result of a court order a gas drilling company had obtained to remove our water buffalo. Given the fact that you are the former head of PA DEP we know your letters to PA Governor Corbett and PA DEP Sec. Abruzzo and WPX Energy played a huge part in turning this around for us. We are so very grateful for all your help. You are a kind man and we hope you have a great holiday.”

    Your donation can keep John’s campaign for governor going strong. If John can achieve results like this out of government, imagine what he will do as governor for all the families of Pennsylvania.

    We need John in the Governor’s Office. Our People’s Campaign relies on donations from ordinary Pennsylvanians like you. Your donation makes a huge difference in our grassroots, people-to-people campaign strategy.

    Donate today. We need to make sure John, a remarkable, effective and compassionate leader, wins the Democratic primary and beats Corbett in November.

    Thank you,

    Ed Boito, Field Director

    Paid for by Hanger for Governor

  • William Huston
    • FrackDaddy

      I am guessing its because he negotiated with the terrorists in Franklin Forks. We know America does not negotiate with terrorist.

  • FrackDaddy
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