Pennsylvania

Energy. Environment. Economy.

Study finds flawed well casings– not fracking– caused tainted water

Water faucet

Jenn Durfey/ via Flickr

A new study finds water contamination linked to shale gas extraction in Pennsylvania and Texas was caused in some cases by faulty well casings– not hydraulic fracturing.

The study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examined 133 water wells with high levels of methane. Researchers found the contamination was either naturally occurring or linked to faulty well construction by gas drillers.

Lead author Thomas Darrah of Ohio State University calls the findings a mix of good and bad news.

The bad news is that drilling activities can contaminate shallow aquifers with methane gas.

“The relatively good news is that the hydraulic fracturing process is not actually releasing the methane,” he says. “Instead, it’s actually problems along the well and well integrity that are allowing the some gas to leak out into the shall aquifer.”

Darrah was part of a team which included researchers from Duke, Standford, Dartmouth, and the University of Rochester.

Part of the confusion around water quality and natural gas development is the fact that hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is only one phase of shale gas extraction, but the word is often used as a catchall term for the entire process.

According to recently released data from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, various aspects of oil and gas development have contaminated about 240 private water supplies since 2008.

 

Comments

  • JimBarth

    Perhaps the headline should simply focus on the fact that the failure of the well casings in the incidents studied has caused the contamination and migration into the aquifers, and the private drinking water wells, and simply leave out the reference to the “frac’ing” part? After all, the study is related to a specific number of wells, and, the wells have not been in existence for any great length of time. Who knows what further migration may occur, and who knows about other wells not studied?
    Still, the most important part to me, is that the gas migration in this study has been, once again, proven to have been caused by the contaminating, heavy industrial shale gas extraction process, and was not “naturally” occurring, as many pro frac’ing posts that follow mine, will state vehemently, and, ad nauseam.
    A longer story on this appeared earlier today in The Dallas Morning News, and it suggested that such well casing failures were hopeful, as they might be a “solvable” problem. This position seems ridiculous, as industry itself reports an immediate casing failure rate of about 6% of wells drilled, and a 15 year rate of up to 50% of wells drilled. Industry has been faced with these statistics for decades, and has not been able to stop the casing failure, whether in the Gulf of Mexico, let alone in the Appalachian Basin, which is riddled with pre-existing fractures and a brittle structure for the gas and chemicals to migrate, especially from the failed casing, which is after all, the “super” conduit for the flow back and gas.
    The casing failures, spills, dumping, accidents, and totally inadequate regulations in Pennsylvania and other states are the immediate contaminating sources. These are not “naturally occurring”, and, they are very serious.

    • Frank Chernega

      Unless you have the academic background of all the authors of the study or this man from Cornell – http://www.eas.cornell.edu/people/profile.cfm?netId=lmc19 who destroyed the idea that gas is dirtier and coal http://www.geo.cornell.edu/eas/PeoplePlaces/Faculty/cathles/Natural%20Gas/2012%20Cathles%20et%20al%20Commentary%20on%20Howarth.pdf a ridiculous assertion concocted by Ingraffea and Howarth who are Park Foundation employees, you are only giving your OPINION and you know what they say about opinions :>)

      • JimBarth

        As I predicted, want to be lessors such as Chernega lie, while they accuse their opposition of lying. It should boggle the mind, but it is a very old ploy. Chernega wrote “You claim that the migration had nothing to do with naturally occurring migration. This is a lie”. In the article above, there is a link highlighted in blue, “The study published today”. Within that report it is written: “Our data clearly show that the contamination in these clusters stems from well-integrity problems such as poor casing and cementing,” Darrah said. The data refers to a cluster of 130 private water wells in PA and Texas. It has nothing to do with PA DEP, or the information PA DEP provides in relation to the 243 incidents it documents.
        I am not stating that there are no incidents, or examples, of homes with “naturally” occurring migration of biogenic gas. Of course there are, as with radon gas. I am pointing out that this study states what I quoted above, and, that the claims by people in the industry PR groups, lessors who repeat those claims, and idiot want to be moviemakers such as Phelim McAleer, that the Dimock contamination, for example, was naturally occurring, are false. The migration was clearly established by PA DEP, and was a result of Cabot’s faulty well casing and drilling. The same results exist in this study.

    • Taylor Barry

      there is no such thing as good news when it comes to drilling gas with the well funded anti extremist who have from the very onset lied and said it was chemicals from fracking that poisoned water, In fact it was the anti that coined the word “fracking” early on and now yet once again the science PROVES THE ANTI WRONG…. they reject yet another scientific study that trumps all their overseas funding that pays their way to spread lies and will ignore the study as long as their paychecks keep cashing

      • JimBarth

        I am not rejecting this study.
        Whom are you talking about?
        As for “lies”, are you referring to Frank Chernega, who wrote that cement casing failures are “easily prevented”? Well, if so, why does it keep happening at a wildly unacceptable rate, why do the casing deteriorate so quickly, causing vast amounts of more failure, and why has it been a serious problem for decades?
        Or, are you referring to yourself as a liar, one who believes that because methane is described as “non toxic”, it is therefore”not a problem”, just vent it for goodness sake! You must also believe that other chemicals do not migrate out of the failed casing, just the methane. No problem?

        • Frank Chernega

          243 cases out of 20,000 wells drilled = 1.2% is “wildly unacceptable”??? Hate to see how you characterize 30,000 DEAD motorists annually just in the U.S. alone.

          • JimBarth

            As “dead motorists”? Your figures are incorrect as usual, and, your attempt to go off the subject is as usual.

  • David Raeker-Jordan

    So, the good news is that the tainted water was not caused by fracking; instead, it was caused by shale gas extraction. How is that good news?

    • Frank Chernega

      Because it is simple and easy to prevent. Reading the article would have told you that.

      • Taylor Barry

        As it also tells you methane is non toxic and it is also easily mitigated with a air vent on your well cap

        • JimBarth

          Barry, try selling your house after the methane level in your water has been recorded at explosive levels. Barry, try selling your house and land with a gas vent extending up from your well 6 to 8 feet in height. The private water wells are often within about 20 feet of a house. What is the value of your house now? Answer my questions.

      • JimBarth

        If it is “simple and easy to prevent”, why is the immediate failure rate 6%, and why do gas wells fail in 15 years at a rate of 50%? If it is “simple and easy to prevent”, why has it proven impossible to control in Susquehanna and Bradford counties over the past 6 years? If it is “simple and easy to prevent”, why has the industry not been able to solve the problem over the past 60 years?

  • nathansooy

    This is exactly what Clean Water Action, the Sierra Club, and other water quality organizations have been saying since 2010. It is the drilling processes themselves that cause the contamination problems by and large. This has also been underscored and documented by Dr. Anthony Ingraffea of Cornell University.

    It is the cement casings themselves that are the source of the problem. 5 percent or more fail immediately and Dr. Ingraffea indicates that all will fail eventually.

    • Frank Chernega

      Ingraffea is a shill for the Park Foundation – http://www.pressconnects.com/assets/xls/CB208780719.XLS and, sadly rubs elbows with the super rich and powerful instead of impoverished farmers and landowners – http://i2.wp.com/inhabitat.com/nyc/wp-content/blogs.dir/2/files/2012/08/AAF_8.jpg

      • JimBarth

        Ingraffea is not a shill for the Park Foundation, and, you are way out of line.

        • JimBarth

          Chernega provided a link to the total amount of grants provided by The Park Foundation, which states the total to have amounted to $5,341,979 over six years between 2008 and 2013, inclusive. This amounts to $890,329 per year average, which seems about the amount that Terry Pegula, Aubry McClendon, Range Resources, Chief and Cabot might have given to Tom Corbett with a few very expensive bottles of wine thrown in for their respective wine cellars.
          The Park Foundation gave a total of $95,000 over this six year period to Cornell University for study related to green house gas emissions, and methane release. That is a whopping average of just under $16,000 per year for this important work, which would be spread out over the entire department. The initial report was given by Howarth, Santoro and Ingraffea, for example.
          In spite of the figures Chernega provides, he has the utter gall to call Prof. Ingraffea a shill of The Park Foundation?

          • Ops45

            From the Park Foundation IRS Form 990 (2011), their net worth was $366,405,008. From the Park Foundation web site, here’s some numbers about their level of giving on environmental issues:

            2010: 80 grants for $2,880,700
            2011: 83 grants for $3,032,229
            2012: 92 grants for $3,324,500
            2013: 88 grants for $3,466,448

            so that looks like the Park Foundation spends about $3 million per year.

            Ingraffea and Howarth are both shills of the Park Foundation.

          • JimBarth

            So, how much did either of those two receive, personally, that would make them “shills”. You are writing through your silly hat.
            It is fabulous that the Park Foundation exists, and gives grants, period. Your accusations are about personal financial gain. Who gets money at Cornell, for example? Grants are given to the University to contribute towards research the Foundation determines is valuable. You are trying to smear two researchers/professors as shills of the Foundation, without any “actual data” at all. What do you see in your last post that has anything to do with either of those two persons receiving money for their personal gain?

          • Ops45

            I read the nonsense Howarth and Ingraffea are paid to write, and so did professors at Cornell, MIT and Harvard . . . all of whom point out a wide range of errors of methodology and fact committed by those two. The sad thing about Howarth is that he may have been an actual scientist at some point in his career. Once he started taking money from the Park Foundation, his “science” became advocacy. Signing the “Pledge of Resistance” for the Colorado anti’s is a reflection of how far away from science he’s gone.

            Howarth the scientist. Not really. Fund raiser . . . . he’s good at that.

            Park Foundation grants – -
            2011, $48,229, Dissemination of GHG Study.
            2012, $60,000 Continued evaluation and presentations on shale gas and methane
            2013 $50,000 Physicians, Scientists and Engineering for Healthy Energy

            Scientist?

            Not according to MIT, UT-Austin, or former U.S Energy Secretary Steven Chu: “There was a very famous Cornell report, which we looked at and decided it was not as credible as it — well, we didn’t think it was credible. I’ll just put it that way.”

        • FrackDaddy

          Jim, He is a article where tony’s partner Bob admits he was approached by the Park Foundation to “Create” a study against NG. That is way it was done with models not field work.

          http://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/topic/excellence_in_philanthropy/gas_heat

          His own works! Also you can check the Park website, and see the “Donations” align perfectly.

          • JimBarth

            FrackDaddy, Park funds projects, whether they are the instigator, or someone applies the the Foundation, at least that is the way Foundations usually work. The only primary issue is whether the results are not valid, or, twisted into shape as the industry’s “research” is accused, and most often, guilty of. Your colleagues keep repeating that Howarth’s, Santoro’s and Ingraffea’s PROJECTIONS on fugitive methane emissions from the production field, transport (pipelines or otherwise), compressor stations, and most importantly, distribution pipelines in cities such as Boston, New York (take your pick), where the lines are 100+ years old, and leak like crazy. To the contrary, Howarth’s and the other’s projections were CONSERVATIVE, as further actual data studies have confirmed. This does not stop your colleagues from repeating the initial rebuttals of Howarth. As I repeat often, time is not on the side of the industry, as the more data is collected, the worse it looks for your industry, which in the beginning, and still, your colleagues admit to nothing but “clean and responsible drilling”. In whose dream does that exist?

          • FrackDaddy

            Jim, Unfortunately you have it backwards. The more time that passes, the more the claims of 5% of wells failing right away, and you other claims unravel as each day passes with the predictions not coming true. Just in the last week there has been two studys, One from the US Department of Energy. That say HVHF does not contaminate ground water, and stays well below the water table.

            You trying to use out dated infrastructure as a reason, is nothing more than grasping at straws, when you back is against the wall. NG is going to pass through those lines, weather it came from HVHF or not.

            Park ONLY funds projects they want to use to sway public and political opinions. And are currently being looked into for there shady dealings.

            Even real geologist at Cornell say that, they are frauds and the “study” is not worth the paper it is printed on!
            Lastly Jim, I live in Susquehanna County PA! And have NG wells all around me, we drink our water, or pets and livestock are not dying, and 99% of the people who live it everyday are in favor! It is just folks from Philly, NYC, Ithaca, who tell us we are dying. It is amazing how so many uninformed people, think they are “experts” on something the have never been within a 100 miles of.

          • JimBarth

            FrackDaddy, I’m happy to hear you are not suffering, and that those you hang with support the drilling. However, there are many examples of people in Susquehanna, Bradford, Tioga, Washington and Greene Counties, to name a few, who have suffered, greatly, and who are opposed to the way the industry operates, the crappy PA DEP regulations and enforcement, and the many many problems inherent with this extractive process. I am not using “outdated” infrastructure as a basis for my claims, you are using infrastructure that is not in place to bolster / foster your claims.
            I find it humorous that Mark Ruffalo began his statements 5 years ago with “If there are no problems with frac’ing, why are there so many problems with frac’ing”. I used to roll my eyes a bit when I heard that, but, in effect, it is a proper response to your side’s utter refusal to have ever admitted to severe, serious issues. You are still doing that as the basis of your argument.
            This article is about well casing failure, and the resulting contamination from well casing failure, and you present to me a recent DOE (very limited study) stating that HVHF did not contaminate ground water in the wells studied (it can not state that “it does not contaminate ground water”, as you wrote). That study has nothing to do with well casing failure.

          • FrackDaddy

            Jim, Look to your left. That is what a well casing is? That’s 4 layers of steel, and 3 of concrete. I am aware of these folks, and have spoken with a few. Some case’s go unproven, Some case’s NG company’s are cleared, Some are not determand, Some resulted for surface operations. But one of the major things here is people don’t the difference between drilling and Frac’n. Frac’n is only 3 days in the life of a well. Casing are used in both conventional and unconventional wells. So the DOE study tells us alot, about what happens to the fluid after frac’n. But the Anti side likes to group the whole thing together, to try and make it seem evil. Just like how the turned Frac (no K in Fracture) Frack (so it would look more like a dirty word). They also push this idea that Methane is this horrible think that will kill people. But again it is false, Methane will not hurt anyone, Except large amounts and matches. BUT your home, My home, No ones home is closed tight enough to bring it to those levels. Goolge methane deaths, and see what you come up with? Also what about living close to landfills? Farmers? Sorry, but the scare over Methane is just that, a Scare!

            And you do realize that Ruffalo is a professional Actor right? And is character. Do you think he got paid like Mia Farrow?

          • JimBarth

            FD, no matter how many layers of steel, or cement, the major issue is the connection/bond/seal between the outside of the cement, and the ground/bore hole. It that fails, you have well casing failure. Think about this. This is from memory, but I sometimes have a very good one. In June of 2008, Stone Energy drilled the Matoushek well, just about 14 miles NW of Honesdale, Wayne County. This well was in violation of the DRBC rules (Stone had not even bothered to apply for a permit to drill with the DRBC), and was stopped (after completing the drilling). It was not allowed to be frac’ed. I looked at the well description in the subsequent frac application to the DRBC, and it stated that the bore hole was drilled to about 8,200 feet, and that the steel had been cased in cement from the bottom, up to about a 5,500 foot depth, and, it had also been cemented from the surface level, down to about 1,900 feet. That left the steel pipe without cement between those two depths, which was a distance of about 3,600 feet, leaving a 1″ gap all around between the steel pipe, and the bore hole. It blew my mind that this was thought of as “safe and responsible” drilling, even by the hydro geologist at the DRBC that I spoke with. This was common practice in the industry I was told. Despite this type of practice, terribly inadequate regulations and enforcement staff in PA DEP and NYS, lessors in PA, and want to be lessors in NYS, were clamoring for drilling and frac’ing. I don’t worry about Mark Ruffalo’s knowledge, I worry about the closed mindedness of your lessor friends, and perhaps yourself, who have been gung ho and telling us how safe it is, despite the obvious reality to the contrary.

          • Frank Chernega
        • nathansooy

          There is NOTHING wrong with the Park Foundation. They are one of the key environmentally aware public foundations in the USA.

          • FrackDaddy

            Is that why, They are being investigated for their political contributions?

      • nathansooy

        Ingraffea rubs elbows with people like me, people like you, and Josh Fox and Yoko Ono. I brought Ingraffea to Harrisburg to meet with folks at the State Capitol and he spoke to the general public at the Midtown Scholar Bookstore.

        Ingraffea does all of this at his own expense. Tony even bought me dinner – and I was the host!

        • FrackDaddy

          So you benefit from Park Money also?

          • nathansooy

            No, wish I did.

        • Frank Chernega

          “Tony” and his side kick Robert Howarth get lots of $$ from the Park Foundation and it’s documented here in this spreadsheet compiled by a liberal news paper called the Binghamton Press and Sun Bulletin – http://www.pressconnects.com/assets/xls/CB208780719.XLS Wherever you see “Cornell” that’s “Tony” and Howarth at the trough taking money from Ms. Gomer.

          • nathansooy

            Do you know that Cornell University literally accepts millions of dollars of foundation money per year for many, many sundry things. This is an alliance of convenience among people/institutions with similar goals. Nothing wrong with that.

            Thanks for the Park Foundation list though. I can see why you hate them so much. They have very effectively leveraged quite a bit of opposition to Oil & Gas operations in New York. Not so much in Pennsylvania.

  • Frank Chernega

    243 wells contaminated with a total of 20,000 wells drilled. This is a 1.2% rate. With greater attention on the seals and cement casings, this will be driven down to the point where you will have a far greater chance of being struck by lightening than having your well contaminated by methane, which is not poisonous but can become an explosion problem if not vented. FRACK NOW IN NY!!!

    • JimBarth

      Is it 243 wells, or 243 incidents? A contamination incident may impact multiple families, as in Dimock, where the drilling initially impacted the private water wells of about 39 families, in a nine square mile area. That was one “incident”. There are many other such incidents that impact multiple homes/families. There may be 20,000 wells drilled, but about 6,000 of them are unconventional, and, much more problematic.

      • JimBarth

        The 6,000 unconventional wells drilled into the Marcellus are the ones I refer to, not the other 14,000 conventional ones drilled into various formations that Chernega adds in. What percentage results in the equation we should be speaking about? Is it not 243 divided by 6,000 which results in a 4% rate?
        What is the relationship between the incidents to which PA DEP reports on contamination, and the type of wells drilled? Certainly Mr. Chernega has no idea, but, that does not stop him from quoting bogus figures.
        Then, there is the important point that Bill Stephanatos refers to, that these are only the contaminations that PA DEP recorded. PA DEP only records (and as has been shown, has done a terrible job doing it), the complaints it says have been reported, and it says it has investigated, and, in which it has found industry to have been culpable. What about the complaints that have been filed, that PA DEP has ignored or dropped? What about all the incidents where lessors have not reported, but have elected to attempt to work out solutions with the offending extraction company. Those do not get reported, or, investigated. Which lessor would like to endanger his royalties, after the damage has been done? I propose that Mr. Chernega would not file a complaint if it would endanger his payday! Then, there are the examples of wells drilled in the forests, that have no residents nearby. If a well migrates in a forest, and no one “hears” it, is it recorded? The rate is nowhere near as low as 1.2% Mr. Chernega, except in your wishful thinking.

        • Ops45

          Until you can provide actual data, like the DEP did, all you have is speculation.

          • JimBarth

            Right, which is what the industry, and most state/federal governments attempt to obstruct, and, undermine, real data.
            Without real data, without effective regulations, and effective enforcement, the industry and supporters have wanted, and have been given (mostly) the red carpet and green light. Those of us against, believe that real data, regulation and enforcement should exist before allowing the industry to operate in residential areas, or, at all.

          • Frank Chernega

            Sounds like conspiracy theory to me. Next we’ll read that the “Grays” are behind all of this in an attempt to take over the planet? BTW, you should begin a campaign to ban cars as they (auto makers and govt) haven’t yet figured out how to keep drivers or the cars themselves from adding 30,000 deaths per year in the U.S. alone?

          • JimBarth

            I’m not against death, just high volume, slick water, multistage hydraulic fracturing into shale. Indeed, you could drop dead, and I wouldn’t blink.
            These things are not related, except in your world, that lacks logic.

          • Frank Chernega

            You therefore should also be against USING that which is derived from high volume hydraulic fracturing? Not only you but everybody who rails against this technological miracle of American ingenuity. One of the biggest hypocrites in this war is the head of the Park Foundation, Adelaide Park Gomer, who just moved into new digs on 140 Seneca Way on RT 79 in Ithaca. Guess what I noticed in front of the building as I drove by it this past weekend? A gas meter and pressure reducer…..LOL! You, Gomer, Steingraber, Ingraffea, Fox, Van Fossum et al. are all the same. Name one person who has died as a result of that terrible process that you think is worst than death?

          • JimBarth

            I have switched our electric generation to wind, and do not have gas in PA. I am taking steps, one by one, to transition. What are you doing?
            Remember one of your original main BS reasons for frac’ing? Your hypocrisy is noted, as you love the idea of export, as it will increase the market, the price of the gas, and the drilling, making it more possible for you to have your land drilled, and money in your pocket. That is your bottom line while your neighbors who want no part of this suffer from your hand. What a patriot. What energy independence? What a dead end and a waste of investment. What a lousy neighbor.

          • Frank Chernega

            Wind is for windbags – https://www.facebook.com/frank.chernega.7 As for my neighbors, they have nothing to fear but the anti drillers and their fabrications – http://www.pressconnects.com/story/news/local/fracking/2014/09/16/fracking-study/15731735/ http://www.pressconnects.com/story/news/local/fracking/2014/09/15/study-leaky-wells-fracking-taint-water/15686961/ Any leaks are easily fixed and the Dept of Energy says NO groundwater pollution from fracking.

          • JimBarth

            Wow, you are so witty. Is gas for gasbags then? Where DO you come up with these things? If your neighbors don’t fear shale gas extraction bore holes 300 feet from their home and water well, if they don’t fear a 10 acre impoundment holding “recycled” flowback placed at their property line, if they don’t fear a pad right at their property line, they should see a psychiatrist. I hope they are going to get A LOT of money, because they will need it to relocate.

          • Frank Chernega

            Please direct me to the section of the NY SGEIS that states that flow back water will be held in open pits.

          • JimBarth

            I am writing about Pennsylvania, where it is permitted to be “held in open pits”, such as the site formerly known as Worstell, which has leaked, and has caused contamination.

          • Frank Chernega

            I have read in numerous places that PA has either outlawed open flow back pits, which are disgusting and dangerous to aquifers, or that the gas companies have abandoned them and are going to a closed loop (flowback holding tanks) like NY’s SGEIS contains. These pits should never have been allowed as there is no liner in existence that is impervious to tearing and leaks. I bet you are running for your glycerine pills after what I just wrote.

          • JimBarth

            Mr. Chernega, first of all, this internet site is StateImpact Pennsylvania, not StateImpact NYS. The fact that you, the man who calls himself “Wythe”, Fred Peckham, and most of the others that have been writing in response to me, and others, all live in NYS, all seem to be members of Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, and all seem to know little to nothing about Pennsylvania laws (and surprise, you all express yourselves as expert / genius, and call others such as me, “fool”, “Barfie”, “moron” and so forth), and then you show your utter ignorance on the regulations, and enforcement issues in Pennsylvania, and PA DEP?

            I thought it marvelous timing that Kate Colaneri’s new article is about the worst offender, possibly in the PA and Texas, Range Resources, was just fined over $4 million for their god-awful “fresh water” impoundments, in western PA.

            As for PA having outlawed them, or, even “about to” outlaw them, you should stop getting your ridiculous information about all things frac’ing related from what ever sources you get them from. Then, your comments might not be as offensive, or off base, as they are. Here is the awful current Sec’y of PA DEP, commenting in that Range impoundment article, ““This landmark consent order establishes a new, higher benchmark for companies to meet when designing future impoundments, which is an environmental win for Pennsylvania,” said DEP secretary Chris Abruzzo in a press release.

            I see zero suggestion that PA DEP even thinks that “outlawing” them, is a possibility.
            I’m very happy you see these as “disgusting”, as they are, just as a 300′ well setback is “disgusting”, and zero foot setbacks for well pads are “disgusting”, along with a lot of other nasty shi$ this industry, its PR people, and most lessors, want to allow to remain in play, in what you call “safe and responsible” drilling. I don’t see how you folks look at yourselves in the mirror, period, let alone call people like me names, and make up accusations that are false.

          • Frank Chernega

            Then you had better tell this lady to stay out of NY along with her two sidekicks and God knows how many other non- NY’ers and stop trying to tell us what to do with our mineral rights and our land – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Qv2IUc756A I almost forgot, she also excels in trespassing as well – https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=KnPfc67946I#t=214

          • JimBarth

            I’m just giving you a bit of what I get when I write on sites in Western PA. The internet is not bound by the state lines, and the frac’ing issue is world wide, not just within and across state lines. Write and go where ever you like, of course.
            I made that remark more in relation to your ignorance of PA regulations, and your acting as if NYS was the focus of the discussion, and my remarks. Therefore, I mentioned the name of the site, StateImpact Pennsylvania.

          • Ops45

            News flash: the land owners want real data, effective regulations, effective enforcement. Some of us in NY have been trying to get the state to stat hiring more folks for the DEC and DOH so we can get the next set of rules written, modify the regulations to provide for more testing and on-site inspections, and so on. The obstructionists led by the Park Foundation fanatics, and the weak-in-the-knee Andrew Cuomo, have managed to temporarily halt progress on getting New York ready for natural gas development.

            http://nypost.com/2014/09/16/new-yorks-anti-science-party/

            Just last week, Gov. Cuomo vowed yet again not to make an “emotional decision” on fracking, insisting he’d “do it on the science and not the politics.”

            Well, science has spoken. All that’s now standing in the way of the jobs and industry that would help revive our upstate is Cuomo’s unscientific opposition.

            Two new landmark studies, one from the US Department of Energy, confirm what we’ve contended all along: The process of extracting natural gas by hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is safe.

            The 18-month DOE report found no evidence that chemicals released during fracking move upward to contaminate drinking water. Instead, they remain some 5,000 feet below the surface water supplies.

            This was confirmed by a separate study published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Here Ohio State, Duke, Stanford and Dartmouth researchers found that any water contamination stemmed “from well-integrity problems such as poor casing or cementing.”

            In other words, poor construction, which can be remedied.

            Neither of these studies is particularly revolutionary.

            Indeed, their findings mostly confirm prior research that led the Obama administration to embrace fracking as an environmentally safe way to expand America’s energy production, create jobs for the American people and make us less dependent on foreign energy.

            Meanwhile, New York remains shut out, even as our fracking neighbors prosper. The question is, will Gov. Cuomo move forward — or maintain the place of New York Democrats as the party of science denial?

    • Ops45

      Read the DEP reports, and add up the number of water sources impacted: it’s 198. Some of the 243 are duplicates: for instance, one spring providing water to five houses resulted in five letters from the DEP.

      I counted 123 wells, 26 springs, and could not identify the water
      source for 49 others. DEP letters indicate that 82 of the 198
      complaints, or 41%, have been resolved. Resolutions include: no action
      required, old wells drilled deeper, new wells drilled, connecting to
      municipal water sources.

      42 of those were resolved with no action
      required: lab testing indicates that the water quality returned to
      normal with no further action required.

      There are 116 complaints,
      or 59%, where the DEP letters available on line do not indicate that
      those issues have been resolved. That may mean that those issues remain, or it may mean that DEP did not include the final resolution letters in the material available.

  • Bill Stephanatos

    Please note that these are the DETECTED leaks, not all the leaks caused by these processes.

    We concluded long time ago that one of the most important issues associated with oil and gas exploration and development pertains to the effective engineering and construction of oil and gas wells, the use of proper equipment and piping connections, and training of the employees. If wells are not constructed or operated properly, or if the piping connections fail, there
    is a potential risk for natural gas to escape from the well bore and into
    subsurface geologic strata or groundwater sources. If this happens, it is
    called “stray gas” migration and the responsible operator is required by law to
    correct or mitigate the situation. Just two weeks ago there was another pipe leak in PA.

    Please see our results here:

    https://sites.google.com/site/metropolitanforensics/stray-gas-investigations-caused-by-hydraulic-fracturing-in-pennsylvania

    and here:

    https://sites.google.com/site/metropolitanforensics/cause-and-contributing-factors-of-failure-of-temporary-pipe-and-flowline-connections-at-fracking-sites

    where we show that ill-equipped and ill-trained workers cause a lot of mishaps
    at these sites. Most of the leaks and release occur near the surface.

    Since more and more wells are being drilled, the probability
    of short-circuiting through existing boreholes and wells increases
    significantly.

  • StephenCleghorn

    From the Marcellus Shale gas field, I say this: Fracking is fracking
    (the whole process of getting down there and cracking up the shale to
    release gas). And “well integrity” would follow upon “gas industry
    integrity,” of which there is far too little. The gas industry is
    unlikely to spend the cash to do much more about well integrity than
    what they are doing now. Besides, even the best drilled wells must hold
    up in perpetuity (i.e., forever) to prevent methane and radon and
    perhaps toxic and radioactive elements of the shale to rise up into
    groundwater with the people drinking that water not knowing (or having
    to test forever) what’s in their water. Do we seriously think that our
    steel and concrete straws into the shale will not move and crack and
    leak over time? Or do we just not care about what future generations
    will have to repair and deal with in terms of the health consequences?

    • George Wythe

      Do you really believe a natural gas well lasts ‘forever’? Longer than a concrete well casings? Can you honestly believe “methane and radon and perhaps toxic and radioactive elements of the shale to rise up into groundwater”, from thousands of feet below ground, which would have to penetrate not only Marcellus shale, without fracking, but other layers of compacted earth like granite and other bedrocks to rise up through all that into groundwater?

      Sounds totally foolish to me.

      • StephenCleghorn

        It is not a matter of “believe” or “belief” for me, Mr. Wythe. I base my thinking on this matter on the research done by Dr. Michel Boufadel at the University of Pennsylvania, whose computer models tell him that gas an fluids could rise thousands of feet through the substrata, enough to reach abandoned wells (or cracked well bores) and get into groundwater. See http://mediasite.cidde.pitt.edu/mediasite/Viewer/?peid=7948d41114454ab2ae4d35c1e0f356b7

        In addition, I have considered the work of Dr. Marc Durand, honorary professor of engineering geology, Earth Sciences Dept. Univ. of Quebec who has made a case that the ubiquitous drilling into the shale (as is necessary to get the gas out economically) will leave behind (in PA alone) more than 150,000 well bores whose “long term behavior” is unknown. See what you think of his work.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vMlRc0CSCc

        • George Wythe

          They seem like a couple of anti-gas clowns who I think are very foolish because they are trying to make natural gas, the best choice we have for energy at this time, a completely damaging item, which I am sure it isn’t.

          • StephenCleghorn

            We may have to end this dialogue, Mr. Whyte. I seriously doubt the Ivy League’s University of Pennsylvania would hire an “anti-gas clown” and equip him with a super computer to study the possibility of gas and fluid migration from hydraulic fracturing down in the shale. The EPA, which actually seems to support fracking, asked Dr. Boufadel to serve on its advisory panel doing their most comprehensive study to date of unconventional drilling for gas in shale and other formations. Would they ask a “clown” to do that? I doubt you listened to his presentation. If within the next 24 hours you can tell me the gist of Dr. Boufadel’s research, even if you disagree with it, then I will take you seriously. Otherwise we are done here. These forums should not be a place for name-calling. Sincerely.

          • JimBarth

            And, you base your opinion on exactly what, your horoscope? Again, you call Ph.d earners such as Boufadel and Durand, “clowns”? Dr. Michel Boufadel was at Temple prior to U. of P.
            Who is the clown, Wythe, the man who writes under a false pen name, as you, or, those who have earned Ph.d degrees, who stand on their two feet, and whom you disgustingly call names?

        • Frank Chernega

          Computer models? That’s a good one. Better read this two news articles – http://www.pressconnects.com/story/news/local/fracking/2014/09/16/fracking-study/15731735/ http://www.pressconnects.com/story/news/local/fracking/2014/09/15/study-leaky-wells-fracking-taint-water/15686961/ The spin and misinformation from the anti’s is going to come to a stop in time.

        • FrackDaddy

          Stephen, perhaps you have not seen this! Done at an actual well. Not done with models.

          http://bigstory.ap.org/article/landmark-fracking-study-finds-no-water-pollution

          • StephenCleghorn

            Yes, I have seen it. Did you notice this sentence? – “The Energy Department report did yield some surprises. It found that the fractures created to free oil or gas can extend as far as 1,900 feet from the base of the well. That’s much farther than the usual estimates of a few hundred feet.” That is high enough to communicate with old well bores, and then perhaps groundwater sources, which is one of the facts that concerns Dr. Boufadel.

          • FrackDaddy

            Correct, Of course i read it. But you are cherry picking facts again. Lets put it in context. Here is the rest of paragraph. “That’s much farther than the usual estimates of a few hundred feet. The
            Energy Department researchers believe that the long fractures may have
            followed existing fault lines in the Marcellus Shale or other formations
            above it.”

            So they have a very good idea why it happened! And even if they went 1900ft straight up, the study also found “The Department of Energy report, released Monday, was the first time an
            energy company allowed independent monitoring of a drilling site during
            the fracking process and for 18 months afterward. After those months of
            monitoring, researchers found that the chemical-laced fluids used to
            free gas stayed about 5,000 feet below drinking water supplies.” So we are still 3100 ft away from drinking water supply’s.

            So nice try, but Cherry picking facts and using quotes out of context won’t work with me.

          • JimBarth

            FD, it is a known fact that the Appalachian Basin where we live is riddled with existing faults and fractures, and that the structure is “brittle”. The purpose of HVSWMHF into the shale, is to recover as much gas as possible. The DOE, and the industry may know “why it happened”, as do we, but the industry does not try to avoid linkage, but rather, to link up with existing fractures, in order to capture the gas within it!
            In my opinion, this is gross negligence on the part of industry and PA DEP, or perhaps better put, reckless endangerment, to drill in certain areas, such as your colleagues have described Dimock (“oh my goodness, lots and lots of naturally occurring gas, why people have been doing parlor tricks for years…”). By going to these areas of known stray gas and existing fractures, in order to maximize their yield, they are also knowingly maximize endangering the health, welfare and economic well being of many homes and families. This is especially why methane migration has posed so serious a problem in the N.E. Counties.

          • FrackDaddy

            Jim, Won’t disagree with the first part. I have felt earthquakes in NEPA (2 in my life, one just 3 or 4 years ago). But i guess we see this two different ways, If we could extend fractures, That is Less Pads, Less Trucks, Less Water, Less gathering lines, Etc, etc….. Which is what you folks want right? Including me! I think i could lead to some issues with current royalty payments. But do you want them to into areas with no gas? That would not make much sense. And then there is the fact that Methane is not harmful to people! Our body even produces it. Methane in your water will not hurt you, unless you drink 100+ gallons a day. And is easily mitigated, As folks in this area have been doing for years before HVHF. Jim i challenge to spend some time and look at the dangers of methane. You will find it actually is not that big of an issue, or danger to people. Also NG company’s are working everyday to make it better, any methane that is not collected is lost $$, and they want to recover all they can. If Methane Migration is all we have to worry about, we are in great shape for the next 50-100 years.

          • JimBarth

            FD, as I replied to Taylor Barry two days ago in a post mysteriously appearing below, ” try selling your house after the methane level in your water has been recorded at explosive levels. Barry, try selling your house and land with a gas vent extending up from your well 6 to 8 feet in height. The private water wells are often within about 20 feet of a house. What is the value of your house now? Answer my questions.”
            Also, if methane in that quantity appears in your water, it is not the only chemical that appears in that person’s water. These are only a couple of “worries” to think about. From my perspective, those living will have a hell of a lot to worry about in the next 50-100 years, if people who think like you hold power, and, who continue to do nothing to bring us into the 21st century, except by looking backwards to 19th century fossil fuel burning, as the basis for an economy, and the future. Worse, you actively obstruct government from investing in a real future. Luckily, I will be long dead before that shi$ fully hits the fan.

          • FrackDaddy

            Jim, Call any real estate agent in NEPA, and see what property values have done in the last 8 years. Land went fro 2,500 per acre to about 10K per acre. There have been a lot of homes in NEPA that already had vents on their wells (including me) since the 80′s. Most vents that are used by common folk like me self are vented caps. Also you ever see what looks like a water spigot with no valve? Those were driven into the well to let gas escape. The tall vents you talk about, are used by gas company’s, are the most extreme. And i assume they use those to try and keep away from any other lawsuits. But vented water wells are not new to NEPA. What about Radon? Home with high radon levels, get mitigation systems installed, and those homes still sell at market value! And Radon, is bad for you, Methane is not harmful to people!
            And Jim, thank you for the insults. Nothing says, I’m a grown man like name calling! But the true is shale gas is the future. Because it is here and now! Also i guess you don’t follow the news much? Because yesterday before you posted this comment BAM pushed trough the biggest renewable funding yet! But somehow “People Like Me” Are blocking it. And for the Record i don’t have an issue with renewable s, But to think we could power the world on them is not realistic. While people like you, want our government, that is TRILLIONS of dollars in debt, to just pay for everything. I like to call it Social Welfare.

          • JimBarth

            FD, your real estate “appraisal” is ridiculous, and flat out false.
            My personal appraisal has depreciated in the past 5 years by 30%. If I ask any real estate agent along the Delaware River, or in Wayne County (anywhere frac’ing has been threatened), it will be opposite to your statements. I’m not speaking about large tracks of vacant land, sold with mineral rights, but land with “improvements”, known as housing. When you are in an area that supports “second homes”, forget about what you are writing. As for you feeling that I “insulted” you, I thought I made a valiant effort not to. Your future hope for investment of more than a trillion dollars is gas, which is fossil fuel burning for energy production. This is the 21st Century, not the 19th. That is where you want the investment money, and tax incentives, to be spent. This is what you support, and if that is an insult to you, well, I guess you are more perceptive than you would like to admit, or, at least more sensitive. As far as social welfare, that is what is being given to the corporations, that are newly minted “people”. You are kidding yourself. Keep patting yourself on the back.

          • FrackDaddy

            Jim, Call any realoter in Montrose, Towanda, Troy, Sayre, Athens. They will confirm it! And you are right, in Wayne county you will find the oppsite. Not much increse. But that is so the 1% from NYC can buy up cheap land, from poor farmers. Please find some FACTS to prove me wrong on property values!

            I see, you deep seeded hate for “corperations” is Showing. You can claim what you what, and put any spin on it you like. But the facts are the facts. You can denie them, call them false, But that in no way means they are.

          • JimBarth

            I served on two Boards of Directors for more than 8 years as a volunteer, one of them as President. I was a partner who owned 22% of the shares in a corporation for 28 years. I do not have a “deep seeded” hate for “corporations”, just ones that consider themselves “people”, and those sad folks, such as you, that support them as “people”. Shall I write that you are a “corporatephile” who adores large, law-scoffing corporations? Clearly, size matters to you, but laws do not. The rest of your comment is not worth responding to, as you simultaneously agreed with me, while challenging me to prove you wrong. Did you write under the influence?

    • Frank Chernega

      You NEED to read this – http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213397614000202 A well is usually depleted after 30 years and is permanently plugged and the land is totally restored and shale is highly water absorbent as stated in the link supplied thus most of the flow back water goes into the shale, not in the aquifer or the gas pipe to the surface. NY has had nat gas wells drilled since 1821 in Fredonia and has had over 70,000 drilled since then, many of which have been hydraulically fractured which started in NY in the early 1950′s. Where are all the poisoned aquifers? Where is all the cancer and death? Save your talking points for a member of Frack Action or Catskill Mountain Rivercreepers. BTW, I have friends in Dimock and their water is fine – http://www.dimockproud.com

  • PoliticsWatcher

    “in some cases”

    So what?

  • PoliticsWatcher

    “not hydraulic fracturing”

    All part of the same thing.

    “Study shows that in 99% of shark attacks it was the teeth, not the shark, that did the damage.”

  • pghsheep

    There is no valid protection from leaks. “A leak can be caused by pressure or by a vacuum caused by loss of pressure”. Any artist will tell you the imperfect science of working with cement or clay or natural rocks or minerals.

  • S Allen

    Have there been lawsuits filed in these situations that could impact the disposition?

  • Fred Sheehan

    I want those who believe that 1.2 percent rate of leakage is insignificant to purchase a house with a well. I will then contaminate their well with similar levels of methane and a stew of fracking compounds and see how they enjoy their home and how they enjoy the fact that the home they purchased is now worth virtually zero on the market. Other studies show that eventually as many as 40 percent of wells will leak methane and other chemicals. By then, there will be no one in business to take responsibility for the costs of mitigation and replacing private water with public water. I have seen this play before. Ask a gas driller to agree to pay you 2 million dollars if your well is contaminated. If they are so confident that there will be no contamination then, they should agree, They will not agree. I have asked.

  • CBG Corporation

    Interesting – CBG manufactures and sells a water well casing inspection (CITM) tool which unlike visual inspection can measure the weight of the casing and find corrosion / failure points. More qualified wells means less issues

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