Getting the water in your well tested?

If you are having a gas well put in on your property, I hope you are also having the water in your well tested prior to any drilling. Despite the costly manner of having your well water tested I would say that it should be a mandatory procedure. A basic test can be anywhere from $300.00 to $1,000.00. If you live next to someone else who is having a well put on their property you should also seriously consider having your well water tested.

There has been some discussion and worries about what sort of metals of chemicals and toxins should be tested for and who should/can to do the tests. Seewald laboratories out of Williampsort, PA offers well water testing that covers all the basic tests AND the procedures used by Seewald to test the water are acceptable and will hold up in a court of law. If you are using some of the other “mom & pop” testing companies who may not always follow all the correct procedures, such as “chain of custody”, or doing it yourself (which can be much more affordable – $80.00) the chances of the test being useful for a court case is pretty insignificant. The phone number for Seewald is 570.326.4001. If you think the chance of needing to take the gas company drilling on your land, or your neighbors, is not likely, check out this link.

Penn State Cooperative Extention has published this, which you might find useful if you are wanting more information about water well contamination, what’s in the ground that can get in your well and water testing.

Do you know what the Oil & Gas Fund is?

The Oil and Gas Lease Fund Act was created in 1955. As I understand it, the money that goes into this fund comes from the leasing of state land to gas companies (except game lands) for gas drilling. The money in this fund is only to be used for conservation programs that might include things like building or fixing state parks, dams and flood control, purchasing land, and maybe fixing up any messes the gas industry makes, etc. Follow this link for a better explanation.

The state of Pennsylvania needs money. At one point Governor Rendell voiced his approval of a severance tax, which would put money from the leasing of state land back into a variety of funds, including DCNR, DEP and other conservation organizations like the fish and game commission. Over the past month or so he seems to have changed his mind. He no longer supports a severance tax. He has stated that he feels it would hurt or disable the gas industry at such an early point in their endeavor. (PLEASE!) So he has laid out some other options for making money instead. One of them is to take funding from the Oil and Gas Lease Fund and put some of that money into the the general fund. There are two ways to do that and they are both explained in the above link.

There is also some discussion of the same thing in the below article from I have to say, despite some of the referencing to what the republicans want versus what the democrats want, I find that this really isn’t (or shouldn’t be) about political parties. This issue is about people who pay taxes in the state of PA (that’s all of us). It’s about Pennsylvanians caring for and appreciating their forests and streams. It’s about wanting to have a safe and healthy place to hunt and fish, paddle, hike, bike and camp. It’s about being responsible to ourselves as tax payers and public land users. I feel that the politicians who represent us, especially here in Tioga County, forget that they have their offices because we chose them to do a job for us. Let’s keep reminding them to do it right.

Cabot Oil Acts on PA Orders

By George Basler of the Star Gazette

DIMOCK, Pa. — Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. plans to comply “as quickly as possible” with an order from Pennsylvania state regulators so it can resume hydrofracturing operations in Susquehanna County, a company spokesman said Monday.

The company has been in contact with the Department of Environmental Protection to hold an administrative conference in the next seven days to discuss the steps that must be undertaken by Cabot, said company spokesman Ken Komoroski.

The DEP issued the order after three separate spills of a gel-like lubricant at the Heitsman site in a week. In a release issued, Sunday, Cabot said the first two spills were caused by failed piping connections between the frac tanks holding a fresh water supply and the equipment used to pump the fluid into the shale formation. The third spill was caused by a pressure surge that caused a hose to rupture.

The spills polluted a wetland and caused a fish kill in Stevens Creek, the department said.

“Three spills at one location is unacceptable to us,” Komoroski said.

To comply with the DEP order, Cabot has started work on engineering and safety reports, Komoroski said. They include preparing an updated Pollution Prevention and Contingency Plan and an updated Control and Disposal Plan within 14 days, and conducting an engineering study of all equipment and work practices at hydrofracturing well sites within 21 days.

Meanwhile, Dan O. Dinges, president and CEO of Cabot, said the company is committed to “the timely resumption of our fracking operations” and is working cooperatively with state regulators, even though it’s “disappointed” with the DEP order and disagrees with several of its allegations.

The DEP order, issued Friday, applies to a Heistman well site in Dimock Township, and seven other wells that Cabot is now drilling in Susquehanna County. Cabot can continue work to drill the wells.

Cabot has not calculated how much the work stoppage will cost the company, Komoroski said.

“Basically, we’re focused on incidence avoidance, not how much it’s costing,” he said.

Charleston Gazetee WV, Coverage of Dunkard Creek

If you have time to check out this link, do so. And make sure you scroll down and read the comments and check out the posted links from those making the comments. All sorts of thoughts and information here. After checking over this site and reading all the comments from the NPR story yesterday, I am rather upset by the number of spills and damage reports that have not made any big news waves. It seems there is all sorts of smaller stuff going on and in general I feel that, as usual, the media is not doing a very good job of covering it. Well, some local papers and online sites are doing a very good job while others seem to pick an choose what information to discuss and pretend the rest of the story is not going on. I’m still waiting for NPR to redeem themselves……

This blog has a good write up on the indeterminate factors of what is killing the life in Dunkard Creek.