Monday, October 18, 2010

Gas drilling has blighted my life

High Country News
We need energy -- but not at the cost of clean water
Essay - October 12, 2010 by Louis Meeks


We’ve lived around natural gas development in Pavillion since 1998. But 10 years ago, the drilling ramped way up to 100 or more wells, one large compressor plant and a smaller one. That same year, our neighbors began having problems with their water wells. Not long after Encana, a natural gas company from Canada, drilled a gas well near my neighbor's house, his water well began to produce black, nasty water that smelled and tasted like gas. My neighbors talked to Encana and got help to install a reverse osmosis system to treat their water.

In 2004, Encana drilled a well about 500 feet from my house and even closer to my drinking water well. In the past, we always had clean, fresh water, but soon our water began to taste and smell like gas and the well began producing less water. Encana agreed to test the water and chlorinate it, and during testing the company hauled water into a cistern for us.

About seven months later, I decided to drill a new well since I was pretty sure the old one was contaminated. While drilling the new well, we hit gas, our new water well blew out and we were forced to evacuate our home. The state Homeland Security force and local firefighters closed off all roads to our home until we could get the gas contained without igniting it. You could hear and smell the plume, blowing 30 feet high under tremendous pressure. Encana cemented the well shut, and it was three days before we could return home.

We continued to haul in drinking water, only using the well water for household use and showering. It was during this time that we started having strange symptoms -- our mouths were dry and Donna’s eyes kept stinging.

We had a hydrogeologist and drilling experts come out. They told us hydraulic fracturing had caused methane to migrate and collect underground. That meant that the fracturing chemicals were also moving around." More>>>>

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