The air explodes around her home by Chilliwack Progress, Feb 2, 1991
The air is known to explode on occasion around Lodene Clark’s property in Livingston County, Illinois.
Safety hazards, bad water and other concerns prompted the 62-year-old grandmother to fly out to the Fraser valley late last year to tell residents about her problems with natural gas.
“I’m not an activist. I’m an old farm wife with two years of college…I’m willing to tell my story because I know what these gas companies are saying. I know there’s another side of the story.”
Clark owns a house on top of one of North America’s largest underground gas storage areas. The problem is that the gas reservoir leaks.
Clark first noticed the situation soon after storage began more than 20 years ago.
“In 1968, when this field was first going into operation, the well boiled. You could see the water boiling down there like a tea kettle would boil,” Clark said in a telephone interview.
“The well got to be very bad quality water – almost undrinkable. It became so vile you couldn’t even wash clothes with it.”
Gas began seeping through the ground and conditions got so bad that Clark began battling with the Northern Illinois Gas company. She got very little satisfaction.
“They told me it was native gas (coming out of the well) and none of their concern. Bastards! Same as what companies and regulators tell us in Canada when our water wells are contaminated by oil and gas companies.
“We used to put a vented pipe on it and actually burn it to embarrass the gas company. Ha! Brilliant! Companies hate the polluting truth, especially truth they have to look at!
But the gas company was difficult to spur into action. Company officials would sympathize with Clark, but always insisted it was gas native to the area that was seeping out, not gas they were storing, Clark says.
Company officials began digging shallow holes around her property in the 1970s.
By this time gas was leaking so badly that her son would flip a match in each hole as he went out for his evening job. He could navigate his way back to the house by the burning holes.
It was proven in 1989 that is was definitely stored gas leaking, but the troubles didn’t end there.
“They plugged the holes. Then fissures in the land opened up. The fissures would boil,” she says.
Unfortunately for Clark, one of those fissures is under the house where her son now lives.
But if it collected in a basement it would explode and blow the concrete cap off,” Clark says.
That very thing did happen to one of her neighbours, she says.
His pump house got covered in heavy wet snow one time when he was on vacation. The snow sealed seeping gas in the building. When he got back from vacation he turned on the taps, which caused the pump to kick in.
The resulting explosion blew the boards off the building and through the windshield of his car, Clark says.
Commissioner David Anderson visited Clark in her home recently as part of his commission inquiry into gas exploration and storage in the Fraser Valley. But the meeting didn’t go well.
“I felt I was able to tell him some of the things that have happened to me. He didn’t call me a liar but almost.”
Clark wants to settle with the gas company. Among other things, she wants a new farm to replace her 80-acre operation.
Until she gets what she wants, she says the battle will continue.
“The potential for someone being killed is very high,” she says.
More on Lodene here: Gas Patch Lie-Ability
Refer also to:
2006: Bruce Jack Private water well explosion at Spirit River, Alberta
Bruce Jack’s methane & ethane contaminated water well explodes seriously injuring three men; professional venting of the gases had been advised by Alberta regulator and provided by oil company
2011: Lawsuit leaves large gas storage fields in Kansas unregulated
Knox says it’s unsettling to know that because of a federal court decision last year, neither the state nor federal governments are inspecting the gas field near his home, or others holding thousands of times the amount of gas that caused havoc in Hutchinson. “Any time you’ve got gas going, you need to have it inspected every now and then,” Knox said.
“If we get a leak and it’s not detected or the pipe gets weak and nobody ever inspects it, we could have an explosion like Hutchinson.”
Since the federal district court in Topeka struck down Kansas gas-safety laws last year, 11 underground storage sites with a capacity of more than 270 billion cubic feet of gas have gone uninspected for 18 months, according to state officials.
The state can’t inspect them.
The federal government has chosen not to.
As a result, thousands of Kansans live on and around uninspected gas-storage fields that dwarf the system that caused the Hutchinson disaster. …
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2015 12 31: Regulatory Failure, Corporate Failure, Inspection Failure, Integrity Failure, Casing Failure, Safety Failure, Greed Trumps All: Regulator & SoCalGas Co. knew casing was corroding, failing with major leakage problems at Porter Ranch gas storage facility more than a year before catastrophic leak
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2016 09 20: Nova Scotia: Mi’kmaq Elders work to protect Shubenacadie River estuary, Stand firm against government and against Alton Gas. Science of trouble at Alton Gas project site: Government gave approval for Alton Natural Gas Storage LP, subsidiary of Calgary-based AltaGas, to release 1.3 million cubic metres of salt into river system over 3 years to create 3 “initial” gas storage caverns
2016 12 13: US EPA Releases Final Frac Report: Rosebud Alberta drinking water aquifers frac’d, water wells contaminated with gas. EPA’s late edits to 2015 draft frac report downplayed the risks, contradicted the evidence, called “bizarre” & “irresponsible.” Like Alberta regulator official, Steve Wallace, secretly editing “independent” drinking water contamination reports to protect illegal aquifer frac’er Encana?
2017 05 01: Investigation finds Anadarko guilty, not Nature in Firestone Colorado home explosion: Investigators say industry’s gas migrated into home from abandoned flow line attached to energy well, killed two, injured two. How many homes globally have industry’s methane migrating into them, putting lives at risk with regulators everywhere looking the other way?
2017 07 30: Court bars Aliso Canyon SoCalGas storage facility from reopening after massive blow out forced thousands from their homes and the “regulator” authorized reopening. When will Canada develop courts courageous enough to justly, fairly and honestly stand up to the oil & gas industry?
2017 08 15: Legal matters: Fracking the golf course. Ask Indian Hills Golf Course, Lambton Shores, Ontario: Did nature, waste injection, gas storage or fracking causing massive natural gas geysers and erupting greens in 2015? Two municipalities declared state of emergency, Golf Course had to shut down, pay to investigate and clean up
2017 08 19: Really? Massive Porter Ranch California gas leak unlikely to be repeated in Ontario, ministry says
2017 10 16: Kansas: Industry’s “natural” gas from abandoned energy wells leaking into massive underground storage field, creating public safety hazard
2017 10 31: Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan Sues Chicago Gas Company, Peoples Gas, for underground natural-gas leak that contaminated water wells
2017 11 11: To Honour the Fallen on Remembrance Day: Make public AER’s secret “D79 Abandoned Well Methane Toxicity Preliminary Assessment” & Appendix 2 by Alberta Health, Admitting “Acute-Life threatening” risks & “Neurological effects”
2018 01 02: Netherlands: 50 years after catastrophic blowout, natural gas reservoir still leaking methane into local drinking water aquifer. No evidence of leak above ground, but water wells are contaminated with enough methane to merit immediate action to prevent explosions. Meanwhile, nothing but bullying and lying by “regulators” is done in Alberta where water wells are contaminated with dangerous levels of methane from fracking, even illegal frac’ing of community aquifers by Encana
2019 08 25: Ontario 2 years ago: In Norfolk, leaking abandoned industry *sour* gas wells forces exclusion zone for vehicles, vessels, and evacuation of 22 homes. In nearby Town of Jarvis (population 2,300), unusually high methane readings, firefighters test gas levels at every home. Compare to grossly negligent, “No Duty of Care,” Charter-violating, lying, spying, heinous AER covering-up industry’s deadly gas leaks.
2020 01 17: The insanely polluting leaking oil & gas industry! New paper on methane leak detection & repair: More than 1,600 leaks & vents at only 36 sites in NW Alberta. Think of the cumulative pollution, community poisoning and public health harms, notably as more and more companies, enabled by politicians (industry’s maids), regulators and courts, use bankruptcy to avoid clean up
2020 11 21: California: Suspected methane leak destroys home in explosion, injures two people inside, seriously damages house next door; Gas levels too high to safely investigate, source unknown: “The methane could be from abandoned oil wells under the home or nearby oil fields”