Methane bubbling in Fish Creek by Casey Junkins, October 17, 2010, The Intelligencer
“As soon as they ‘fracked’ those gas wells, that’s when my water well started getting gas in it,” Magers said…. Amid confirmed reports of drilling-related explosions, fires and gas leaks throughout Marshall County during the past few months, Magers now believes fracturing is responsible for making his water well useless. “It is about 1,200 feet from their gas wells to my water well,” he said. “I am right across the creek from that drilling site. … I first noticed it when we ran out of water. When I looked down the well, I could see the bubbling.” In addition to plugging up his water well, Magers said the methane can sometimes be seen bubbling up in the creek.
“Somebody’s got to do something about this,” he said. Magers said he called the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Oil and Gas to investigate the problem. Office Chief James Martin said his department has investigated Magers’ problems. “We have been to his residence. Comparisons were made between different water samples,” Martin said, noting he cannot yet pinpoint the cause of the methane release. Faced with these continuing problems, Magers hired Moundsville attorney Eric Gordon, who then employed an Elkins, W.Va., firm by the name of EEI Geophysical Earth Science Consultants to investigate his environment. Magers said an oil and gas official told him the release of the methane was probably due to coal mining that had taken place in the area. However, the report compiled and signed by EEI Adjuster John Hempel notes that it is, “unlikely that the mining taking place 3,500 feet from the emission point has in any way caused the migration, or the generation of the gas being emitted from the Magers’ water well.” “The contamination of the Magers’ well may come directly from the production of the oil and gas around the home,” Hempel’s assessment continues. “It is also unlikely that mining could have caused the bubbling up of methane in Fish Creek … ,” Hempel’s report adds. On the final page of the report, Hempel wrote, “It is likely that he cause of the gas venting at this home originates either with the new oil and gas drilling around the home, or from gas escaping from the Columbia Gas storage field.”
Chesapeake Director of Corporate Development Stacey Brodak, responding via e-mail, noted Chesapeake has addressed the issues at Magers’ property.