Marcellus Shale US

Terms of Use

Home

Contact

MEETING & DRILLING VIDEOS

Cineplex Rex channel

CURRENT EVENTS

Report Violations to the EPA

Now Drilling

Blogs 

Chapter 78 Regs

Links

Meetings

Pennsylvania Bulletin

News Archive

AERIAL PHOTOS OF FRACKING

Marcellus Air photographs

MARCELLUS REGULATION

Act 13 in Penna.

Drilling Legislation

Engaged Citizens

Forced Pooling

Loopholes

Political Contributions

Legislation & Documents

Pennsylvania DEP

The FRAC Act

Toxics Release Inventory

SHALE GAS
PLAYS

Gas Plays

Glossary

Utica Shale

MARCELLUS RIVER BASINS

DRBC

ORSANCO

SRBC

MARCELLUS SHALE WATER

Beaver Run Reservoir

Blake Run Falls

Creeks & Waterways

Cross Creek Lake

Dunkard Creek

Monongahela River

Piping water

Ten Mile Creek

Wanted: Water

Water Mgmt. Plans

W.V. Water Project

DRILLING WASTE & WASTEWATER

Clairton Municipal

Cross Creek Park

Disposal Wells

McKeesport Municipal

Shale Wastewater

WASTE FACILITY REPORTS

2009-2010
Late-2010

Early-2011
Late-2011

Early-2012
Late-2012

Early-2013
Late-2013

Early-2014
Late-2014

Reserved Environmental

South Hills Landfill

Westmoreland Landfill

Yukon Landfill

MARCELLUS ACCIDENTS

Atlas Frac Pit Fire

Gas Well Fires

Report violations

Seeps, leaks, spills

PRODUCTION ISSUES

Intro to Marcellus

Air testing

Air quality

Before You Lease

Carol Baker Impoundment

Centralized Impoundment Dams

Forest Fragmentation

Frac Sand Issues

Fracking

Fracking Near Schools

Fracking Up Close

Gas Well Flares

Impoundments

Lessons Learned

Marcellus Frac

Natural Gas Prices

Radioactive Shale

Radon & Fracking

Seismic Testing

Sick Cattle

Talking Points

Trinity Elementary

DRILLING MEDIA & MOVIES

ALL HAIL Marcellus Shale

Christmas Carols

FrackNation

Gasland

GASWORK

MSOCC

Promised Land

Split Estate

Triple Divide

Truthland

Videos

FIRSTHAND EXPERIENCES

Shale Stories

COMPRESSION & GAS PROCESSING

Blue Racer Natrium

Bluestone Gas Plant

Cadiz Fractionator

Compressor Stations

Fort Beeler Gas Plant

Hastings Fractionator

Hickory Bend Cryogenic

Houston Gas Plant

Kensington Ohio Midstream

Majorsville Gas Plant

Mobley Gas Plant

Moundsville WV Midstream

Oak Grove WV Deethanizer

Ohio Gas Refineries

Seneca Ohio Plant

Scio Ohio Gas Plant

WV Gas Refineries

SHALE GAS PIPELINES

Appalachian Gateway

Gas Pipelines

Gathering Pipelines

Mariner East Pipeline

TRUCKING & TRANSPORT

Brine Truck Photos

Diesel Idling Act 124

Propane LPG Trains

Road Damage

Rook Rail Yard

Trucks

Truck Traffic

MARCELLUS SHALE WELLS

Gas Well Photos

Pittsburgh Intl. Airport

Production Declines

Restored well sites

Washington County wells

West Virginia wells

 

Personal account from the Marcellus Shale
DARRELL SMITSKY

- Update -

LAWMAKER CHALLENGES PENNSYLVANIA DEP'S REPORTING OF GAS WELL WATER SAFETY

By Don Hopey
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

November 2, 2012 - The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection produces incomplete lab reports and uses them to dismiss complaints that Marcellus Shale gas development operations have contaminated residential water supplies and made people sick, according to court documents. In response, state Rep. Jesse White, D-Cecil, Thursday called on state and federal agencies to investigate the DEP for "alleged misconduct and fraud" revealed by sworn depositions in a civil case currently in Washington County Common Pleas Court."This is beyond outrageous," Mr. White said. "Anyone who relied on the DEP for the truth about whether their water has been impacted by drilling activities has apparently been intentionally deprived of critical health and safety information by their own government."

************

MORE:

The letter sent to Rep. White alerting him of these issues can be found at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/111821139

The deposition of TaruUpadhyay, technical director of PA DEP Laboratory can be found at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/111821978

  

 
Some of the earliest Marcellus Shale gas wells were drilled on properties surrounding Darrell Smitsky’s home near Hickory, Pennsylvania in 2006 and 2007. Five years later, there are 17 Marcellus wells in the one-square-mile area surrounding Darrell’s home.

His family has occupied their rural home for more than four decades, and prior to Marcellus drilling, their well water was famous for its excellent quality and taste. Not long after drilling began, the Smitsky’s water started looking and tasting funny, so they quit drinking it. Strange things began to happen around anything associated with water on their property.

Darrell Smitsky's
water well sample
 


Well water with sediment in the bottom of the jar
 

Well water after being shaken
 

Darrell had eight healthy goats as Marcellus drilling got underway around him, but over a period of several months, five of the goats died, dropping off one by one. Darrell recalls that tragic time this way, “It was like their back legs became paralyzed, and I would have to carry them into the barn. I tried various supplements and other things, but nothing worked.”

The fish in a small backyard pond began exhibiting strange symptoms as well, with their scales breaking down and becoming translucent, prior to death. Water plants they purchased from a local pond store turned brown and died. It finally became obvious that their well water and surface water were causing these impacts. Even though Darrell’s family began buying bottled water for drinking and cooking, they continue to shower in the well water. The Smitsky’s have developed brown rashes on the front of their lower legs, identical to other shale victims who live five miles away in Rea, Pa.

It was originally believed that no gas wells were drilled within a distance of 1,000 feet, but Darrell later learned that Range Resources had erred big time, and that his water well was within 1,000 feet of a Marcellus well they drilled on a farm across the road. Since this "less than 1,000 feet" proximity was never revealed prior to these incidents, Darrell's water well never received the required baseline testing before and after drilling. Why is this important? Because drilling is presumed to have caused water well contamination if it occurs within 1,000 feet of drilling, within 6 months.

Darrell’s well water tests indicated serious problems that also pointed directly to drilling contamination, especially when compared to other area water well tests close to drilling. Acrylonitrile appeared at an alarming level in Darrell’s water test, being 130-times higher than the permitted level in a Pennsylvania stream.


Darrell Smitsky's well water test results
 
Pennsylvania DEP Lab 11-9-2009
 
 
Independent Lab 12-2-2009

Other contaminants showed up in the Smitsky’s well water tests done by the DEP. But keep in mind, the Pennsylvania DEP only tests for 14 things. Things like volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) and acrylonitrile are not included in their tests, so the DEP test results often give an incomplete picture of the true contamination levels from Marcellus drilling.


Methane monitoring near Darrell's home by the Pa. DEP on 9-25-10
 
Methane monitor
Methane monitor set-up by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection near Darrell's home
 
Methane monitor near old abandoned well
Pa. DEP methane monitor next to an abandoned c.1901 well near Emil Alexander's, just up the road from Darrell
 

Darrell and his well water
8-10-11
 

Toilet tank holding black well water
 

Toilet tank after toilet being flushed,
note black stain on side of tank
 

Brownish rash on front of Darrell's leg
matches those of other shale victims
who still shower in their well water
 

During the fracking of one of the Alexander's (GPS 40.2833 -80.310137) Marcellus wells  near Darrell’s house, Emil Alexander reported foam coming up out of the ground in his field. Around the same time, an abandoned well from the early 1900’s, located just up the valley from Darrell and his neighbor, started spewing fluids. Personal accounts indicate that the new Marcellus well wouldn't frack, even after repeated attempts by Range Resources. The old well nearby had never been properly plugged, just like tens of thousands of other Pennsylvania wells drilled in the past. Photos below show this old well getting plugged during the summer of 2011. DEP methane monitors remained in the area surrounding the old well.

Another neighbor comments:

At the same time of the Alexander 1900 well bubbling gas and water up and the foam, H2S and other gasses erupting from his field, my water well was influenced as well. We had cloudiness in our well for over two weeks.  I put the water in a glass and the cloudiness stayed in suspension for greater than 24 hours, then I threw it out.

The Pa. DEP was sniffing around at Alexanders and I had them come up and sniff my well for gas. No gas thank God, but Alexander's and everybody closer to the fracking site had 18% to >90% methane in their wells I heard.

I called Range (back then it was Great Lakes, or Great Disasters as I had dubbed them) about contaminating my well and the best I got was, "I'm sorry to hear about your well...." This is what really set me off against their lies. I'm an environmental scientist and I didn't buy their stories from the beginning.

 

c.1901 well being plugged
7-11-11
 

Plugging the 1901 well at the intersection of
Elm and McCarrell Road near Hickory, Pa
 

Well plugging operations and equipment
 

Rig on site
 

Close-up of the plugging work as it nears completion
 

View from McCarrell Road near Hickory, Pa.
 

 

MORE
June Chappel's story
Pam Judy's story

Ron Gulla's story

 
 

Homepage     Terms of use
Copyright ©2009-2016
Marcellus-Shale.us
All rights reserved.