1. Ask your drilling company to put in writing that all of
their employees and all of their sub-contractors employees have
passed background checks and have no criminal record. Remind
them that you are concerned for your children's safety and
protection of your home.
2. When the drilling
company sends someone out to do your pre-drill water sampling ask
for at least two weeks notice so you can have another water company
of your choice (that you will pay) to be present to do a
"split sample". You will want to do the same for your
post-drill sample. Ask them what "EPA Method" they will be
using so you can make arrangements with your testing facility.
In 2015, the required
distance for pre-drill well water testing was 2,500 feet, which is
an increase from the early days of Marcellus Shale drilling when it
was only 1,000 feet.
Marcellus Shale Leaseholds
as of June 2011
1.67 million acres
1.2 million acres
National Fuel Gas:
Royal Dutch Shell:
3. Ask for specifics
on where their entry road will be, expected hours of use and the volume
4. Would they
consider moving the road to the very edge of your property?
Express your concerns over the safety of your children playing in
your yard, the constant noise and the fact that your property value
This road will be used frequently for many years following drilling,
so try to situate it accordingly.
5. Ask how they will
control dust on the access roads on your property. Do they
intend to wet the roads? In the State of
PA drillers are allowed to spray brine (used frac fluids) on their
construction roads to control dust. They have to receive
permission from the DEP once a year to spray. No testing or
monitoring is probably done. This will eventually make it into
6. Where do they plan
to obtain the millions of gallons of water they will need to do the
drilling and fracing? At one Pennsylvania site the driller put on
their permit application that they needed approximately 100,000 gallons
for each well drilled and approximately 6 million for
each well fracked. Most pads have multiple wells. Some
well pads permitted in 2015 have as many as 24 wells.
7. Where do they
intend to store the millions of gallons of flowback or produced water? Are they
planning an impoundment dam? Freshwater only, or also
wastewater? Since many of the drillers are now recycling water
they use wastewater impoundments. How long will the open air impoundment
be in use on your property? Will you be notified if they switch it
from holding clean water to wastewater?
8. Do you have any water sources on the land, like springs,
creeks or ponds? Ask the driller to sample any of these, pre-
and post-drill. Ask for a split sample on these too.
9. During the frac
and flare, will they consider putting your family in a hotel?
Mention you have concerns over the VOC's that will be emitted from
the flaring. These emissions are very toxic.
10. How long do they
anticipate the following will take (ask for this in writing)
-install the road
-install the pad
-install the impoundment
-collect the water required
11. What does the
driller do with the frac pit liner after the frac? In PA, they
are allowed to bury the liner 18 inches below the surface. The
liner may still have drilling materials in it. They can leave
in the remnants of any solids brought to the surface during the frac
which could include radioactive materials. Photo below: Drilling pad
flow pit getting buried.
12. Any plans for a compressor station or processing facility on
your land or neighboring land? These are sources of noise, vibration
and considerable air pollution 24-7.
13. Are you leasing rights to only
Marcellus Shale or all the other sources of natural gas and
petroleum beneath your land too? You can specify which
formations your lease covers, instead of it being to the 'center
of the earth.' Someday, they may drill deeper to
the Utica Shale, Trenton-Black River, Point Pleasant or another formation, once the
Marcellus Shale gas production declines.
14. Lease term. You may sign a gas
lease for 5 years, but your lease can he "held by production" and
extended, even if they only move an excavator onto your land the
last day of the lease.
15. Privacy lost. Once you have gas
wells on your property, there may be daily truck traffic to the well
sites by well keepers and unknown personnel. Specify in your
lease where roads and wells will be located.
16. There is much more in "wet gas"
from Marcellus Shale than just methane. Be sure your lease includes
payment for other products like propane, butane, ethane and drip
17. Expenses. Will the drilling
company be deducting expenses from your royalty payments for things
like drying, transportation and storage? Some royalty payments are
being reduced by nearly half for expenses like these.