RETROSPECTIVE (2008 to mid 2011)
Ponderings from Pandora's Box
Chloe Kelly's Journal of Living with Unconventional Gas Drilling
March 3: Methane contamination is back!
Guess what -- as of today, our water is AGAIN contaminated with methane. There are no words for what I'm feeling right now!
March 4: Tap water collected in a jar looks like milk
I just left a rather emotionally expressive voice mail for the Chesapeake rep.
This after pouring buckets of water for the horses and hearing and watching it fizz with the methane (never had that before) -- then watching R light the water from our bathroom sink, the classic test.
I think I'm more pissed about the LIES they tell than even the methane.
I've emailed DEP also -- but (of course) it's the weekend so here we sit wondering if the methane will continue to increase or not. I KNOW this is worse than the last time around. Our water in a jar looks like milk it's so saturated. This just happened overnight -- yesterday it was clear.
In Sept 2010, water testing showed our water was contaminated with methane, and over the course of the following year, the level gradually decreased. When Chesapeake showed up in December of 2011 to take water samples, i wondered why they were testing our water again. I called and the Chesapeake rep. said maybe we had another well going in nearby. Our next door neighbors did not, however, have their water tested at that time.
Here is my note to the DEP
I've attached the water results we just got back in February.
Today the water from our tap is white. We put it in a capped jar, let it sit and sure enough, It burned for awhile too.
I am, seriously concerned about the amount of methane this indicates is now in our water.
Again, our well is 490 feet deep so we are much more exposed to what's going on at deeper water table levels than our neighbors' well waters.
There has been drilling in the area in the last month. I know because I could see their lights at night.
I would appreciate it if a DEP representative would please make a trip here ASAP to test our water again.
March 23: Bunk, Aubrey McClendon!
I just read the article The Big Fracking Bubble: The Scam Behind the Gas Boom in the March 15, 2012 issue of Rolling Stone Magazine, as well as Chesapeake's response to the article.
"Fracking Bubble" author Jeff Goodell wrote that "the Oscar-nominated film Gasland exposed the dark underbelly of fracking, interviewing residents who could literally light their faucets on fire, thanks to the gas that had contaminated their drinking water."
To which Chesapeake responded that "Many aspects of Gasland have been repeatedly and thoroughly debunked by credible third party experts, but perhaps no area of the film has proven to be more disingenuous than the now infamous faucet lighting scene. After all, according to the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), “Dissolved methane in well water appears to be biogenic [naturally occurring] in origin. … There are no indications of oil & gas related impacts to water well.”
I went to the link supplied and what do you know but the quote is taken from the results of ONE well water test back in 2008 where the COGCC felt the single client's impacted water wasn't related to the drilling.
Wait a minute!! -- Aubrey is providing this one isolated incident as PROOF that the gas industry's releasement of methane into nearby people's water across the country IS NOT a result of the industry's drilling disturbances!!
What dismays me almost as much as the horrors of this incredible irresponsibility towards our environment and our health - still unfolding up front and personal in my world - is the unbelievable size of the deceptions! All you have to do is scratch the surface, and you find the lies.
So allow me to debunk you, Aubrey:
I've lived here, drinking our well water for 20 years, and in those 20 years we had NO problem with our water. In 2010, shortly after your industry's arrival in my county, I could LIGHT MY WATER . I could light my water for over an entire year before the methane released from the water table. Now, March 2012, as the drilling spreads further across my beloved county, I am AGAIN LIGHTING MY WATER.
Your Chesapeake representative reminds me on the phone that this may not be related to the drilling in the area. That this is just a coincidental release of methane from a variety of potential sources.
Bunk I say, Aubrey McClendon, bunk!
April 6: Still waiting for water test results
I'm still awaiting the isotopic results which both Chesapeake and the DEP said would give them a better idea of where the methane is coming from. Samples were taken the first week of March, and I keep pestering them for the info but was told by Chesapeake that the analysis takes longer because the sample has to be sent out or somesuch. DEP hasn't referenced it yet. I've left a message with them today asking for a return call so I can ask again.
To repeat, twenty years I've lived here drinking our well water with not a glitch -- the gas industry shows up and I've had methane contamination (Sept. 2010 and gone by late 2011) and methane contamination (March 2012 and gone in 2 weeks) and methane contamination yet again (April 2012 - present). This spring the methane content has been so fierce that the water boils noisily when I fill a bucket for the horses. When rinsed and set to dry, my clear glass dishes look white until the methane dissipates from them. Today even the commode water bubbled and sizzled at me! This is even with a vent added (in January this year) to our well cap.
April 16: DEP "still investigating" my methane problem
At least here in my county, Sullivan, gas industry activity has slowed way down now. Even the number of commuter planes has diminished significantly.
Today, to my GREAT PLEASURE, the air smelled clean, the sounds were only those of the birds and the winds. I savor each moment when they are NOT around.
However, our water is still running white, and the taps are spitting the gas build up when I turn on the spigots. I almost reconsidered taking a shower last night, the shower head was spitting so furiously (but then it settled down).
DEP finally returned my call to say that they were "recommending" the file on the data be sent to geologists because they don't know what might be going on, and they are "still investigating" but will be shortly sending me a letter with the data. That was the 12th so still waiting for the letter.
Chesapeake hasn't responded to my last 2 queries about the data. I've found that they tend to ignore me when they can. Nice, concerned 'neighbors' that they are.