New Cases of Methane Water Well Contamination by Cabot in PA

Three private water wells in Lenox Township (Susquehanna County), PA have been contaminated with methane from nearby Marcellus Shale drilling done by Cabot Oil & Gas according to the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Cabot has installed methane detection alarms in the three homes and has vented the affected wells.

An investigation by the Department of Environmental Protection determined that the gas migrated from at least one of three Marcellus Shale wells drilled on the Stalter well pad about half a mile west of Interstate 81 in Susquehanna County.

The gas was found seeping into three water supplies beginning in August 2011. A fourth water well for a hunting cabin is still being evaluated, DEP spokesman Daniel Spadoni said.

Video taken from inside one of Cabot’s gas wells showed that a string of steel casing meant to seal off the aquifer from gas and other contaminants was improperly constructed, according to a notice of violation sent to the company by DEP in September.

Methane was also found between the cemented strings of casing in all three gas wells on the Stalter pad, a sign state regulators view as evidence of flaws in a well’s construction.

The dissolved methane in one nearby water supply jumped from 0.3 milligrams per liter before drilling began to 49 milligrams per liter on Aug. 16 and 57 milligrams per liter on Aug. 18, according to the violation notice.*

Cabot is also in the epicenter of the ongoing situation in nearby Dimock Township, PA for methane contamination of 19 water wells there—a claim they dispute. See MDN’s related stories on Cabot and Dimock.

*Wilkes-Barre The Citizens’ Voice (Jan 9, 2012) – DEP: Cabot drilling caused methane in Lenox water wells

  • Anonymous

    Here we go again.  More water wells being contaminated by methane.  We constantly deal with many dire conditions “after the fact” instead of taking knowledgeable prevention actions beforehand.  The people dealing with contaminated water wells are results of others’ unwanted actions and under PA laws, you can’t stop those committing the offense, the gas drilling companies.  These peoples’ water wells were perfectly fine before drilling began.  This site fails to acknowledge reputable ongoing studies stating side effects of drilling because of current attitude toward our needs for a new fossil fuel and monies involved.  When it’s all said and done, our land is being raped, many times for gas needs by foreign nations, and our residents are paying the price.  Slow down, you are moving too quickly.  Studies take time and all opposition to this unconventional gas drilling are not ditzes, as you would have your readers believe. 

  • jwozniak

    What what lies Cabot will spin to explain these new incidents away. Clearly, something is terribly wrong with this company’s well casings, but rather than address and correct the problem like a good corporate citizen, Cabot goes for the old standby of deny everything and blame the victim.

  • Anonymous

    From what I read in this article JW, Cabot screwed up, They improperly installed the steel casings and concrete barrier around those casings. As I wrote in other posts, companies that do not follow the proper drilling regulations should be punished heavily financially and sanctioned.If there are more cases found of the same company cutting corners, they should be banned from drilling all together. I believe I speak for all Pro’s of drilling/ landowners, that none of us want these types of companies drilling period. I also believe that the DEP did not do it’s job inspecting those wells casings prior to fracking and they should be under investigation also. But how many wells are there right now in the nation producing gas and having “No” environmental issue? I would say thousands!!  All this article says is that there is a sub-par company out there cutting corners and on top of that not being supervised properly. Both should be made an example of. It does not however negate the process when done correctly and properly supervised. All we will here in the future to bolster the Anti movement is the accidents, spills, and Greed of the Drilling industry. What we wont see in the news( except MDN of course) is the success stories, like “Landowner able to keep his farm from foreclosure because of Natural Gas”, or Big Gas company pours Millions into small town businesses and schools” or ” Look at all the Gas that is be recovered worth Millions, makes boring news and most readers don’t like other peoples successes. Do your homework JW there is less than one half of 1 % of active fracking wells in the nation having any issue at all, and the ones that do have issues are because of faulty implementation and oversight. 

  • Jim Willis

    Excellent points all.

  • Anonymous

    Actually you folks need to research a town call Rifle in western Colorado. Once the people stopped treating them(oil companies, drilling contractors, and service people such as halliburton) like a plague the town grew from a dusty cattle town to being a great place to be with a good chance at getting a decent job. I seriously mean brand new everything. These “evil” contractors paved roads, gave money to schools, and put money into conservation. People started businesses in a place where it would have never worked before and they flourished. I was there and saw it happen for four years. The oilfield put that place on the map. Mistakes are made sometimes but never on purpose, remember that these are much more expensive for the company than just paying for it to be done right in the first place. You people don’t know enough about what you are talking about to start pointing your fingers. I’m not saying they should not be accountable when things are not done properly, but thinking this will go away is just insane. They pay big money for these leases and they aren’t going to just stop drilling on them and they don’t have to. It will be a while before it settles down and I can promise you there is more to come. It fluctuates with the rise and fall of gas prices. If you do happen to google Rifle, Co you will find bad things that happened, but they were mistakes and they were corrected. Stop being negative nancies and look at that communities growth in the last decade, also look at the billions in revenue western CO lost when they stopped drilling due to cry babies just like yourself.

  • Anonymous

    Not all ditzes, but most are to ignorant to what really goes on to make an intelligent assessment. Also while you are waiting on your studies and test results the next winter might really be cold and you might wish you could heat your home a little bit cheaper. It’s natural gas and they aren’t pumping it to a third world country. It’s being used here by us.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for your comments Oil man, I have been answering comments made by jwozniak who is an uneducated/ uninformed Anti for months. When push comes to shove all her/his comments are a lot of hot air,with nothing of value to give on this web site. I will always answer her/his whining, pointing fingers comments  with as much ” Fact” as possible. It usually shuts her/him up for a while until she/he can blurt out another, Anti trash speech.So rock on with that!!On your comment about ” Mistakes” happen I can relate accidents do happen, a spill, a truck over turns, etc, but not the drilling process. There are literally thousands of wells being drilled today with “No” ill effects at all. So when there is a “Leak” because “Improperly” installed casings or the concrete surrounding those casings were not poured to standards, that is completely unacceptable. Make no mistake here,  I’m very Pro drilling!!, I also want to shut up all the Anti’s comments from news like the above. Its a dangerous business with horrible consequences when those” Mistakes” happen and with all the Anti sentiment going around about this process those companies that are spending millions of dollars leasing and drilling should take ” Extra” care to prevent accidents like this. There is the right way, following the strict protocol to drill, and there is the cost cutting, side stepping ways around to save money.I’ve been in construction long enough to know both. In order for this to work so it quells the Anti’s screams it MUST be done right, period. It doesn’t matter how much any of us really know about the extraction process or not, but perception is everything. Fracking is under the microscope everywhere, the Anti’s are trying to stop it at all costs, with that said every drilling company must be extremely careful on how they proceed, on how they are perceived by the general public, and do everything in their power to protect the environment they are working in. This is not a time to cut corners or make mistakes. I say drill baby drill, but drill safely and ethically with your neighbor in mind.

  • Anonymous

    Hooray for that, but like everything new that is introduced in this country ( NG is not new ), it is first met with complete opposition ( OPEC) . Then eventually when the general public understands that it will save them thousands a year on heating and powering their vehicles, it will be embraced. OPEC has a foot on everyone’s throat in this country right now, we are dependent on OIL right now, but the winds of change are here and there is nothing they can do about it anymore. It will be a slow painful process to get off the OIL drug. But even the huge companies( Exxon, Shell) are caving in to the future. Just a matter of time and educating the public on what we have here. There are so many people I talk to that have not got a clue as to the abundance of Natural Gas we have in this country, but slowly I see T.V., advertising,radio, newspapers are getting the word out.Just a matter of time.

  • Anonymous

    No sweat. I really hate being misjudged by those who know absolutely nothing about what they are talking about. It would be about the equivilant of me walking into an ER and telling the surgeon he was doing it wrong. I am here to stay, and there are many more like me. I am second generation oil (gas) field and anything I have ever owned from the time I was a child until now came from monies the oil field brought my family. I have almost nine years in it now and do not plan on doing anything but staying and making the money there is to be made for the considerable future. I do not know everything about everything as there are many aspects to this business from the time the rigs are brought in to the time the wells are opened up to the pipeline. However I know plenty enough to stop anyone with ignorant comments dead in their tracks as long as they are not so biased that they can’t see the forest for the trees. I am currently a directional driller for one of the largest oilfield service companies in the world. I started at the bottom and worked my way up to where I am now covering over ten states and the gulf of mexico so I have considerable experience to draw my conclusions from on what I don’t know as well as state cold hard facts. So anyone with a challenge or thinks they know something because they googled it can reply back.

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