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