Possible New Case of Methane Migration Near PA Gas Wells

A potential case of methane migration from nearby Marcellus Shale gas well drilling is being investigated by the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in Bradford County, PA. Three residential water wells and two streams have high levels of methane. A Chesapeake drilling operation is located about a half mile from the residential water wells.

Methane gas has bubbled to the surface in three residential water wells and two streams in Bradford County, in northeastern Pennsylvania, near a Chesapeake Energy Marcellus Shale gas drilling operation.

The state Department of Environmental Protection said it, along with Chesapeake, is continuing to investigate the source of the methane gas that began showing up in the water wells, two tributaries of Towanda Creek and a nearby wetland in Leroy Township on Tuesday.

Chesapeake’s Morse well pad, which has two Marcellus gas wells, is about a half mile from the affected homes, according to a statement issued Thursday by Dan Spadoni, a DEP spokesman.

Mr. Spadoni said DEP Oil and Gas Program staffers collected gas samples at both wells on Tuesday for the purposes of running isotopic gas fingerprinting tests. On Wednesday, DEP staff monitored water wells that were bubbling with methane and checked the homes for methane.*

According to the DEP, Chesapeake has already installed methane venting and monitoring equipment on all three residential water wells. Methane won’t harm you if you drink it—but if enough of it collects in a well, it can explode.

MDN will keep an eye on this story as it develops.

*Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (May 24, 2012) – Methane gas found in three wells, two streams