Folks drill for truth, pay for water test, Advise to get all frack facts before signing away anything

Folks drill for truth, pay for water test, Advise to get all frack facts before signing away anything by Monica Pryts, August 21, 2012, Allied News
BUTLER, LAWRENCE, MERCER COUNTIES — Some area residents concerned about the lasting impacts gas and oil drilling will have on their land, the environment and water supplies are taking matters into their own hands. “I don’t want to cause problems, but I don’t trust Shell,” said Dr. Theodore Kneupper…. Kneupper’s trust issues with Shell aren’t anything new. Mrs. Hogg, who passed away in 2008, signed a 10-year lease in 2003 for Shell to drill on her land, something she agreed to mainly because she heard “everyone else was doing it,” he said. “We just don’t know the dangers involved,” Kneupper said of the “fracking” process and its long-term effects. … But the gas companies don’t have scientific proof to show it is safe, despite their “good public relations” tactics, said Kneupper, who’s testing his own well water. “They’re trying to paint a rosy picture…We’re playing Russian roulette with the state’s water supply,” he said. Shell left the Kneuppers alone until this April, when the company said it wanted to put a drill pad 500 feet from the family’s home once work on the Williams property was under way. “We were just devastated,” he said of knowing they couldn’t stop Shell because of the still-active lease agreement. The family’s lawyer reviewed the lease, saying it was “terrible” because it gives the Kneuppers “hardly any rights” as the property owners. … And while Shell claims to be conducting adequate testing of surrounding water wells like the one the Kneuppers have on their property, it’s not good enough, he said. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection requires companies like Shell to do a “Tier 2” test to get baseline results and look for contaminants, Kneupper said. “Tier 3” is the most extensive level of testing but also the most expensive, about $1,000 for one reading. Kneupper paid for a Tier 3 test of his water, which he sent to an independent lab, and he expects baseline results in a few weeks. He consulted the Penn State Cooperative Extension office for advice and it recommends the Tier 3 testing for your water twice a year for the next 30 years if there’s fracking activity near your home. “We could be drinking toxic water,” he said, calculating the cost of Tier 3 testing to be at least $60,000 over 30 years. “Those prices are gonna go up.” … He tried to address his concerns in February, when Shell hosted a town-hall-style meeting at Slippery Rock University for area property owners, but they wouldn’t answer his questions during or after the session, or even later by email. [Emphasis added]

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