Shaky streambed in Bradford County tied to stray methane

Shaky streambed in Bradford County tied to stray methane by Laura Legere, May 30, 2012, The Times Tribune
Methane bubbling up through a creek in Bradford County has covered the stream bottom with a pale mud and given the rocky streambed the consistency of wobbly pudding as the state and a natural gas drilling company investigate the source of the gas found in two streams, three water wells and a wetland in Leroy Twp. Video of the stream taken this weekend shows Don Williams, a blogger and advocate for protecting the Susquehanna River, standing atop the unsteady streambed and causing the rocky soil to bulge and ripple. … The Department of Environmental Protection believes that the “milky appearance” of the creek is caused by methane moving fine sediment through the bottom of the stream, spokesman Daniel Spadoni said. The theory is “based on our past experiences with this same kind of occurrence,” not sampling of the sediment, Mr. Spadoni said. “We have previously confirmed the presence of methane in this area and believe the condition in the stream is related to the methane gas migration,” he said. … Three water wells have been vented to allow any trapped gas to escape, and the homes have been provided with water treatment units or replacement bulk water and methane monitoring alarms. A fourth home is receiving bottled water because a resident requested it as a precaution, Mr. Spadoni said. Gas has also been found bubbling in a wetland and two small tributaries to Towanda Creek. … Methane occurs naturally in some water wells in the state. It has also been tracked to faulty cemented barriers in natural gas wells. One of the wells on the nearby Chesapeake pad, the Morse 5H, was cited by DEP inspectors in August 2010 for having “improper casing to protect fresh groundwater.” A follow-up inspection in August 2011 found that the violation had not been corrected, according to DEP’s compliance database. DEP has not yet made a final determination on the compliance status of the well, Mr. Spadoni said.

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