WATCH: Portage County: Fracking blamed for home damage by Dick Russ, December 5, 2012, WKYC-TV
WINDHAM — A homeowner says cracking walls and crumbling mortar are being caused by a nearby fracking well. Beckie Dean blames the “enormous” damage to her 11-year-old house on the drilling operation just across the street, about 1,000 feet away. She says the cracks began to appear in September, soon after the well went online. “We’ve had two contractors, two structural engineers come in, and they both said it is defintely vibration cracks and they ruled out every other source of vibration except for the drilling rig,” Dean told WKYC. Dean has noted every crack and writes the time and date it appeared next to it, on her walls and ceiling. She pointed to her fireplace which has loose mortar and had two decorative rocks fall off of it. “After that, water began to leak through the chimney into the house,” she recalled. “You could feel the mortar as wet as the day they built it.” The soon-to-be former flight attendant said she had an impossible time getting the required hours of rest before work, because of the constant drone and thud of the drilling equipment. “It was like a helicopter,” is how Dean described it. “It’s like the helicopter is on the ground, or there is a diesel semi truck outside your bedroom window 24/7.” The eastern Portage County homeowner made an audio recording one day at 3 a.m. of the noise inside her bedroom, where the windows were closed.
She has also had several visits from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, which regulates drilling. They took video inside her house and made other observations during their investigation, including recording the vibrations caused by the fracking well. “The sound is always there, you can’t get it out of your head,” she said, and answered a question about how she gets enough sleep by saying, “You don’t. You don’t. You don’t.” “Some of us have given up our jobs because of safety issues, some of us are just rag-tired, and thank God our bosses are sympathetic to us.”
Beckie Dean says her homeowner’s insurance will not cover repairing the damage to her walls and ceilings. The drilling company has not admitted responsibility and she admits it may be hard to prove. “We are stuck. We are stuck. We’re absolutely stuck,” she said. “There’s 14 wells going in across the road. It’ll be ten years before they’re done.” [Emphasis added]