Water woes, Wells contaminated at site of gas leak

Water woes, Wells contaminated at site of gas leak by David Bruce, July 26, 2008, Erie Times-News
Steiner, 67, is one of the five homeowners on Head Drive who were forced to leave their homes for 40 days in late 2007. Potentially explosive levels of methane were detected in and around their southwestern Millcreek Township homes in November. The residents were evacuated until a nearby church capped one of its new gas wells, and the methane dissipated around Christmas. More than six months later, the air is safe on Head Drive. But the water isn’t. “I won’t drink the water,” said Steiner…. “I buy bottled water.” State officials have tested Steiner’s water and told him in a letter that it contained amounts of iron, manganese and other contaminants above the standards for safe drinking water. It also had enough natural gas to pose “a physical danger of fire or explosion,” the letter stated. … The letter from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection attributed the contaminated water to gas drilling…. Iron and manganese migrated to their well water because drillers use compressed air to force drill cuttings back to the surface, Kucsma said. “Some of the rock below the surface is porous, and air infiltrated the rock and caused the iron there to become soluble,” Kucsma said. “The iron and other contaminants migrated into the wells.” The DEP ordered First Alliance to provide safe drinking water to the residents….

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