WELLSBORO - There was a response Wednesday from the gas company identified during a Tioga County Commissioners meeting Tuesday as under investigation in connection with the contamination of a residential well in Charleston Township well.
During the meeting, Commissioner Sue Vogler, a Charleston Township resident, responded to a question about the gas drilling's impact on water by reporting neighbors were being provided potable water by Shell Appalachia, formerly East Resources, because of methane in their water.
According to Vogler, the state Department of Environmental Protection was investigating, and her own water well was being checked daily but so far no methane had been detected there.
On Tuesday, April 12, Katy Gresch, community relations coordinator with the Southwest Regional Office for the state Department of Environmental Protection, said without knowing a name or a specific road, she could neither confirm nor deny if the agency was conducting an investigation.
Daniel Spadoni, community relations coordinator with the Northcentral Regional Office with DEP, was out of town Tuesday until today and referred calls to Gresch.
However, Jack Showers, Shell Appalachia's community relations and regional affairs liaison, responded Wednesday morning by email after reading the Sun-Gazette's story about the meeting.
According to Showers, DEP notified the company last Thursday "of the presence of methane in a water well ... northeast of Wellsboro" and company representatives "immediately met with the homeowners to ensure their safety and to begin to investigate the occurrence."
In addition, he confirmed the impacted water well was disconnected and a "temporary water system installed to provide potable water" to the family.
"Shell has since notified the appropriate authorities of the occurrence," he added. "We are working closely with the Pennsylvania DEP to investigate the source of the methane entering the water well and whether the methane is connected to any of our operations or is from other sources."
He also reported the company is "assessing the surrounding area, including (its) well pad, as a potential source," adding that, "specific to the well pad, Shell is conducting additional inspection and sampling on each of the gas wells on the well pad."
It was reported that, as of Wednesday, "the source of the methane in the water well is unknown, (but) as part of (its) assessment of the surrounding area, initial sampling of the surrounding water wells within a 1,000 foot radius of our drilling wells has been completed and there was no detectable methane in the sampled water wells."
Showers added that the company also "conducted initial monitoring on water wells located within a 2,000 foot radius" of its drilling operations.
"We will continue to share information as it becomes available from the investigation being conducted in conjunction with DEP," he concluded.