In 60 years and 1 000 000, 2 000 000 or more wells (depending on who’s making the claim) there have been no cases of water contamination from FRACKING. Just ask Shell, they’ll tell you.
Bradford County woman wins arbitration case with Chesapeake over well contamination
Jacqueline Place signed a lease in June 2008 that included an arbitration clause specifying American Arbitration Association as the forum for resolution of any claims resulting from damages caused by the Chesapeake’s operations.
In December 2008, Ms. Place hired a consultant to conduct baseline tests of the water from her well, according to legal documents provided by her attorney, John Barry Beemer. That test showed the well had methane levels of 0.01 parts per million.
The baseline test became the foundation of her arbitration case, Mr. Beemer said.
“If you don’t have that baseline testing, you don’t have a case, basically,” he said.
In August 2009, Chesapeake finished drilling a well, Barrett 2H in Asylum Twp., underneath Ms. Place’s property to extract gas from her land. The bottom of that well’s bore is within 80 yards of Ms. Place’s water well, according to Ms. Place’s arbitration brief.
On March 22, 2010, Ms. Place noticed her water had become “reddish brown” and “oily.” She told Chesapeake and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Both came to test her water that April. Both found dissolved methane levels 1,300 to 2,000 times higher than the baseline tests, the brief states.
The DEP determined the well water should not be used. Chesapeake brought in at least one water buffalo as a temporary water supply and installed methane monitoring equipment.
Chesapeake, the DEP and Ms. Place’s consultant continued to test the well over the next several months, finding “levels of methane hundreds of times higher than the pre-drilling ‘baseline’ results from 2008, as well as increased iron and turbidity.”
In December 2010, the DEP gave Chesapeake permission to reconnect Ms. Place’s well, which the company did in January 2011. In February 2011, the department issued a Section 208 determination letter saying Chesapeake’s operations caused a “temporary impact” to the well and recommended ongoing testing.
The DEP, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Ms. Place’s consultant continued testing the well over the following 16 months, finding methane at levels higher than the baseline but below the DEP’s action level.
In May 2013, a trial expert Ms. Place hired found a methane level of 0.042 parts per million. Ms. Place and her son still drink bottled water, the brief states.
“In short, Jacqueline Place lived for 10 months deprived totally of the use of her well, and even after its ‘restoration,’ has been burdened with a water supply with chronic contamination, requiring constant vigilance and ongoing monitoring,” according to the brief.
Mr. Beemer and his co-counsel, Gerald Williams of Philadelphia, represented Ms. Place in an arbitration hearing at Mr. Beemer’s law office in Clarks Green that lasted from Jan. 6 through Jan. 8.
Ross F. Schmucki, the arbitrator for American Arbitration Association, ordered Chesapeake to pay $59,381.42.
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