General                                                                                                                             WATER

Before You Lease

Dear Resident,

Recently, you were sent a letter by a gas company stating that you should be a partner with them as part of their Marcellus drilling production. Before you do, you should consider these issues:

• You should seriously consider consulting an attorney knowledgeable in this particular area of law as well as your mortgage lender and homeowner's insurance carrier as your decision to sign may affect your ability to refinance, sell, or be covered for any damages related to drilling.

• Pennsylvania does not currently have automatic forced pooling (the act of being forced by state law into participation in an oil and/or gas producing unit) and it is very difficult, and impossible in many circumstances, for companies to use this controversial legal tool to gain access to minerals beneath your property. The promise of income for your family for generations is often exaggerated and there are hidden fees, taxes, deductions etc.

Other concerns associated with unconventional gas development:

• Nuisance: Fracking is a heavy industrial process. Each well requires thousands of truck trips and results in significant noise. Drilling operations continue 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and require substantial lighting and produces tons of waste.

• Fire & Explosions: There is always the potential for fire and explosions with the nature of natural gas production and the evacuation area on an unconventional gas well is typically a 1/2 mile radius from the well.

• Water & Air Pollution: According to the DEP, in 2014 more than 240 private water supplies were said to have been damaged by oil and gas operations during the past seven years. Streams and tributaries are also at risk from contamination due to spills or regurgitation of flow back from slick water hydraulic fracturing. Residents living less than 1⁄2 mile from wells are at greater risk for health effects from exposure to air pollutants during well completion activities due to exposure to toxic chemicals released during the process.

• Property Value Depreciation: All of the above concerns are issues that can affect property values. Property values will also be affected by whether or not the mineral rights have been severed from the surface rights, whether the mineral rights can be or are leased to an oil & gas company, and problems obtaining mortgages and insurance coverage.

Southwestern PA Environmental Health Project  If you or your family are suffering from health issues related to Unconventional Gas Drilling 
NewsOxy Fracking: Premature Births Study By John Hopkins Hospital Reveal Risks Near Oil Drilling in Pennsylvania 
Track Pittsburgh's air quality in real time
National Geographic  High Levels of Dangerous Chemicals Found In Air Near Oil And Gas Sites
Beaver County Blue Study finds New Gas Wells Leak More Than Old Ones
Business Insider  Emissions-from-shale-gas-worse-than-coal-2011-4
Pittsburgh Post Gazette  Pa. Studies on Shale-Site Air Emissions Incomplete, According to Court Documents
WFMJ com Five quakes recorded east of Poland Township on Monday   Oil Production Fuels Earthquake Surge in Oklahoma
CBS Pittsburgh  Pennsylvania Officials Linke Earthquakes in Lawrence County to Fracking
New Castle News PA won't take action on Quakes 
The Economy
WTAE News Oil, Gas Industry Creating Jobs, But Not Always at Benefit of Locals WTAE investigation takes look at social impact in southwestern Pa  How Oil and Gas Drillers Avoid Paying Royalties
PA Water Contamination Complaints by county

If residents suspect contamination with their water supply, they should contact DEP immediately 
at 570-327-3636. Residents with impacted water supplies should not use their water for drinking, washing, or bathing. 

Crucial Well Water Testing If Fracking is Happening in Your Community

If you wish to protect your private source of potable water - you must act promptly to establish a baseline reading before seismic testing and/or drilling begins. 

For a list of certified labs go to
Highly recommended baseline well water testing parameters (ask for "3-tiered" testing)
Alkalinity             Sulfate             Chloride*            Conductivity
Hardness*            pH*                  Bromide             Oil & Grease*
Nitrate                Total Dissolved Solide* (TDS)         
Total Suspended Solids* (TSS)         
MBAS (surfactants)
Trace metal
Barium*             Potassium             Calcium*             Sodium*
Iron*                 Strontium*            Magnesium*         Lead*     
Manganese*        Arsenic*
Ethane*             Methane*            Acrylonitrile
Petroleum Hydrocarbons (TPH)      
Methylene blue active substance* (MBAS)
VOC's*  - (BTEX-benzene toluene, Ethylbenzene * Xylene)
Microbiology - Total Coliform/E.coli
Uranium             Radon             Radium (Radium-226 & Radium-228)
gross alpha, gross beta
StateImpact DEP staffers warned superiors of dangers to private water wells from pipeline construction
StateImpact  Wastewater-pollution-may-linger-for-years
9/2015 DEP press release water contamination in Potter County
YaleEnvironmental 360
Public Herald Report from Coudersport, Pa
The Bismark Tribune  Study Indicates Lingering Saltwater Contamination In Oil Patch
Ellwood City Ledger  
Beaver Falls Authority's chemical change helps
Post-gazette Powersource  DEP-determines-wastewater-from-gas-drilling-contaminated-drinking-water 
Scientific America Fracking Brings Ammonium and Iondide to local waterways.
National Geographic Fracking Water: It's Just So Hard To Clean

Emergency Contacts 
  • DEP: Odor, Visible Emissions, Air Pollution, Noise Complaint Line: 1-866-255-5158
  • EPA "Eyes on Drilling" Tip Hotline for any complaints about air/water/spills : 1-877-919-4372
  • Robert Helverson, CDC/ATSDR, call with drill related health complaints, water/air impacts: 215-814-3139
  • Dr. Poune Saberi, MD, mPH, provide medical information about shale gas health related complaints: 267-978-3934
  • Nadia Steinzor, Earthworks, Shale Gas Health Impact Survey, free water/air testing for appropriate candidates: 315-677-4111
  • Deborah Goldberg, lead attorney at Earthjustice Law Firm for legal filings: 212-791-1881 x8227