State: Drilling didn't foul northeast Pa. wells - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

State: Drilling didn't foul northeast Pa. wells

Posted: Updated:

Gas drilling isn't to blame for a high-profile case of methane contamination in northeastern Pennsylvania, state environmental regulators declared Monday, but a homeowner with fouled water vowed to press on and said she doesn't trust the agency.

Anti-fracking celebrities including Yoko Ono and Susan Sarandon had visited the Susquehanna County village of Franklin Forks in January as part of a tour of natural-gas drilling sites. There, the stars met with Matthew and Tammy Manning, who blame the high level of methane in their well water on a natural gas driller, WPX Energy.

But the state Department of Environmental Protection said its 16-month investigation shows WPX isn't responsible for high levels of methane and other contaminants in the private water wells at three homes.

The methane in the residents' wells is naturally occurring shallow gas - possibly from nearby Salt Springs State Park - and not production gas from the Marcellus Shale formation, DEP said. The agency said that samples taken from the wells and from Salt Springs exhibited similar water chemistry, including high levels of barium, iron, chlorides and other contaminants.

"We're pleased that a science-based, fact-finding effort by the state definitively showed that our operations were not responsible for methane migration issues in Susquehanna County," WPX spokeswoman Susan Oliver said.

The company has been paying to have replacement water delivered to the homes. Oliver said no decision has been made about whether the deliveries will continue.

Tammy Manning, who became an outspoken opponent of gas drilling after her well failed in December 2011, said DEP has not determined how the methane showed up in her well. Manning, who is 1 of the plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit against WPX, said she continues to believe the company is responsible.

"I've said for almost a year and a half that I didn't really put a lot of stock in what (DEP) had to say," Manning said of the agency's determination. "Something happened that caused all this gas to come into our neighborhood."

Industry officials have said the Mannings' well was flooded in 2011 and suffered mechanical failure. Manning pointed out the flood happened three months before the contaminants showed up in her well, and said another homeowner with fouled water did not experience flooding.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • More From wfmj.comMore>>

  • As US economy accelerates, Fed remains cautious

    As US economy accelerates, Fed remains cautious

    Thursday, July 31 2014 12:17 AM EDT2014-07-31 04:17:00 GMT
    After a dismal winter, the U.S. economy sprang back to life in the April-June quarter, growing at a fast 4 percent annual rate on the strength of higher consumer and business spending.More >>
    After a grim start to 2014, the U.S. economy has rebounded with vigor and should show renewed strength into next year.More >>
  • Deadly Israeli strikes hit UN school, market area

    Deadly Israeli strikes hit UN school, market area

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 8:26 PM EDT2014-07-31 00:26:47 GMT
    A Palestinian health official says 13 people were killed after tank shells hit a U.N. school in Gaza where hundreds of Palestinians had taken refuge from Israeli attacks.More >>
    Israeli artillery shells tore through the walls of a U.N. school crowded with sleeping war refugees and back-to-back explosions rocked a market filled with shoppers Wednesday as Israel's stepped up campaign against...More >>
  • Suing Obama: GOP-led House gives the go-ahead

    Suing Obama: GOP-led House gives the go-ahead

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 7:49 PM EDT2014-07-30 23:49:43 GMT
    Republicans are ready to muscle legislation through the House authorizing an election-year lawsuit against President Barack Obama that accuses him of exceeding his powers in enforcing his health care law.More >>
    A sharply divided House approved a Republican plan Wednesday to launch a campaign-season lawsuit against President Barack Obama, accusing him of exceeding the bounds of his constitutional authority. Obama and other...More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms