Fracking is one of the completion steps in the process of shale gas extraction– and there are a lot of things that can go wrong before fracking. This is SO important to remember.
So, one of the first things to remember when living in the vicinity of GasLand is that humans should be proactive watchdogs right from the get-go.
Watch what is being excavated, paying particular attention to the exposed dirt and where it goes when storms come and wash it away. Does it go into your pond? Call the DEP. Does it go into your creek? Call the DEP. Does it go across your property and over load your ditches? Call the DEP. Stormwater runoff is supposed to be controlled, along with erosion and sediment.
The gas company people who draw-up the erosion and sediment control plans have most likely never set foot onto your property– so they don’t know how it will be affected. Similarly, the DEP agents who approve those control plans have also been sitting in an office looking at a satellite map– not walking around properties, speaking with property owners, and learning what is happening in “real life” on your property.
Pay attention to your water now. Get it tested, and video it. Video your nice clean water, your streams, creeks, and ponds. Video how they don’t bubble methane right now. Take the cap off your well and video inside the well, too. Shine a flashlight into the well to show how it is not bubbling methane. If you don’t know when your water well was constructed, how deep it is, or how much casing there is, then track down the human who drilled your well and get your paws on the records.
And pay attention to these warning signs: (1) milky/cloudy/white water, (2) spurting or gurgling faucets, (3) any unusual noises or smells– especially from the well itself.
Keep a list of dates that you notice these things, and keep an eye on the shale gas development going on around you– including pipeline activity. Many people have had their water fouled due to pipeline activity. Namely, this occurs when the pipeliners have to drill under a road or wetland or other obstruction… and they drill through the springs that feed water wells.
So, those are the main things to keep your eyes on early in the game. If you have an inkling that your water has been contaminated, then do not wait, and do not call the gas company first. Call the DEP first and ask to file an anonymous complaint.
Call the DEP first. The DEP will notify the gas company. They know whom to call. Do not let anyone take the pump out of your well until after isotopic water samples have been collected by both the DEP and the gas company. This is very important!
Remember, humans, that your property is your property and that YOU have the right to say what does and does not happen on it. (Although, unfortunately, see my readers’ comments, below…) If you have ANY doubts about anyone’s activities on your property, then do not let those actions continue! You can take the viewpoint that all data collected on your property is something you should be able to see, and insist that you receive copies of it, and follow-up to make sure you get those copies.
Water contamination is no small deal. You will realize this soon after your house is set-upon by a fleet of white F350s. Try not to freak out. Keep your head in the game. Write everything down and make sure you know WHO is on your property and WHY they are doing what they are doing.
If you don’t get satisfactory answers, then simply ask people to leave until they are willing to be straight-forward with answers that make sense to you. Remember, it is still your property— not theirs.