Did natural gas drilling contaminate water in New York’s Chemung County? It doesn’t seem so, according to a late December ruling by US District Judge Charles Siragusa of Rochester. The federal judge ruled in favor of the Defendants in this case, closing the lawsuits filed by nine homeowners who said their well/drinking water became contaminated after a local natural gas well was drilled by Anschutz Exploration Co. of Denver. In the end, Judge Siragusa said that since the homeowners hadn’t shown that methane and silt had actually made its way into their wells, thanks to the gas drilling back in 2010, there really wasn’t a case to consider.
However, one of the Plaintiffs from Horsehead, Bonnie Todd, said she didn’t even know the judge had made a decision. Along with the other homeowners, her case was being managed by Napoli Bern Ripka Shkolnik, a New York personal injury firm, but the law firm declined any comments to the press. However, it is known that the natural gas drilling in Trenton Black River was not fracked (hydraulically fractured). According to reports, the drilling was completed successfully.
Industries Speak Up
Following the judgment, a number of businesses and niche media in the industry covered the story, including Marcellus Drilling News. This media entity says that the law firm acted “erroneously” by suggesting fracking to begin with, especially considering that it’s not legal in the state of New York. For the homeowners living in the Big Flats region, that could have started their lawsuit off on the wrong foot with no chance to fix it.
The niche outlet also says there were two wells drilled, but only one was involved in the lawsuit (Dow No. 1). According to the lawsuit, Anschutz drilled it about two miles by two miles horizontally and vertically, as was planned. However, two months after the project was complete, there were two homeowners half a mile from the site who began complaining of methane and well water turbidity to the Chemung County Health Department.
According to reports, there was an investigation by the State Department of Environmental Conservation, but they found that the gas in the private wells were on par with “normal” findings. The court decision included a citation from DEC, saying that the drilling was “unlikely” to have caused any problems, and the offender was probably simply low on water levels for the season. Gas can happen naturally in shallow areas, especially in personal wells that aren’t well maintained.
If you have questions about the health of your well, contact Mike Zimmerman Well Services today. They have some of the most experienced staff in the western United States on hand to address any well-related questions or concerns.