*UPDATE* Franklin Forks Facts

UPDATE (4/17/12. 8:30 am ET): Interesting discovery here from a few Franklin Forks residents who spent some time recently digging into the history of naturally occurring methane in their town.  Visiting the local historical society, these folks unearthed a newspaper story from 1921 (!) declaring that natural gas had been discovered at a depth of less then 200 feet in town.  The article (featured below) indicates that visitors could “see the  gas bubbling up through the water” — roughly 85 years prior to any Marcellus development in the area.

- Original post April 3, 2012-

A few miles up the road from Dimock, Pennsylvania, sits Franklin Forks, a small rural community almost impossible to find on a map. Recently, this community has received some unwanted attention from individuals looking to stop responsible natural gas development. This group, from out of town, has published a video on YouTube where, they claim, water uncontrollably spraying out of residential water well is from hydraulic fracturing. While DEP investigates this situation, the anti-gas community and the media, for that matter, have deemed this the next Dimock. Is it really?

Some Key Facts That Might Change Your Mind:

  1. The closest natural gas well to the property is more than 4,000 feet away. The next closest pad is at least a mile and a half away. The village is situated just down the road from Salt Springs State Park, an area with a long history of bubbling methane in the water – click here for a video of the spring.The map below details the approximate distance from each well site to the water well in question.Image of Franklin Forks
  2. Last Fall, Franklin Forks, specifically the property in question, experienced two separate 100-year floods within 8 days. In each case, the water well in question was completely submerged. Furthermore, over the last several years, according to long-time residents, Franklin Forks has experienced other significant floods and some minor ones; averaging at least one flood a year. Each time, the water well has been under or surrounded by flood water. Here is a picture following Hurricane Irene:

    Flooding at Franklin Forks

    Franklin Forks, Pa. 8/29/11 (Source: iWitness Weather)

  3. The residents of the house in question have only lived on the property for 15 months. Before they took up residence, the property owner installed a new water well in 2006 after the original water well went bad.  Long time residents, several with more than 30 years in Franklin Forks, share stories of poor water quality, sulfur smells, spitting faucets and discolored water. The most consistent comment is “no one drinks the water here and that’s been going on for years, long before gas drilling even came to the county.” In fact, a neighbor from across the street, had a vent installed on his water well long before natural gas development entered the area.
  4. DEP has not reached a final determination for the cause of the activity at the water well and is still conducting its investigation. In the meantime, DEP did ask WPX Energy, the closest natural gas operator to Franklin Forks, to help with its investigation. Responding quickly to the DEP’s request for assistance,  WPX Energy conducted an indoor air quality screening in December 2011, and then conducted a water quality test, venting, and a visual inspection of the water well in question when the DEP asked for help again mid March, 2012.
  5. WPX Energy conducted two different air quality screenings, in fact. The first, last December, determined the house in question did not have an explosive concentration of methane. The screening showed a methane concentration less than 1-2% lower explosive level (LEL) within the home.  A separate more recent screening, examined methane concentrations in the house again and in the surrounding homes within a 500ft radius around the house. Again no significant methane levels were detected in the home.
  6. Engineers for WPX Energy were able to recreate the water pushing up through the water well and observed what appeared to be mechanical elements of the well moving within the water well, all suggesting it might be a mechanical issue with the well. However, WPX’s request to evaluate the mechanical workings of the water well has been stalled by the resident’s lawyer. WPX engineers have over thirty years of well and pump experience and in other parts of the country, they have seen similar water well eruptions due to mechanical issues, and so it only makes sense that this should be investigated.
  7. WPX Energy voluntarily supplied water, contrary to what an out-of-town activist and the resident have claimed in this video - People Bring Bottle Water. Unfortunately, for about three days, the one resident under the guidance of their lawyer, did go without water because they refused to allow WPX on the property in order to service the installed water tank and pump. As additional proof WPX Energy is committed to helping its neighbors, the other two residents involved in the DEP investigation accepted WPX Energy’s offer for water assistance and neither of these households have associated their water well problems with hydraulic fracturing nor attempted to bar WPX Energy from helping the DEP investigate.

There are so many questions in regard to what exactly is happening with this resident’s water well. The DEP is working hard to find an answer while WPX Energy assists in the investigation. One would hope our friends on the other side of this debate will stop exploiting this family. Until a full investigation is conducted, to include the inspection of the mechanical workings of the water well and an evaluation of the long history of poor water quality in Franklin Forks; it is premature to jump to any conclusion.

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Comments

  1. Nice pro active reporting! If they are new owners a water test should have been required by the mortgage company?

    I do hope the family does not fall prey to the anti agenda its a hard fall, ask that brown water jug guy…..

    It wouldn’t happen to be the NYRAD group looking for a new poster child?

  2. ed says:

    Let’s go through your key facts point by point..
    1: Are you inferring that the distance to the gas well is a factor here? You are aware the gas well is closer than Salt Springs Park by As you have mentioned the nearest gas well is 4000 feet away. Salt Springs Park is over 5000 feet away.

    2: Not sure what you are trying to say here, do you believe flooding causes methane migration? Are you aware the DEP cited WPX Energy for defective casing or cement in two of the natural gas wells closest to Franklin Forks last year.

    3: What difference does it make how long one of the families have lived in their house? Are you attempting a smear campaign?

    4: Correct! The DEP testing results have not been released yet. The nice thing about the methane at Salt Springs Park is it is well documented and extensively tested. DEP’s tests should be able to show if it is from there or not, speculating on it at this point is just that.. speculation.

    5: I’ve noticed you haven’t mentioned what the methane levels in the water are. Over 55 mg/l…..

    6: Seriously? A water pump kicking inside the well casing is causing the methane in the water. That’s about normal and is why you put shock buffers near the pump to stop it from striking the well casing. Also worth noting is that the CDC recommends anytime a well is open for repairs, etc., It should be sanitized to protect both it and surrounding water wells from contamination. I noticed the WPX experts with over 30 years experience did not do this…..

    7: Great job WPX more water buffaloes.. The fastest growing species in PA.

    You should also stop trying to smear these people until a full investigation is completed. pot – kettle – black…..

    • Bill says:

      Your rebuttal is way off base. Yes the closest well pad is 4000 feet away. But you do not even take into account that natural gas development takes place a mile or more below the earth’s surface. Separating the toe of the well and the surface are geological formations, each creating another barrier to methane migration. Salt Springs Park (a known location of methane migration) however is on the same strata as Franklin Forks. While the DEP has not finished its investigation common sense and history suggests that the methane is moving from Salt Springs Park.

      Next, flooding and/or rain can affect methane levels in water wells. Especially if the water well is not constructed properly or has a mechanical issue. The well across the street had a methane vent in its original installation. Long before Natural gas development entered the area. It’s naive to overlook this point. WPX Energy well casings have been inspected and do not have any defects.

      Not sure where you are going with number 3. All I was suggesting is that the family has not lived in the residency long enough to know the history of the well. For example, there is another well on the property. Why did the property need a second well? Individuals who used to live in the house have said the water quality has always had methane in it. People who have lived in Franklin Forks have said the water has always had methane in it. Again, DEP has not made a final determination but history suggest the well has had methane in it before.

      • ed says:

        Wow all these people you speak of claiming there was always methane in the water… Kind of funny how the pizza shop across the street has not had issues and they are mandated to have their water tested annually.

        • Tom says:

          Methane problems can affect side by side water wells entirely differently and you surely know this.

    • John says:

      Also, the statement about mechanics of the well was not indicating it was the presence of methane but rather that the broken mechanics could equally be likely to be the cause of the water spray.

  3. BH says:

    Individuals? Group? From out of town?

    Vera Scroggins shot the video.
    Vera is not a “group of individuals”.
    She is a concerned citizen.
    She isn’t from out of town!
    She lives ~5mi from Franklin Forks.

    What kind of fallacious arguments are you trying to make here?

    • Nicole says:

      Bill, Vera may have put out the video but more than one individual is involved with pushing the story to turn it into another Dimock. And these individuals are from out of town. None of them reside in Franklin Forks, some don’t even live in the county or state. What’s your point?

  4. The Song Remains the Same (L.Z.)

    When your sitting in your living room,
    keeping warm and dry….

    The windmills gathering Ice
    flings big chunks through the sky………… ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EmYe2u6J6g)

    Solar Farms not the answer
    As fields of food and graze go dry,

    Deforestation and fenced in fields
    keep you wondering why….
    The nimby’s they don’t want it,
    Quite frankly nether do I.

    (http://wwwp.dailyclimate.org/tdc-newsroom/2012/01/green-nimbyism)

    Here in New York we have NYRAD
    but if you go to Wisconson
    All you do is drop the “D”
    and NY – NYRAD becomes NYRAS (New Yorkers against Solar)

    They don’t want coal or gas,
    solar or wind and save that tree…
    so what keeps us warm in the winter
    perhaps Pot you and me…

    This here gasser will end this song right now
    If you want to stay warm I suggest you cuddle with a cow !!!

    dedicated to my good friend William Houston & Craig Sautner

  5. KF says:

    If this family is really looking to finding the solution to their water issues, than why would they get a lawyer to prevent someone from delivering potable water to them until whatever issue is resolved? In addition to that, if someone offered to pay for a contractor of their choosing to fix any mechanical defects why would they also reject this? Having activists post youtube videos of the well investigation showing them harassing the workers trying to help this family would not seem to benefit their cause (not sure what that is….). There are similar postings with narration indicating WPX is not delivering them water when in truth they were barred from delivering water by the resident’s lawyer. Too bad they choose to bring attention to themselves in such a way instead of actually trying to help solve this issue. I am sure any one of their fellow residents would have been more than willing to assist them with donations of water if that is what they really wanted from this. Now, unfortunately, they probably should get an agent to handle their future filming contracts.

    • OurLand says:

      Warning the invasion of the misinformation virus will do everything to tarnish your proud town. Once the this virus has settled in they will try and take everything including your Town sign. Contact the folks at Dimock proud they might be able to help inoculate your town. These groups make the Emerald ash bore look like a ladybug.
      dimockproud.com

  6. Sherry says:

    http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/gas-drilling/franklin-forks-family-sues-driller-1.1298360#axzz1sERTwqda

    No determination of guilt has been made, but the one family has already sicced their legal dogs on them. As OurLand pointed out, it does appear this may be another puppet mastering attempt to use another family to further the anti-drill agenda. I wondered what direction the anti-drill crowd would take their fight without Dimock; I guess I have the answer – 24 miles south.

  7. Vera says:

    The Manning water well was only prevented by their lawyer to keep WPX from taking it apart
    and fixing it , if they found something wrong. The Mannings want to have their own water well people to check it out . This water well is about 5 years old. Built by Beaver Well Company. It is about 160 feet deep. The main point here is that the methane in their well rose with each test by the DEP and went up to 58. 4 mg/liter. This is much higher than the Dec. test by DEP. This is the main point, that after drilling and fracking some water wells are impacted and their methane levels shoot up and is noticeable from the faucet and from testing and in the toilet bowl , as it changed color to a greyish color from the high methane. We are still waiting to hear about the isotopic test results from DEP , where this methane is coming from, whether biogenic or thermogenic. With methane migration, also comes other things that you may not want in your water, like higher levels of barium, sodium, aluminum, manganese, arsenic, etc… Their lawyer asked WPX to not step on the property if they were going to tamper with or touch the water well, otherwise, they could step on the property. Misinformation and miscommunication is occuring here as elsewhere. There are at least two sides to each incident. I am in contact with the Mannings since they came out to the Township Supervisors in March and have been on their property to video tape what goes on. I videotape to get, hopefully, some accurate information of what happens and not just hearsay or rumor. When I showed water being delivered to the Mannings, it was only to the Mannings in Franklin Forks, because their water buffalo wasn’t getting water for a short period while the lawyers for both side were miscommuicating their positions on the water well. Also , the buffalo froze at one point and the water in the buffalo is not for drinking but household use, despite what WPX says, which they say it is potable. We do not think it’s a good idea to drink water in the buffalo. The Dimock families did not drink their water from their buffaloes but used bottled water, that was supplied by Cabot. The water for the buffaloes is from the same source, Montrose Lake treated water. We all have our opinions on this matter. I live 5 miles from Franklin Forks and another concerned citizen, lives 2 miles from there. We are concerned about our water, air and environment and want the best for our families and county. We are doing what we can to protect ourselves. Sorry, if that doesn’t sit well with some. You are all doing what you think is best for yourselves. We happen to have an opposite viewpoint based on the evidence we have gathered watching this industry since it arrived here about four years ago. I would rather believe my own friends and neighbors about what is happening to them and check out the evidence and see if it’s correct and not first believe the Gas Industry , who are primarily interested in making as much profit off of us and then leave a mess behind for us to clean up.
    Check out all the violations on these companies and the defective casing failures and spills.
    I can only do what is true for me . You do what is true for you. This is America. The Land of Freedom, freedom of speech and press. I don’t have a job to protect or royalties to protect . I am retired. I want to keep this area clean and safe to continue to live here for generations to come.

    • Tom says:

      Barium and arsenic come with methane migration? That’s utter nonsense but the real take away from your comment is in the first line where you say the lawyers don’t want WPX to take the well apart and fix it. Isn’t that what everyone is supposed to want – fixing of the well?

    • FrackDaddy says:

      Vera, Lets use some common sense. if there is methane in the water closing the system is of course going to make it go up. If you blow up a balloon and tie it off, it will stay inflated, If you don’t tie it off you can let the “gas” out. By not using the water in the house you are forcing methane to build up. But that is what you want. Right? And now we know that WPX was not at fault. As for your last line, you are right we must be true to our selves. You are an import to this county, who lives in trailer with her daughter and grand children. So you don’t pay taxes to Susquehanna Co, you don’t work so again you don’t pay taxes to MY county. So you are a visitor and a unwelcome one at that. But you feel the need to disrupt the people of this county who have scraped by for generations, to keep you VACATION spot the way you like it. And you video tape to get accurate info, You video tape so you can enjoy your bullying later on. Please go back to NJ!

  8. franklintruther says:

    Gas 200 feet below the surface? So why would any out out of towner natural gas company even think of drilling any where remotely close to such a vein? Why put a pipline so so close to Salt Springs (the one under the creek that caused problems) when everyone has known for two hundred years that gas gurgles up all the time? What responsible company would drill in such a region absoloutly full of unpredictable methane? Who is the real out of towner?

    But don’t worry, there will be some very rich township residents coming up smelling clean after all this. At what expense to others? From a proud Franklin Township resident.

    • Tom says:

      So, gas should be explored in areas without gas?

      • franklintruther says:

        Gas should not be explored in areas where people’s water is compromised. That’s the American way. And no explosions in compressor stations also! (and no pipline sludge either…)

  9. KF says:

    Franklin Forks methane has been predictable for years. Some residents grew up with knowledge of close to the surface methane veins in this area. Some have been know to drill a pipe into the ground (manually) and hang a lantern that remained lit for years. Others played the “lighting the water” game many times.

    I agree with Tom…so we should drill for gas in areas that don’t have gas?

    If this family has problems with their water than it needs to be resolved that is for sure. How can you hire a lawyer and start litigation before having proof of where the contamination is coming from?

    Vera, Saw your video taping of the Manning’s well examination on your youtube version. Interrogating and harassing them as they are trying to determine the issues with the well. Also, bringing bus loads of “outside people” and giving tours is not showing concern – it is exploitation and invasion of privacy to the landowner.

    • Vera says:

      I’ve been giving tours for 3 years or so and bring people who respond to our website and hear about us and want to see first-hand what it is like to live in Gasland. I bring journalists, citizens, elected officials, and people from other countries and states who want to see gas production near homes and businesses. We have a right to look and photograph and share this information so others can see what is happening here. It is a shocking and disturbing experience for most and something they don’t want to live near.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Franklin Forks Facts That Franklin Forks water well problem looks a lot more like a flooding and mechanical issue than a natural gas one. Franklin Forks Facts | Energy In Depth – Northeast Marcellus Initiative [...]

  2. [...] FRANKLIN FORKS We are going to look at Franklin Forks, Susquehanna County PA.    Energy-in-Depth (EID), the public  relations campaign of the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) describes Franklin Forks as being a few miles up the road from Dimock and almost impossible to find on a map. [...]

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