For your viewing pleasure, and education. I found this all just by searching online trying to educate myself on all the risk associated with drilling on our family farm. I know this is one sided but what an eye opener and a lot of questions to ask any one wanting to lease our properties. This is about an hour long documentary on the potential of polluting water supplies in and around drilling. VERY WORTH THE TIME TO WATCH I am only posting this for your review and hopefully get some great responses. Myself like everyone else has to put our water supply first before signing bonuses, royalties and the signing of a long term lease. Please let us know your thoughts on this, and hopefully we get some responses from landmen and oil and gas companies. PLEASE DON'T SHOOT THE SENDER....ROD

Watch online:

Here's the oil companies response..

And some digging into the response..

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If you think you are getting educated by watching this 'film', then you are sadly mistaken. The questions it raises are fair enough, however the majority of the 'information' presented is not based on fact. I will not take the time to explain, as this film isn't worth the time. The only way you will ever know the truth is to actually live in some of the areas talked about. There have been some problems, always will be some problems. We just need to make sure all is done properly to minimize the problems, that's all.

Craig,  Sadly mistaken, is what i am trying not to be.  Like I stated earlier yes it is one sided, and yes it was hard to watch, but it did raise a lot of questions.  I hope most put our families and life long investment first, or at least try to protect as much as possible.  One of the other links that i posted was from the desk of CNN, not that it's make it any more believable or truthful, but it is out there as a resource for us to use.  I never stated that I was against the drilling process, and would very much like to have a long term income of royalties.

I thought the reason for this forum was to not only gather info, but to also post info on the pro's and con's as they are.  I am only looking for other thoughts in our area, on what we can do as a group to protect our properties not only for us but for our grandchildren.

The truth is that i really don't want to some day find that I am now living in one of those areas as discussed in the film, and didn't make the attempt to do what i am doing right now with you.  Thanks for your input.

If you can find any additional information about how we can protect our water supply, i am all ears and look forward to reading and making a more educated decision .....Rod


I didn't take it that you were against drilling, and hopefully you didn't take my post as bashing. If it came across that way, i didn't mean it that way.

As I said above, there are some issues that need focused upon. It appears that at least one company (Chesapeake) is marching up the learning curve and changing the ways they do some things that concern us. At a meeting last week in Beaver County Chesapeake let it be known that the new drill sites in our area will include one important change: All fracing water that comes back up out of the well will be stored in covered metal containers and re-used...the only pond on/near the drill site will be used for storing only freshwater before the fracing process. 

I've been around two drill sites while they were drilling/fracing. I can say that the two most important things we need to be concerned about are surface spillage of frac water and proper casing and cementing the first 1,000 feet or so. 

In response to the questions concerning lining and cementing the upper portions properly... from what i've read, the state already has all the regs. on the books that are needed....they just need to be enforced by our illustrious gov't officials. What are the chances of that happening?


I believe the major drillers will embrace some changes that we all want because there is just too much money to be made to have the state step in like they did in NY. While i'm not a fan of what NY has done, it was truly a wake up call for drilling folks. 


You can also go to other areas on this website like:


for others comments on this films merits.



I would have to say the primary issues for me are


1. Proper gas well construction to prevent gas migration and intrusion of frac fluids into the shallow aquifer.  This would include the use of multiple strings of steel and proper cement bonding and testing.

2. Controlling spills and releases from the site.

3. Using closed loop drilling.

4. Storing flow back water in tanks and not open lined pits

5. Using lined pits for storing only freshwater

6. Hiring a lawyer to review your lease and add protection for yourself and community.

7. Baseline testing of you water sources and make any necessary improvements to your well or water system.

8. Visit drilling sites and look at the companies work.

9. Remember - you are the one with the dollar in your pocket. 

10. Nice reference book - look before you lease - published by the National Royality Owners Association - nice reference.


Just a start - If you need more help - my information



Good Luck


Brian oram, Professional Geologist




A good list you have there, that we all should be concerned about.

As mentioned in another reply above, chesapeake (in Beaver County)  has stated that they will be closed loop of some sort, with any flow back going into metal containers and be re-used not hauled and processed. 

To add one more to your list:

Don't let the almighty greed enter into your decision when signing a lease. Do your due diligence and make a informed decision. 


  please don't think that a lot of what has happened out west will occur here. I base this statement on my experiences of having drilled in CO,WY and MT and also being raised out there.

  First, drilling out there has been going on for several decades, for many of those decades regulations were lax or nonexistent, many of the problems now surfacing can be traced back to drilling conducted in the 60-70's, particularly the incidents in Pavillion, WY.

  Second, Josh Fox highlighted a handful of people with issues from drilling out of tens of thousands of wells drilled out west. I'm sure if he had made a film depicting the graphic details of airline crashes and the wrenching heartbreak of families losing loved ones in said crashes, after 90 minutes of this most of of us would be emotionally invested enough to think twice (at least) before boarding an airplane again. Yet rationally, we know that flying is one of the safest forms of transport, save for the TSA, but I digress.

  Third, as drilling commenced in PA and I began to work out here, many of us from the west were impressed with the environmental safety measures we encountered.  From the plastic and mats covering the pad to the closed loop systems or even lined pits (now, thankfully used much less) we were working with measures we had rarely encountered elsewhere. IMHO, PADEP has done an admirable job of policing the industry including updating regulations as they were found to be needed. I certainly see more inspection visits to locations out here than I ever did out west.

   I wish you the best in your quest for the facts, the issue is certainly not all roses and no thorns as the industry might portray but it is also not going to be the environmental armageddon that is depicted by those opposed. As in most everything, the truth is found somewhere in the middle.
Ross & Brian.   Thanks for the great responses, much appreciated.



Your's is an excellent, spot on, response.


Here's what to watch for in Pennsylvania:


John Hanger, head of the DEP under former Governor Ed Rendell, promulgated new drilling regulations which went into effect only very recently.  It was too late, but far better late than never.  The new regulations protect our water while permitting drilling to go forward, unlike in NY for example.


Anyway, those in PA concerned about their drinking water need to pay heed to any successful efforts to repeal or eviscerate these recently enacted regulations.   But if the new regulations remain in effect, our water is more likely to be OK, while at the same time drilling for gas can continue in a responsible manner.


Finally, some companies embraced the new regulations well BEFORE  being required by law to do so.  If you ever want to identify the drilling companies wearing white hats, learn if the company was on the leading edge of this safe drilling initiative.



Thanks Frank,

  and your quite right when you state that some companies were complying before being required to do so.  The last three wells I worked on were in fact,constructed in accordance with the new regs.

  One of them, the well from hell, as the drilling crews called it, took over 3 times as long to drill. Mainly because of issues encountered in getting a decent cement bond between the intermediate and surface casing strings. I know that these delays cost the operator at least $2 million above and beyond the extra $1 million or so the new regs have added to a wells cost.

  Not once, did I hear any talk of cutting corners, complaints about the expenses or anything except that 'were going to do whatever it takes to get this right'. And all this well before they were REQUIRED to follow the regs. Needless to say, I was rather impressed, and this experience only served to strengthen my belief that most of these companies really are trying to be responsible and do the right thing.


I agree with you totally.  Most of the drilling companies are responsible and doing their best to do a good job for the long run.  This approach also, IMO, saves them money in the LONG run.


Sadly a few companies are focused only on short term results and profits.  It's not fair, but they end up giving the entire industry a black eye anyway.  They also feed the anti-drilling beast that's out there whether we like it or not, blowing even small transgressions out of all proportion.  This is not a beast any driller is wise to feed.  All you have to do is look at NY to see what can happen.

If anyone is interested, here is a free manual for private well owners on water quality and private wells.


Also - if there is a group interested - I could put on a evening workshop that discusses issues of wellhead protection and well protection this would cover a combination of sources of pollution (point and non-point sources), baseline testing and sampling, improving the integrity of private wells, and actions that can be taken to help protect groundwater quality.


Also - be for a get questions

1. the primary way to protect groundwater quality is not regulations on Marcellus, but

a. Private well construction standards

b. Physically Improving Private wells to eliminate short-circuiting of pollutions

c. etc.

Just a thought


Brian Oram

PS: Please support the Citizen Groundwater Database in Northeastern Pennsylvania -you can help by submitting your certified testing data to Wilkes University.

(to learn More)


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