Tag Archives: waste ponds

Concerned About Fracking? — Part 2: Water Monitoring

What can We Do about this?

By Bernhard Debatin

Fracking is likely to happen in Athens County due to strong economic interests, and with it comes a wide variety of undesirable and unintended consequences. Therefore, the focus of concerned citizens’ activities should be on effective damage control strategies. This part of Concerned About Fracking? will deal with the first of three main damage control strategies: (1) monitoring drinking water. The other two strategies are (2) monitoring community disruption and (3) a moratorium on fracking; they will be explored in the third part of this series.

Obviously, the risk of being affected by accidents and contamination increases the closer one is located to a drilling site. However, water and air pollution travel fast and widely. For instance, it’s not just the landowner’s water well that may get polluted. Aquifers are interconnected underground water systems, usually located in permeable and porous rock through which water can easily move. There’s a good chance that contamination of a water well near a drilling pad may spread through the larger aquifer system.

The most pressing issue is proper monitoring of drinking water sources. Because of the lack of accountability and effective regulation, we have to be seriously concerned that private and municipal water sources will be contaminated. The fracking industry’s track record of wastewater spills, sludge pond overflows, reckless wastewater dumping, and aquifer contamination with fracking chemicals and methane is impressive. Continue reading


Landowners Need to Be Careful What They Sign

By Bernhard Debatin

Landowners in Athens County have recently been approached aggressively to sign leases for their mineral rights so that gas and oil can be extracted from under their land. The technology used for this, known as horizontal hydro-fracking, is highly controversial due to its potential adverse effects on the environment, specifically on the air and our water resources, and due to the lack of proper regulation and oversight.

At the meeting for landowners on Nov. 29, held by local attorney John Lavelle and Cunningham Energy at the Athens County fairgrounds, Lavelle presented a draft of a supposedly “landowner friendly” mineral rights lease. With their talk about a “window of opportunity” and the claim that “no better lease” would be available to landowners, it appears that Cunninghan Energy and Lavelle are creating artificial pressure to talk people into leasing their mineral rights. On Tuesday, Dec. 6, Lavelle and Cunningham will hold another such meeting. Continue reading