The Times Tribune reported last week, the Manning family of Franklin Forks is suing WPX Energy over unsubstantiated claims of water contamination. EID-Marcellus covered the developing situation a few weeks ago, and since, more evidence has become available including information supporting the water well in question suffers from a mechanical problem not deep pressure associated with migratory methane.
What’s Going on in Franklin Forks?
Franklin Forks first made headlines, at least on YouTube, with a video of water “exploding” from a private water well. You will see in a video later in this post, the well never actually exploded, yet soon after the footage became available, residents of the home and anti-gas activists from other areas claimed this phenomenon occurred from high levels of methane released during natural gas development. This has since been shown on Fox News and other media outlets, increasing the hype of a situation that had yet to be confirmed.
While the anti natural gas community was chomping at the bit over its hopes to have found a “so called Dimock” on the heels of EPA’s findings, DEP and WPX Energy, the closest operator (over 4000 feet away), were simultaneously conducting testing to determine what was happening to this private water well. WPX Energy has assisted DEP and the Manning family in a number of ways, including supplying fresh water, screening for methane, and most importantly, inspecting the actual water well.
WPX engineers, with over 30 years of water well experience, examined the Manning’s well. In doing so, they were able to recreate the water spraying up through the cap at will. This suggested the water well is suffering from a mechanical failure, not consistent with problems associated with deep pressure, as the media reported.
After discovering the mechanical nature of this problem, WPX Energy offered to fix the Manning’s water well with the oversight and participation of DEP. Instead of agreeing, the Manning’s attorneys blocked WPX Energy from the property. WPX Energy then offered to pay for a third party contractor chosen by the Manning’s to repair the damaged well; this solution too has been road-blocked by the Manning’s legal representation. Actually, immediately following the creation of this video and investigation, the attorneys barred WPX officials from stepping foot on the property.
Also, it is our understanding, to date, that the Manning’s water well has not experienced any further “eruptions” since WPX energy shut of the pump. Another indication this issue is mechanical.
DEP has finished conducting its sample testing. The agency has released the data to the involved families and is working hard to explain the results. In the meantime, though, the Manning’s have released their samplings to media outlets in the area, claiming elevated levels of methane and heavy metals. To date, the Manning’s have not shared the actual results with the general public.
We are hearing, however, WPX Energy’s testing is consistent with DEP’s sample and both of these tests show methane isotopic readings are the same as Salt Springs State Park- shallow methane. The other elements referenced by the media, are found naturally, are indicative of the area, and are not used in any of WPX’s operations.
As history, water well inspections, and water testing all suggest this issue is mechanical in nature the Manning’s continue to seek legal action against WPX Energy on claims that appear to be unsubstantiated. The question remains how long this will continue and why do unsubstantiated claims gain broader attention while historical data and other facts that refute these claims often go unreported?
While that answer may be unclear, it is clear that the residents of Franklin Forks seem to be growing tired of the Manning’s claims. They are aware of the facts and the historic water quality in the region. While these facts may be overlooked by a new resident, out of town activists, and others it doesn’t make them any less compelling or less indicative that natural gas development isn’t the likely culprit affecting the Manning’s well.
Furthermore, if it is in fact deemed a mechanical failure of the water well by inspecting parties, chances are any mention of that would be relegated to the back pages by most of the media or they would ignore it all together.
Here are the results as to where the methane originated: Driller: Tests link Franklin Twp. methane to natural sources not shale –
(Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/gas-drilling/driller-tests-link-franklin-twp-methane-to-natural-sources-not-shale-1.1312592#ixzz1uNXsyqGy)
Quote from article: “A natural gas drilling company’s analysis of methane in four Franklin Twp. water wells has determined that the gas matches methane found naturally near Salt Springs State Park, not gas from the Marcellus Shale, a company spokeswoman said Tuesday.”
And furthermore, “The analysis, a form of chemical fingerprinting, studies stable isotopes in the methane for signs of its origin.The procedure has become a frequent tool for regulators and companies seeking to distinguish between deep gas harvested by drillers, shallow gas caused by the breakdown of organic material and gas trapped in middle rock layers closer to the surface than the mile-deep Marcellus. [The characteristics of the methane in the three water wells match the characteristics of the shallow methane that has been in Franklin Forks and the Salt Springs area for many decades. The results do not match the chemical footprint of the natural gas coming from the Marcellus Shale.”
Wow, what a RUDE, obnoxious woman!
Wow, what an obnoxious, pushy woman. They are under no obligation to provide you with information. Let them do their job without nosy intrusions. Sure, call the lawyers, it is always good to get them involved. It always amazes me when people protest and question various things without ever offering a solution
You want to see rude obnoxious woman?? Check out Vera and her “drunk Irishman” comments on you tube. They don’t need to answer your pointless questions and frankly they gave all the relevant info.. They don’t need to tell you their names! You are seriously pathetic lady LOL!!
I am baffled. Why isn’t Scroggins politely asked to leave the property?? If I were the landowner, she would have been asked once to leave and then the police would have been called.
This Vera woman is sicker then everyone thinks
Those who don’t listen, never learn! Very uneducated and unprofessional! Very thankful I do not have do deal with this CRAZY lady!!!
Scott is my brother and I KNOW Scott. He KNOWS his job and he does his job to the BEST of his ability. This woman is nothing more than a bully. He didn’t even have to SPEAK to her, its NOT her property!!! she shouldn’t be there.
I beleive the Mannings asked her to be there and were glad she took the video.
When WPX first came, they unhooked the water pump and left the live wires dangling in the methane contaminated well.
I want to let you know of my new book for your perusal.
‘The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science’
I have been silenced for 40 years by the MSM.
PS My website is
I spent a lot of time with the Manning this Spring. Their water contamination is real. I find the demonization of all of those harmed by Industry that this site supports to be grotesque. The Mannings tests are being withheld as trial evidence. I’m glad we have a citizen with the guts to film the ruination of families happening in NE Penn.
DEP: Drilling not to blame for Franklin Forks water woes
BY LAURA LEGERE (STAFF WRITER)
Published: April 30, 2013
Poor water quality at three Susquehanna County homes appears to reflect background conditions and cannot be attributed to nearby gas drilling, the Department of Environmental Protection said Monday.
The well water at the homes in Franklin Twp. contains potentially unsafe or unpleasant amounts of methane, metals and salts, but the water’s signature is similar to that of a nearby natural spring and a mobile home park that abandoned its water source over a decade ago because it contained too much methane and salt, DEP said in a statement and letters to the residents.
Distinguishing characteristics of the gas in the well water also do not match the gas in the closest Marcellus Shale wells, owned by WPX Energy, DEP said.
The findings cap a 16-month state investigation that began in December 2011 after residents of the rural corner known as Franklin Forks complained of gray or black water and one family noticed water spurting sporadically through the cap of its well. The case drew the attention of celebrities, activists and members of the national and international press.
Samples taken by the state found methane at double what regulators call the “level of concern” – the point when gas begins to seep out of water into the air, creating a potential explosion risk if it collects in enclosed spaces. The tests also found barium at more than twice federal safe drinking water limits, as well as high concentrations of iron, aluminum, manganese, total dissolved solids and chloride.
Regulators originally suggested to residents that the likely source of the gas was a natural methane seep documented for over a century in nearby Salt Springs State Park, but they also evaluated other potential pathways, including Marcellus Shale wells drilled in the township.
Because the water wells are several thousand feet from the nearest natural gas wells they were not tested before gas exploration began, making comparisons between past and current water quality difficult.
The state cited WPX for defective cemented casing in two of the closest natural gas wells in 2011, but the department’s assessment of the wells’ construction during the investigation did not find problems that could link them to the water quality at the homes.
WPX voluntarily vented the families’ water wells to disperse the methane and began providing the homes with replacement water supplies in March 2012 after DEP requested help for the residents. WPX has not yet determined if or when it will halt water deliveries to the homes, spokeswoman Susan Oliver said.
She praised the DEP’s investigation in a statement, calling it a “science-based, fact-finding effort” that “definitively” cleared the company of blame.
WPX conducted its own investigation and prepared an extensive report that also concluded that its operations had no impact on the families’ water supplies. As part of the process, the company did more than 80 water quality tests at residential wells in the area and more than 55 integrity tests on the two gas wells that were a focus of the state’s study. The report suggested that floods that swamped Franklin Forks in 2011 might have pushed existing methane in the aquifer into water supplies.
DEP spokeswoman Colleen Connolly said the agency reviewed WPX’s findings but based its conclusions on its independent investigation.
“There’s just naturally occurring methane in that area,” she said. “Some areas of the county are more prone to methane than others.”
Franklin Twp. resident Tammy Manning, whose family sued WPX last year, said the state’s findings are both unsurprising and unconvincing.
Nothing in the state’s explanation clarifies why the water quality in her neighborhood changed “all at once,” she said.
“Why, all of a sudden, can’t we use our water?” she asked.
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org
Yes, governmental agencies have failed citizens in Penn, Wyoming and Texas.
What’s your take on why one day, homes in the area had water wells fulls of methane that was not there before? I filmed the water of another family who had been living at their home for years before their water became full of methane. They are afraid to speak out. They fear local intimidation. Can;t say I blame them.
How do you feel about these findings: DEP unprepared in 2009; now understaffed,
underfunded and inconsistent
Hope, No one doubts the results of the water test! But didn’t they have a new well put in right before “Fracking” (even though it was not frac’d yet) “ruined” their water? As a DP moderator posted WPX has been cleared of any wrong doing! And if you click on your name it goes straight to a Anti-Drilling website! Seems like you are just another fear mongering nobody, looking for your 15 minutes, and “Hoping” the ride the Tammy’s Coat tails there.
Regardless of how old the well was when the contamination occurred, they had been in the well for a year and had no issues pre-fracking. A women who grew up in the house also visited and said as long as her family was there the water was clear.
I do note that your side seems trained to mock others. Sad. And no, AK Productions is not an Anti-drilling website – but if it was it would not color the value of these questions.
I am against fracking and anti long term use of fossil fuels. Tho the smear campaign from the pro-gas side tries to intimidate many, I am not intimidated or afraid to say that publicly. Not keen to fry my grandchildren. Happy to elaborate of needed.
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