Do You Have a Well-Pad Coming to Your Neighborhood?

Do You Have a Well-Pad Coming to Your Neighborhood?

With market conditions again turning favorable for gas and oil development, we are again seeing an uptick in drilling activity in the Ohio Valley and there’s a decent probability that those of us that live outside town could soon have a well pad, compressor station, pipeline or other gas and oil infrastructure in our “back yards” so to speak. While the end-result of hydraulic fracturing drilling can sometimes be a pipe and tank or two sticking out of the ground, the process to get to that relatively minor inconvenience can be massively disruptive and harmful to your property or your health. The siting and construction of well pads, compressor stations, or other gas and oil infrastructure typically requires a sizeable excavating and earth moving effort to level hillsides, create roads, and bury transport pipe. This effort can bring a host of different problems and issues to downstream property owners trying to enjoy the peace and quiet of life in the country.

Hydraulic fracturing operations are loud! They first require drilling wells that are thousands of feet into the deeper shale reservoirs that populate our region. This process is time-consuming and noisy and operations often run at all hours of the night. But as noisy as drilling is, it is nothing compared to the noise of the fracturing process, when companies pump over one million gallons of sand, water, and chemicals into the earth to fracture the shale rock and release the gas and oil. That noise can be nearly deafening at times, depending on how close the well is and how the well is oriented to your property. And again, this is a process that occurs during all hours of the day and night.

For those of us used to enjoying the dark of night, with only the stars to light the way, many folks often feel like they’ve been relocated to Las Vegas or New York City in terms of the light put off from a typical well-pad under construction. The light pollution can often be so intrusive as to make sleep and rest difficult for the neighboring property owners. Not to mention the dust, debris, delays and driving hazards associated with the huge increase in truck traffic required to set up a drill site.  But one of the biggest risks to the downstream property owner are alterations of the landscape in a way that brings an increased flow of water onto neighboring homes or properties. We’ve seen these situations time and again in which the construction of a well pad causes the redirection of heavy water flows into and onto residential home sites causing damage to the real property.

While these are some of the most common problems downstream property owners encounter, they’re hardly the only hazards they can face from living near a well pad. Fracking requires a number of toxic chemicals known to be harmful to human health, including cancer-causing benzene, and there have been reports of hazardous releases of benzene in our area from drilling activities.

If you believe that gas and oil companies are trespassing on your property by routing water onto it, creating a nuisance for you or your family or exposing you to harmful chemicals, you should contact an experienced law firm right away to explore your legal rights.