To the editor:
I am writing this letter to call attention to a problem caused by a natural gas well in Jefferson County. This is an older shallow well located in the Yellow Creek watershed in northern Jefferson County. As you are reading this letter, the well is pumping salt brine into Yellow Creek and contaminating the water in the creek. We can prove that the contamination is a problem because both chemical and biological monitoring data is available for Yellow Creek.
This data shows significant damage to the water quality. The Macroinvertebrate Aggregate Index of Streams has been measured for the last three years. This test shows significant damage to the water quality. The population of one invertebrate, Isonychia bicolor, was down from 331 to 12. The problem has been brought to the attention of the State of Ohio's Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management, which is responsible for oversight of the oil and gas industry in Ohio. The division has not acted on this problem.
There is an obvious question here. If the Division of Oil and Gas Resources management cannot handle a small problem like this, how is it going to handle the larger potential problems posed by Marcellus shale drilling and hydraulic fracturing of the shale?
Our local county commissioners, state representatives and federal representatives are all in favor of gas drilling but all have stated that they do not want to see the environment damaged. The environment is being damaged right now in an obvious and unnecessary way. Our representatives need to step up and stop the pollution of Yellow Creek.
James L. Slater
Former supervisor of the
Jefferson County Soil