Well Water Disappears on Marshall County Farm; What’s the Cause?

by Duane Nichols on October 16, 2017

Farm family looking for answers after well runs dry

From an Article by Anthony Conn, WTOV News 9, October 12, 2017

MARSHALL COUNTY, W.Va. — A family’s well suddenly dries up overnight, leaving them to search for the cause. Water is a key part of everyday life. Unfortunately for one Moundsville family, they’re learning the hard way now that theirs is gone.

Rich Forshey bought his Moundsville farm in 2003 with more than 200 acres of rolling Marshall County countryside. On his property, a well, estimated to be more than 170 years old and still used every day. That changed two weeks ago.

“I checked the faucet and there was no water coming out, so I shut the pump off and came out here and opened my well cover,” Forshey said. “When I opened it, a well that was normally filled up to the top, which is generally within two feet of the surface, was down 26 feet.”

The well is 28 feet under ground. After the sudden drainage, the Forsheys have been forced to get water from other places.

“We’ve lost our water now,” Forshey said. “We’re carrying drinking water in one-gallon jugs now. Then we’re bringing out drums of water for cleaning and flushing the toilet, which really makes it really inconvenient and a pain, but it’s better than not having the water at all.”

Without a clear reason why this happened, Forshey turned to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. The increasing amount of mining and drilling in his area, along with heavy truck traffic served as a possible cause.

“I was under the impression that even though I had heard that when they fracked the well that it’s far below the water table, and I believed that, and I actually still believe that. But when my well disappeared, I had second thoughts about that,” Forshey said.

The WV-DEP said there is drilling and mining near the farm, but none of it is close enough to affect the Forsheys’ well. The nearest gas well is more than 4,000 feet away, and the closest coal mine, more than 10,000 feet.

But the bottom line is, the well has run dry, and the answer is yet to be found. “It just drained overnight,” Forshey said. “The water had to go somewhere.”

Forshey says that he’s open to any suggestions as far as where to go from here. Until then, they’ll be getting their water from elsewhere.

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