Drilling Hazards and Homes: How Close is too Close?

by Nicole Good on September 22, 2011

As draft legislation to regulate horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing in West Virginia is making progress in committee, WV SORO takes up dispute with one particular amendment that has not been proposed yet: the buffer between a home and a well pad.   As the draft legislation stands, a rig could be set up 200 feet (or less, possibly) from a private structure, including a home.  Julie Archer of WV SORO says this is unacceptable, and wants the buffer to be at least 1,000 feet.  While this distance may protect inhabitants’ safety, it still doesn’t protect property value.

The most common complaint of those living in close proximity to a rig is the light and noise, but accidents, explosions, and air pollution are also concerns.  Pro-Publica published an article late last week covering the lack of comprehensive studies to track air quality and health complications from persons living in close proximity to shale gas operations.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

DR. JERRY A MOORE, PHD, JD September 24, 2011 at 10:48 pm

I have a farm near Four States (WV). Just below my property line, which is a road, XTO started a permit 2 years ago, which I complained about to them and to the DEP Oil and Gas Inspector. They filled in two small wetlands and created a stream imbalance by filling in ecologically sensitive bottomland. Nobody acted and now the hillside is falling in from my private road. XTO had to build a fence of galvanized pipe and correct the slippage.

A water well in the bottomland is less than 200 feet from a mobile home that I rent there. The young woman is pregnant and the noise will make my property and the mobile home worthless. They cannot be exposed to the fumes from drilling and fracking, let alone the frac water returning. A neighbor is negotiating with XTO for a 24 inch gas line through his property.

We worry about ground contamination but the initial damage caused by drillers by filling in wetlands and riparian areas is far more environmentally damaging. Nobody has brought up this issue thus far in the Legislature. Jerry A. Moore.


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