Well drilled in 2007
Producing formation(s): Lower Huron and Rhinestreet Shales
Geographic location: latitude 38.501583, longitude -81.75502

Visited first in 2008

This is one of a cluster of wells at the southern end of the long main well access road. This is the first, just after 47-079-00702.

This is a recent well, cut into a hillside facing east. The site's pad was very poorly vegetated. The access road, as for other wells in the area, was in need of maintenance. The pad itself had ruts.

The well didn't have a secondary containment dike for the plastic tank.

The API number required by state regulations was not displayed at the well. This well is probably 47-079-01314 as determined by studying maps in the Office of Oil and Gas.

The main access road for this group of wells is in poor condition.

Entrance to well pad showing ruts and absence of vegetation.

The well pad is almost bare of vegetation.

Leaking gunk at the Christmas tree.

Plastic tank in the background doesn't have required secondary containment.

In addition, the pipes for this well are in need of a coat of paint.


Visited again in 2010

We spent more time at the well site this year.

The pad is barely vegetated and there is a spot on the pad close to the entrance where there has always been standing water when we have visited.

The metal at the wellhead had been painted since we last visited.

It had been raining all day when we visited and water pooling at the casing head showed a small leak. A bubble of natural gas is about to pop.

We were more aware of what the black plastic we had been seeing at sites in 2008 and 2009 meant and identified areas of black plastic on the well pad at this site.

Molly is standing on the well pad. The wellhead is to her left out of the picture frame. The black plastic is sticking up out of the ground a few feet to her left.

There was a water-filled depression near where Molly was standing. We collected a sample for on site testing.

The rainwater collected from the puddle had a chloride concentration of 356 mg/l. Normally rainwater would have little or no chloride. The ground in the area where we collected the water sample is contaminated.

We had noted a large blue portolet on the edge of the site in 2008. It was still there in 2010. This was left behind after drilling.


Visited in 2012

The problems we noted in 2008 included no secondary containment for the condensate storage tank (a dike had been built when we saw the site in 2010), no API number on the wellhead, and problems with maintenance and poor vegetation on the pad.

The visit in 2012 was filmed as a video for presentation at the 2012 Sierra Club Marcellus Academy. During the visit we found an API number on the wellhead but it was wrong; the number was for a well that had never been drilled. There was still no rainwater drain for the condensate tank's secondary containment. There was still visible pit liner to the east of the wellhead, appearing in spots along an eighty-five foot long line. A soil sample found chloride at 536 ppm -- about 100 times above normal background levels. Chloride doesn't persist in soil, it moves through soil just as water does, so finding a high concentration shows contamination from improperly buried pit waste.

There's a spring on the pad between the separator and the wellhead and a seep north of the well's equipment. The pad is still mostly bare of vegetation.

The access road to the site and what we call the Long road which serves as access to a number of wells are both in poor condition, with bad drainage and is heavily rutted.

The completion report for 47-079-01314 can be downloaded.

This is the access road spur to the well pad from the Long Road. The access road is badly rutted and the side ditches are filled with sediment.

There was an API number on the wellhead but it is for a well that was never drilled.

Outcroppings of pit liner emerge from the ground along an 85 foot line just east of the wellhead.

The pad is poorly vegetated.

This is a large piece of pit liner. The orange is a fragment of fencing that surrounded the pit.

The large pit can be seen in this 2005 satellite photo. The line of pit liner seen now is from the left hand edge of the large pit on the right.

Fragments of loose liner lie on the soil near where the smaller pit was located.

The wellhead is a small round dot just above a narrow black line just to the left of the large pit.

At the north end of the pad is a large puddle we've seen every time we've been at this site. We believe this is a seep/spring.

Wells along the Long Road are a popular party area as can be seen by beer cans and signs of bonfires on pads.


Visited in 2013

We've visited this well in 2008, 2010, 2013, and again in 2013. We made a video in 2012 showing what we found at this well site and another (47-079-01314). We returned to this site as part of our response to the Office of Oil and Gas' investigation report. Their report describes what the inspector found at sites we talked about in our 2012 Gas Well Study.

One of the things the Office's report noted was the well vegetated site. We found no change in 2013 compared to earlier visits. If anything the site looked worse.

In the photo the two dark areas to the right of the wellhead are remains of bonfires.

The largest bonfire was situated between the wellhead and the tank.

There are no limits to access to wells for most of the sites on the Long Road. This makes the wells and roads popular for people to party and ride their off the road vehicles.

In 2012 the well had the wrong API number. Our 2013 visit showed that this had been corrected.

One change we noted in 2013 was the removal of large pieces of pit liner from the pad's surface. This is the area where we found high chloride in the soil in 2010 and 2012.

Ruts on the pad are plain in the photograph. The well's access spur road drops down off the pad in the distance.

In 2010 we noted a large blue portolet on the pad near the short cut slope. We didn't see the portolet in 2012 and assumed it had been removed for proper disposal.

In 2013 we found the portolet in the brush a short distance from the pad.


Gas Well Site Visits

Examining Well Sites
How We Examined Well Sites
Environmental Assessment

Table with Links to Wells Visited

47-039-05714 Environmental Assessment
47-079-01492 Environmental Assessment
47-039-02026 Environmental Assessment

2013 Gas Well Workshop

Gas Well Study is the examination of natural gas wells in West Virginia.

Underground Injection Control Class 2 Wells
These wells are used either for the disposal of oil and gas liquid waste or for the enhanced recovery of oil or natural gas.

Gas Well Study Site Visits
Annual reports, environmental assessments, and individual well information.

YouTube Videos
Select videos from the Gas Well Study YouTube channel.

What Happened at Fernow
An investigation into what caused the vegetation death in the land application area after landspraying hydraulic fracture flowback waste.

The Spill at Buckeye Creek
An investigation into a spill from a Marcellus well site into Buckeye Creek in Doddridge county.