Residents deal with contaminated water from drilling

12:01 AM, Feb 12, 2013   |    comments
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BAINBRIDGE -- Richard Payne still remembers what it felt like when a gas explosion lifted his house off its foundation five years.

"I thought it was an earthquake," he says.

Richard and his wife, Thelma, were asleep when the explosion took place in their English Drive house in Bainbridge.

Turns out their home was down the street from an oil and gas well owned by Ohio Valley Energy. Inspectors determined the explosion was caused by a leak in the well, which hadn't been properly cased with cement.

The mistake cost the Paynes their home of 51 years as damage to it was beyond repair.

"I never suspected such a thing would happen," says Thelma.

Many of the Payne's neighbors also suffered a valuable loss: water.

"You could actually see the gas bubbling up in the water," explains Frances McGee, whose water well, along with dozens of her neighbors, was contaminated when gas leaked into the water aquifer.

"Many of them we found 100 percent explosive limits that the gas was actually in their wells," says Assistant Fire Chief Wayne Burge.

Ohio Valley Energy paid for drinking water to be supplied to affected familes and 1,500-gallon water tanks were put in garages.

It took two years before residents around the gas explosion site were connected to city water.

"All the people wanted was to be made whole by having water," says Frances. "Without water, you really don't have a home."
















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