Old Well / New Well Communication Possible in South Strabane Twp PA?

Story by Karen Mansfield of the Observer-Reporter on November 8, 2022 reports:

Two South Strabane Township homes test positive for methane
November 8, 2022 – South Strabane Township Department of Fire and Emergency Management and the Washington County Department of Public Safety on Sunday partnered to meter 42 homes on Scout Drive after a confirmed methane leak in two homes on the street last week. According to South Strabane Fire Chief Jordan Cramer, officials from the fire department, Department of Public Safety, Columbia Gas, and Range Resources arrived in the neighborhood around 9:30 a.m., and by 1 p.m. all of the homes had been tested.

Karen Mansfield | Observer-Reporter

Documents at the Washington County Recorder of Deeds indicate that at least 7 properties on Scout Drive leased their gas rights in 2014, which could indicate that gas well laterals were drilled and fracked beneath, or near those residential parcels, in following years.

Since the news story mentions Range Resources, a quick check of PA DEP Oil & Gas Mapping shows several well pads in the vicinity of the thermogenic methane, situated in the basic direction that a northwest lateral would run from a gas well at those locations. Is it possible that fracking activity ‘communicated’ with an old, unplugged well in the midst of that Scout Drive housing plan? Since hydraulic fracturing is done with pressures of 9,000 p.s.i. or more, an old unplugged oil or gas well could easily provide a conduit to the surface. Not all of the old wells were properly mapped, so we have seen at least two cases where one turned-up in the midst of neighborhoods in Washington County, Pennsylvania. The area east of where the methane was detected also saw extensive longwall mining in the recent past.

“Combustible gas had been detected at the two homes on Scout Drive. The DEP visited the site on Friday, Saturday, and again on Monday afternoon as part of its continuing investigation. According to the DEP, the highest sustained indoor ambient air readings were approximately 1% or less of the lower explosive limit (LEL). The gas company also said initial test results show that the gas is different in composition from the gas properties that run through its natural gas distribution pipeline.”

Biogenic and thermogenic gas:
Video on Lower (LEL) and Upper (UEL) Explosive Levels:

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