BRADFORD COUNTY, PA – On April 19, Chesapeake Energy handed Galeton Borough Water Authority a $150,000 check to repair the rural, north-central Pennsylvania town’s public water filtration system. Erosion caused by Chesapeake’s development activities filled the borough’s water intake system with sediment.
It is Chesapeake’s first well in the hilly, forested county. Chesapeake apologized, claimed full responsibility, and told Galeton Water Authority that the company wasn’t prepared for local topography and weather. Their Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling well site sits above the Exceptional Value Watershed that provides Galeton’s public drinking water.
Eleven hours after giving Galeton the check, a Chesapeake Marcellus well site two hours east had so much ‘flowback’ from hydraulic fracturing that the toxic fluids could not be contained, spilling over into a tributary of the Susquehanna River and leading to the evacuation of seven families. The well leaked fluids, and then natural gas, for over two days before Chesapeake gained control.
Attorney Todd O’Malley held a press conference at Chesapeake’s office in Towanda, PA two days after the leak nearby in Leroy township. O’Malley called for a moratorium on further hydraulic fracturing until studies are complete regarding the leaks, explosions, underground water contamination, and environmental impacts of current natural gas extraction practices.