from Beacon Journal, January 26, 2012

Randolph Township Trustees have organized a series of informational discussions about gas and oil drilling.  Last Thursday’s overflow crowd listened to the experiences of their neighbors since Chesapeake Energy Corp began drilling in Portage County.

One Randolph resident, Steve Kitchen, said his problems began last September when Chesapeake began drilling in nearby Suffield Township.  Though he lives 2 miles away from the drilling site, he reported black-gray clay and sand came from his home’s spigots, nearly clogging his toilet lines.

Water pressure dropped.  Kitchen cleaned black-gray clay from his sump pump and from the filter on his water softener.

Then his water pump burned out and had to be replaced at a cost of $550.

Today his water is still dark.  His water softener is plugged.

He had this warning for his neighbors:  “They put the well in, and suddenly I had problems.  If it can reach me, it can reach you.”

To the applause of the crowd, another resident called for a moratorium on drilling in the township.  Applause not withstanding, that won’t happen.  In 2004 the Ohio Legislature took control out of the hands of local communities.

No representative from Chesapeake was at the meeting to address the citizens’ concerns.

Executive Director of the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program, Rhonda Reda, defended the industry by explaining the drilling process to the assembled.  She predicted that Ohio will get 3,800 wells drilled into the Utica Shale formation over the next five years.

Reda said that currently the industry pulls out only about 20% of underground natural gas.  Thanks to increased technology, 20 years from now, the industry expects to recover 70-80 %, she explained.

But she offered no explanation of how increased technology would protect residents’ water supplies.

One might think the industry didn’t care.


  1. I live less than 1 mile from this “Fracking Disaster Site” that a farmer sold out to and I too am having water issues with pressure and sand.. Why are these people not responsible for their actions?? I have lived in this area for 35 years and never seen such a recklous operation allowed. We should nopt suffer because a few decided to cash in on this process because they are money hungry and dont care about the other people.. This is rediculous!!

    • Mike–I’m sad to know that you and others are written off as “collateral damage” in the que$t for $$. Our state government gave the green flag to abuse when they took away the right of determination from local communities regarding the choice of to drill or not to drill. Some landowners failed to read or failed to understand the language in the contracts they signed regarding what the drilling company was & wasn’t responsible for.

      You express yourself well. Please express yourself out loud in your community and join groups favoring regulation & indemnification.

      You and others like you are in my heart.

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