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Official Encourages Methane Venting



Dear Editor:

As our county transitions into the Wyoming County gas fields, residents are preparing in a variety of ways to adjust to this new industry in the area.

One safety measure that is advisable when living in an area of natural gas exploration is to vent one’s water well. Baseline test results may or may not indicate minuscule amounts of methane in one’s water supply. Regardless, venting of the water well needs to be considered.

“Because methane is colorless and odorless, it may accumulate undetected in well bores and well enclosures that are not properly vented. Methane may also move into basements of homes and other structures through plumbing and electrical connections. These conditions can lead to an explosion.” [DEP Fact Sheet]

Those interested in taking this recommended safety precaution can obtain a fact sheet that includes instructions on well venting from both the Department of Environmental Protection and Penn State Extension. These are available on their websites: http://www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/deputate/minres/districts/homepage/california/SSA/5600-FS-DEP2690.pdf  or http://pubs.cas.psu.edu/FreePubs/pdfs/XH0010.pdf.

Those lacking computer access can stop in at the local Penn State Extension office and ask for “Water Facts #24, Methane Gas and its Removal from Wells in Pennsylvania”.

“Fortunately, methane will not accumulate in the well bore if the well is properly vented to the air. Venting is an inexpensive and effective way to prevent methane accumulation in wells, well enclosures and other confined spaces, such as basements. Proper venting eliminates the potential for methane to seep into homes from water wells.” [DEP Fact Sheet]

As a worthwhile safety measure, please consider venting your family’s water well.


Emily Krafjack

Community, Municipal & Environmental Liaison

Wyoming County Courthouse

Courthouse Square

Tunkhannock, PA



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