Meeting set on gas well failure near Beaver Run reservoir |

Meeting set on gas well failure near Beaver Run reservoir

Joe Napsha
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Natural gas flares off below the Beaver Run Reservoir along Route 380 in BellTownship, on Tuesday, on Feb. 5, 2019.

The failure of CNX Resources Corp.’s gas well near the Bear Run Reservoir in Washington Township in January and its impact on the community will be discussed by environmental groups during a public meeting later this month in Delmont.

The incident involving CNX Resources Shaw 1G Utica shale gas well resulted in pressure rising in nearby shallow gas wells, requiring methane be flared from those wells to reduce the pressure.

A pressure anomaly that forced the shutdown of the gas well likely was caused by a “casing integrity issue” about a mile underground, CNX Resources recently informed investors.

“The community and consumers of this water source deserve to be fully informed about the recent incident and how it could impact their lives,” said Gillian Graber, executive director of Protect PT, a Penn Township-based environmental group, which is one of the sponsors of the 6:30 p.m. Feb. 28 meeting at the Delmont Fire Hall. Protect PT has been an opponent of natural gas development in Penn Township and surrounding communities.

“We would like to discuss the risks that current and future gas development near the reservoir poses for the thousands who rely on this water source,” said Ashley Funk, community organizer from the Mountain Watershed Association, a Melcroft-based group and one of the meeting’s sponsors.

The municipal authority’s reservoir is a water source for 39 municipalities and 130,000 customers in Westmoreland, Armstrong and Indiana counties.

“We want more water quality and air quality testing,” Funk said. “We want to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Protect PT intends to invite representatives from CNX, the Department of Environmental Protection in Pittsburgh and the water authority to the meeting, Graber said.

But, the state environmental protection department will not participate in a public meeting now because of its ongoing investigation into the matter, said Lauren Fraley, DEP in Pittsburgh spokeswoman.

“DEP plans to issue a press release detailing its findings at the conclusion of its investigation,” Fraley said.

Michael Kukura, resident manager for the municipal authority, said a representative would attend the meeting if invited.

Brian Aiello, a spokesman for Cecil-based CNX, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

John Stolz, director of the Center for Environmental Research and Education at Duquesne University, said he intends to get as much information as possible about the incident from the meeting.

“There are a lot of people potentially being affected by this. We are already getting phone calls from a few people with private wells about testing,” because of concern about the quality of their water, Stolz said.

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252 or [email protected]