A few days ago, Jason and Debby Kline got an unpleasant surprise. The tap water in their home in Garrettsville, Ohio--south of Cleveland--is flammable.
It started just weeks ago, when they noticed their water was fizzing. Then, when Debby lit a candle near the sink, the water lit up.The Klines told their story to NBC's Jeff Rossen. His piece aired on this morning's Today show--watch it here:
"We're putting our kids in the bathtub every night in this explodable water," Debby said.
Turns out, there's highly-flammable methane gas in their well water.
The Klines got suspicious when their water suddenly began fizzing. Then one day Debby lit a candle near the water, and a huge flame shot up all the way to the ceiling. Tests subsequently revealed that the Klines' water contained 22 parts of methane, more than double the acceptable limit. Apparently methane is an issue for people who use wells, not municipal water.
It turns out that Mountaineer Keystone, a natural gas company, had started drilling next door a few weeks earlier. In what sounds like a red flag that got missed, tests before drilling started showed methane levels at 9 parts, just within the limit. The state is investigating.
According to WKYC-TV in Cleveland, the Klines' water has other problems as well.
But it's not only methane that's concerning the family.The Klines have been told that to fix the methane problem, they will need to buy a methane filtering system, gas and CO meters and a vented well cap. The filtering system alone costs $8,000--way more than they can afford. In the meantime, they have had to drink and cook with bottled water and can't use their fireplace. They still bathe in it, albeit reluctantly.
The ODNR report also showed the well water's chloride levels were nearly twice the safe limit.
George Sosebee is with Concerned Citizens of Ohio. Since April, on the first Sunday of the month, they meet at King Of Glory Church off of state Route 303 to test the well water of Portage County residents who are concerned about the influx of drilling and fracking rigs popping up around them.
The group tests salinity and chloride levels with a $48 kit they bought out of a laboratory catalog and meters they received from the Sierra Club.
Sosebee says they're no experts but they're trying to get a baseline measurement to show a difference if levels elevate. The Kline's water tested off their charts too.
Scary, scary, scary. If there was ever an argument for a major rethink on fracking, this is it.