Well irks residents
WEATHERSFIELD — Constant noise, flood lights, smell of diesel fuel and worries about the safety of their drinking water were enough for some residents of the Westwood Lake mobile home park who live a stone’s throw from a Utica Shale natural gas well where fracking began last week.
But when apparently misguided trucks heading for the well site ended up on the park’s quiet dead-end street in recent weeks – including one driver banging on the door of Dave Clouser’s home at 3 a.m. – frustrations really grew.
Clouser and his neighbor, Pat McCrudden, said they knew of three or four trucks that had headed down their neatly manicured lane in recent weeks, apparently guided by coordinates for Halcon Resources’ Kibler Well entered into GPS devices.
The well is about 100 yards from their homes on Spring Pines Drive in the Westwood Lake Park. But the problem is, the Kibler well is on the other side of a lake in Lordstown village.
Clouser said he was awakened in recent weeks by a man pounding on his door in search of the “site office.”
“Does this look like the office?” Clouser said he responded to the man.
In another instance, the mobile home park manager said a flatbed truck carrying a massive “drill bit” pulled into the mobile home park off Austintown-Warren Road before park personnel were able to flag him down and turn him around.
After Clouser complained to the Trumbull County Engineer’s Office, road use maintenance agreement coordinator Jack Simon said he spent several hours in the park but never encountered any stray trucks. He said he also spoke to all the related trucking companies, and none acknowledged making the wrong turn.
Still, he contacted Halcon Resources, who erected signs at the park entrance turning away all Halcon vehicles.
While Simon said he has no way of knowing how the error occurred, he did determine that the nearest street address to the well site’s latitude and longitude coordinates is Clouser’s Spring Pines Drive home – despite the fact that it’s across a lake with no bridge.
Vince Bevacqua, local spokesman for Halcon, acknowledged that Halcon immediately addressed the traffic issue with new signage and said, “We’re pleased that appears to have addressed the issue.”
While the traffic issue seems to be resolved, McCrudden and her husband, who live across the street from Clouser, said other concerns still plague her.
“I have been more involved with this than anybody in this park. I have been concerned about it environmentally,” she said.
The drilling rig, erected in January, was removed April 8, she said. The hydraulic fracturing phase began Saturday, Simon said. It is expected to last for about two weeks.
“They keep assuring me after it’s done, all I am going to see is a couple pipes coming out of the ground. I don’t believe it because I know they can drill again and again and again. And they can frac again and again and again.
“We don’t want them over here. I do object to them being so close,” McCrudden said.