Gas well noise irks residents

WARREN – Residents of Westwood Lake mobile home park on Wednesday took their displeasure and frustration over a new Utica Shale horizontal gas well near their homes to Trumbull County commissioners, who coincidentally or not, addressed one of the group’s issues before they could speak.

Commissioners agreed to ask the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to monitor the air quality at each natural gas and oil well drilling location in Trumbull County to ”help ensure the health and safety” of all county residents.

They also said they would find out whether some sort of noise ordinance could be put into place after one man told stories of some park residents wearing noise-canceling headphones while they slept to counter the noise coming from the well.

Commissioner Paul Heltzel said the matter would be looked into, but he doubts the county is authorized to implement that type of regulation.

”If we have the power to do that, we will certainly examine that, but it’s my guess we don’t have the power to do that,” Heltzel said.

Residents of the park in Weathersfield have been upset about the commotion the well on Brunstetter Road in Lordstown has been making, especially now since it’s in the ”flaring” stage. Flaring is the controlled burn of natural gas that is common practice in the gas and oil well industry to test the well’s productivity and stabilize its pressure, according to the Ohio EPA.

Flaring at the well, called the ”Kibler” well, began in mid-June relatively quietly, but burst into a constant, loud roar over the weekend, according to residents.

Concerns other than the noise include what some residents said was the loss of wildlife from the area and air quality.

”We need to find out what is in the air and quit playing guessing games,” said park resident Earl Patch.

Mike Settles, Ohio EPA spokesman, said the agency is aware of the commissioners’ request, noting that Ohio already has an ”extensive” statewide monitoring network in place to track air safety and quality.

In addition, once a well enters the production phase, needed is an Ohio EPA air permit that places limits on emissions and puts into place reporting and monitoring requirements, Settles said.