COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
Dept. of Environmental Protection
Commonwealth News Bureau
Room 308, Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg PA., 17120
DEP APPROVES MONITORING, PROTECTIVE CASING
PLANS FOR VANDERGRIFT GAS WELL
PITTSBURGH – The Department of Environmental
Protection has approved two plans that are designed to protect the
residents of a Westmoreland County community from stray methane gas
from what is believed to be an old, abandoned well in Vandergrift.
The monitoring plan and a protective casing plan approved by DEP
apply to a gas well drilled by Gas and Oil Co. LLC on Ninth Street
in Vandergrift. Activity at the well in May resulted in gas
migrating through the soil to a residential area of East
DEP had made reactivation of the well contingent upon the
development and implementation of the monitoring and protective
“The approval to reactivate the well was given only after we were
confident that the necessary measures to protect the public had been
put in place,” said DEP’s Southwest Regional Director Kenneth
“To guarantee the public safety, the
monitoring plan we approved requires the company to cease production
if we find evidence of sustained gas concentrations. If that
happens, Gas and Oil Co. must permanently plug and abandon the
On May 21, Gas and Oil Co. fractured several geologic rock
formations 3,500 feet below the ground to extract the methane gas it
DEP believes this fracturing affected an old
buried abandoned well and allowed gas to escape and make its way
through to the surface.
The company reported the problem to DEP, which then assessed
conditions at the well and monitored the soil and fill material.
The agency found high concentrations of stray
methane gas along Foundry Street near the intersection of McKinley
No gas was detected in any of the homes.
To stop the gas migration, DEP required the company to “kill the
well,” a process whereby the well is filled with a saltwater
solution to prevent gas from leaving the rock formations and
entering the well.
Currently, gas concentrations have not been detected at all
monitoring points and there is no longer residual gas in the soils
from the initial incident.
As required by the monitoring plan, Gas and Oil Co. has installed
methane alarms in the seven homes nearest the area where stray gas
was detected in May.
Additionally, the company will monitor for stray
gas at 10 DEP-designated locations, and the department will then
evaluate that data.
The company will also immediately report to DEP any combustible gas
detected at concentrations of 2 percent or greater.
DEP will monitor conditions separately to ascertain the company’s
Before returning the well to production, the company will install
additional protective casing to close off the area where gas was
migrating from the suspected abandoned well.
Casing is the pipe installed at various depths to
guide gas to the surface and prevent migration away from the well.
For more information,
website, keyword: Oil and gas.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA