Wayne and Angel Smith

The water, air, and soil on Wayne and Angel's farm has been contaminated by natural gas activity around, above, and below them.

While much recent discussion has focused on drilling in the Marcellus, natural gas production doesn’t stop when the gas comes out of the ground. Wells drilled near Wayne and Angel Smith’s farm near Clearville in Bedford County, PA are being used to store gas underground in the Oriskany formation, a sandstone layer just below the Marcellus.

The company, Steckman Ridge, and its parent company Spectra Energy, hope to store 12 billion cubic feet of gas there when the facility is complete. The Smiths had an outstanding lease on their property, and Spectra used eminent domain on their neighbors.

But the activity below the surface has changed their lives. In 2007 their well water turned brown, and a spring bubbled up in their barn, both around the time drilling started. Animals who drank the water died. The Smiths later found out that their water had hazardous levels of arsenic. Foaming chemicals and oily resides still float down their streams and into their pond.

And the plant Steckman Ridge uses to compress the gas has blown oil and gases for miles, spotting their farm with residue beyond the toxic emissions they are allowed to release everyday.

Here’s a video Angel made about one incident:

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