Wotring Road is a mess and residents are upset. The coal company that owned the mineral rights in their area leased the land, and the residents had no say about how anything would procede.
They have new Marcellus wells on the “Best Pad” and a new pond. While it was originally a freshwater impoundment pond the size of a football field, it now holds wastewater trucked in, drained from the nearby wells, or pumped from another flowback pit in the area whose liner failed.
The smell is something awful. The breeze picks up chemicals and fumes as it moves across the surface.
The fumes from the pond drive June into the basement of her house. But the air isn’t great down there either. There’s enough hydrocarbons in the air to create an oily film on her mirror. She breathes it every day.
She’s worried about her health and the health of her dogs, which live in a fenced in area next to the pit.
She has locked them inside before, like the time when the company tried to flare multiple wells from the nearby pad at the same time, creating an uncontrollable blaze and so much heat that it caught the impoundment pond liner on fire. “It was like a 747 hitting you right in the face,” said June. “It was so hot we couldn’t even stand out in our yard. For three days the beagles had to stay in the garage.”
June’s husband was suffering from cancer as the company felled the woods behind their house to make the pit. He had hunting rights there and used to watch over the land and track deer there with his four beagles. “This area was beautiful when we moved here,” June said. It was “country living.” Her husband was dying as they drilled and fracked the wells next door.
She had two cats, but lost a one year old cat, who she believes fell into or drank from the pond or produced water puddles. She’s put its body in the freezer, hoping that someday, someone who knows what to look for will test its body.
“Now I don’t know what to do. How am I going to pay for an attorney?” said June. “I’m by myself and am ‘What am I going to do?'”
Here’s the “pond” behind her house:
Watch June and other citizens of Hopewell township confront Range Resources at a township supervisor’s meeting (she starts speaking at 4:05):