Two Medina County couples have filed lawsuits in federal court in Cleveland against a gas-drilling company for allegedly contaminating their wells and exposing them to toxic chemicals.
Neighbors Mark and Sandra Mangan and William and Stephanie Boggs, who live on State Road in Granger Township, filed the two suits this week against Delaware-based Landmark 4 LLC in connection with drilling in 2008 at nearby Allardale Park.
The suits say the drilling discharges caused the two families to incur “health injuries, loss of use and enjoyment of their property, loss of quality of life, emotional distress and other damages.”
Their homes have lost value, the families must haul drinking water and they live in fear of explosions and bad water, the suits charge.
The suits seek damages in excess of $75,000 each and are seeking court-supervised medical testing for the families due to alleged toxic exposures.
The suits allege Landmark 4 failed to provide sufficient cement for below-ground casings at two wells and were negligent in training workers.
Landmark 4 denies the allegations in the suits, said spokesman Geoffrey Gordon-Creed, a managing partner and an attorney. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources said there was no connection between the Allardale wells and the two families, he said.
A federal health agency has gotten involved. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, part of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says potentially explosive levels of natural gas at the two houses are still a public health threat.
The problems might be linked to the two wells at Allardale Park or a nearby abandoned well, the agency said.
It called for a number of corrective steps to alleviate problems at the two properties and has discussed the issue with Ohio agencies.
The state is developing a plan to plug the abandoned well on a nearby property, one of the actions the federal agency recommended, ODNR spokeswoman Heidi Hetzel-Evans said.
According to the Mangans, their problems began Sept. 29, 2008, when they found their drinking-water well had gone dry at the same time the company was drilling for natural gas at Allardale Park, about a half mile away.
When water returned to the well, it had an unpleasant taste and a rotten-egg scent. It was salty. It bubbled. It contained methane gas and a gray slurry of cement.
The Mangans could ignite the gas bubbles in the water from their kitchen sink, they said.
The Boggs have had similar problems, they told federal officials.
The two Allardale Park gas wells were drilled to a depth of 3,700 feet and cemented on the outside for environmental protection. Hydraulic fracturing reportedly was then performed at the vertical wells.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources investigated and said there was no link between the drilling and the problems facing the two families.
Bob Downing can be reached at 330-996-3745 or firstname.lastname@example.org.