Hills are alive with sound of fracking

ADAMS TOWNSHIP – A well-appointed, bright sunroom might be the perfect place to read a book, have a cup of tea or just relax and enjoy the breeze.

In Debbie Misel’s sunroom, the view is far from a day at the beach.

From Misel’s sunroom at 1190 Dixon Ridge Road northeast of Lowell, she can monitor progress on the Colorado-based PDC Energy horizontal fracking operation, the first in Washington County. She’s done just that.

“We were in Florida when the dozers came in to move dirt for weeks on end,” she said Tuesday while displaying her photo album of the transformation from farm and pastures to full-fledged drilling operation. She even has about 70 photos on her computer she hasn’t printed yet.

She said he makes a point of looking down the hill at the looming tower, wondering what is the purpose of the train whistle that goes off periodically. She even cannot believe seashells can be found at the bottom of the fracturing well, some 5,700 feet down.

“I don’t understand the geology,” Misel said.

Misel and her neighbors along Dixie Ridge Road do not seem to be bothered by extra traffic, dust and noise because they haven’t experienced such problems.

Just down the road, Tom Morrison, 66, of 970 Dixon Ridge Road, has lived on the property for 30 years. Morrison also has worked on drilling and still has some operating wells.

“You can’t hardly hear it,” Morrison said of the noise from the well. “They did a lot of work to keep the dust down.”

PDC repaired that 3-mile section of road by making it flatter, smoother and free of most of the dust.

Because of Morrison’s experience, he said he has seen loads of 4 1/2-inch pipe being trucked in, an indication the project is nearing its final steps.

Misel said PDC reported that process of cement and pipe would take about a week. However, the process continues after 3 1/2 weeks.

“If you run the air conditioner, you don’t notice (the occasion grindy noise)” Misel said. “I’m tickeled for them. I hope it does its thing.”

Morrison said because the operation is powered by electricity, it doesn’t produce the noise traditional oil wells produced.

Betsy Cook, with the Southeastern Ohio Fracking Interest Group, said the group has been keeping an eye on the operation.

The group is made up of local residents who monitor the health, environmental and safety effects of hydraulic fracturing (fracking).

“I don’t think they are far enough along to think about noise or how much water they are using,” Cook said. “It looks like the company is trying to work with the neighbors. I hope we can all work on this together and do it safely and protect the environment.”

She said several test wells are being drilled to see if our area has good potential. For example, she said, Triad has permits for two Monroe County wells and one Washington County.

No one from PDC could be reached for comment.