All the fish in the 21/2 acre pond have died in the past month, leaving an odor that is hard to ignore.
By PEGGY SINKOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
BAZETTA -- Dorelina and Lee Somerville have learned that free gas comes at a price.
The township couple, who allowed Great Lakes Energy Partners of Hartville to drill on their property in exchange for free gas for their home, now need clean water.
"I'm not blaming anyone, but something went horribly wrong," Mrs. Somerville said Monday. "We have well water, and we can't use it. It now contains hydrogen sulfide, oil and petroleum residues and coliform bacteria. We can't shower here, and we can't even wash clothes because then our clothes will be contaminated."
Mrs. Somerville noted that CasChem Laboratories Inc. of Canton tested their water in April and May. It was contaminated.
Mrs. Somerville, her husband and their 14-year-old son and her 73-year-old father live in the home. The four have been forced to shower at friends' or relatives' homes.
"There is no clean water to wash dishes with, so we've been eating all of our meals out," Mrs. Somerville said.
The fish in the Somervilles' 21/2-acre pond have died in the past month, leaving an odor that is hard to ignore.
"This pond was filled with bass and bluegill," Mrs. Somerville said, noting she has lived on the eight-acre property at 2577 Bazetta Road 30 years. "We used to go swimming in this pond when I was a kid. Nothing like this has ever happened before."
The Somervilles are hoping they will be able to get water from Trumbull County.
"There is a fire hydrant right across the street, and we are hoping the trustees, the county health department and the county commissioners can somehow let us access that water so we can get clean water in the house," Mrs. Somerville said.
Commissioner Michael O'Brien said he would do whatever is possible to help out the family.
"I'm not exactly sure what we can do, but I hope to have some type of answer for them this week," O'Brien said.
"I'd like to help her, but I really don't know what we can do because it seems like it is a problem between her and the gas well company," Bill Glancy, a Bazetta Township trustee, said.
Glancy, O'Brien and Mrs. Somerville are concerned because in times of high water, the pond overflows to a creek that runs into Mosquito Lake. Mosquito Lake is the city of Warren's water supply.
How it began
Mrs. Somerville said that in February she entered into a lease with Great Lakes Energy Partners. The oil and gas well was constructed on the property by the end of February, she said.
"In April and May we started noticing that the water was smelling funny, so that is why we got it tested," Mrs. Somerville said.
Mrs. Somerville said that in June the smell was getting worse and she couldn't get any help from Great Lakes Energy Partners.
"I called Atty. Sarah Kovoor for some help because I want to try and determine what happened," Mrs. Somerville said.
Kovoor said she sent a letter to the company Monday saying the Somervilles think the company defaulted on the lease because the water well on the property has become contaminated.
Officials at Great Lakes Energy Partners did not return a telephone call seeking comment.
Glancy said the company must also construct a fence around the oil and gas well.
"It's the township's policy that all these gas wells are to be fenced," Glancy said. "We will do what we can to make sure the company does that."