(440) 521-5399. This home inspection resulted in a turn of the century gas vent for a pocket of gas that was once used by this old farm house located in Rocky River, Ohio. Back in the late 1800`s gas was drilled for by the farm owner to use for heating and cooking purposes. Drilling companies would drill for the pockets of gas and then surface case the hole they drilled. Surface casing is a pipe that protects Underground Sources of Drinking Water (USDW) from oil-field contamination. Ohio requires that surface casing be set 50 feet below the bottom of the deepest USDW and sealed with cement or prepared clay. This double protection of pipe and sealant separates oil, gas and brine from freshwater supplies.The production casing allows oil and gas to move freely up the wellbore by protecting it from formations and water.
So what is a current buyer suppose to do when deciding on purchasing this home? Some questions I have been asked are, " Can I tap into this pocket of gas for my house?", " Are there any hazards I need to know about?"
So, I contacted the State of Ohio for information that my clients can use.
I met Norbert Lowder through the department of Natural Resources at he was very informative when we met at the property. The first thing he showed me was how the state keeps track of the location of these old wells. Next, he examined the vent pipe to determine if indeed this was a gas vent pipe, that it was connected, and if there was a presence of gas from the orphaned well. Everything appeared to be okay with Norbert.
Then I asked him is there anything for my client to do with the orphaned well. He said that homeowners who inherit these orphaned wells can get on a waiting list to plug the well. The program that the state of Ohio has set up addresses the need to plug abandoned oil and gas wells and restore land surfaces by administering an annual $1 million dollar account to support these projects. Now the only obligation to the new owner is to expose the casing head for the state contractors can get access to the well. Usually these casing heads are within five feet from the surface. Also to consider is for example in the picture up at the top of this page shows a the gas vent for the well. But, the casing head could be inside this garage underneath the concrete floor. And for the contractor to plug the well the garage may have to come down...thats if the head is under the garage floor. Because for the contractor to get his equipment in position the structure may have to come down. This is worst case scenario. Cost to plug the well by the state runs anywhere between $5,000 to $20,000 dollars. It really all depends what they run into.
I then asked him if the new buyer can tap into this source of gas for his home. And his answer was yes but, they are then responsible for any problems with the well from here on out. So, if there are any problems with the well it will be up to them to clean up any environmental issues that may arise with the well and responsible for permits and requirements with the state of Ohio. My personnel opinion is in a residential area this may be a huge responsibility. I think the best route to take with these wells before buying the property is have the current homeowner locate the well head ( usually done by the department of natural resources with a metal detector), and then see if there will be cost to plug the well at a later date...such as removing structures for the contractor to get into the require position with there equipment.
Crown Inspection Solutions
20800 Center Ridge Rd.
Rocky River, Ohio 44116