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Uncapped basement gas well in Charleroi targeted

| Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Brenda Kyle purchased a home at 920 Rear Fallowfield Ave. in Charleroi in the spring of 2012 and called the gas company for utility hookup.

But while doing a test, the meters detected gas in the basement. Gas company workers found a well located in the basement of the home, and a pipe from the well was visible.

Charleroi Borough Manager Donn Henderson said borough officials are unsure how long the uncapped well was in the home.

“We assume the well was put there 70 to 80 years ago since there are no records,” Henderson said.

The home had been vacant for a while before Kyle purchased it. She never occupied it. Instead, the borough issued a state of emergency for the property, Henderson said.

The state Department of Environmental Protection and the utility vented it. The borough acquired the property.

This week, state Rep. Pete Daley announced that a $147,000 grant was approved to plug the potentially dangerous gas well.

In a released statement, Daley said the well “must be plugged because of the health and safety dangers it poses to nearby homes.”

With the state funding, the condemned home will be razed before the well is plugged with concrete.

The grant is being issued through The Orphan & Abandoned Well Fund, created through the impact fees collected on oil and gas wells The house will be inspected for lead and asbestos before it can be razed.

When the borough receives the grant funding, it will immediately demolish the house, cap the well and build a fence around it. Reclamation of the property will also be completed.

Henderson said there is no danger to any other homes in the neighborhood.

“We believe it is properly vented and the DEP and gas company have been monitoring it,” Henderson said. “We all believe it is safe, but it's not something you want go unchecked.”

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or cbuckley@tribweb.com.

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