Texas: The flaming water debate continues despite regulator case closure

Jun 2, 2014

Steve Lipsky demonstrates how his well water ignites when he puts a flame to the flowing well spigot outside his family's home.
Steve Lipsky demonstrates how his well water ignites when he puts a flame to the flowing well spigot outside his family's home.
Credit dallasnews.com

Increased methane levels in Texas water wells cannot be linked to nearby drilling activity according to a report released by the state’s oil and gas regulator said a recent article from StateImpact Texas

The report released by the Railroad Commission of Texas says there is no evidence that elevated methane levels in a Dallas suburb is caused by drilling operations.  The report also says further investigation into a potential link “is not planned at this time.”

Rob Jackson is a professor of Earth Sciences at Stanford University.  He’s studying the issue.  He says, “I was surprised that the commission isn’t planning to do some more testing.  Their own data found that five of eight water wells had increasing methane concentration through time. That alone seems like enough reason to follow up.”

Jackson says he’s planning on publishing his own findings on the region’s water.

Geoffrey Thyne is a former EPA scientist.  His study says the methane is linked to drilling.

Range Resources is the drilling company that owns the wells.  It dismissed the scientists’ findings saying the methane is naturally occurring.

Jackson says the Railroad Commission should protect the homeowners and “get to the bottom of what’s happening.”

The Railroad Commission report says it’s aware of other studies and “welcomes the opportunity to review them.”

The complete Railroad Commission report and a short video of the water on fire is available here.