No complaints about seismic testing reported in Aurora; others see dangers

by MIKE LESKO | REPORTER Published:

Aurora -- When Precision Geophysical recently did seismic testing for oil and natural gas in Aurora and Streetsboro, city officials said they received no complaints from residents.

Elsewhere, not everyone was on board with the testing, though.

Aurora Service Director John Trew and Streetsboro Service Director Bill Miller said they did not receive any complaints from residents about the testing that was done in December by the Millersburg company. The testing extended 150 miles from Mentor south to Noble County.

The testing was done to map underground deposits of oil and gas.

"The testing didn't shake any foundations," Trew said. "It was no more [of a commotion] than a semi-truck going by. Besides rolling up their cords [that were placed along the side of the roadway], we barely noticed they were in town. I've been on paving jobs where the grinders made more noise than the seismic testing."

Steven McCrossin, president of Precision Geophysical, said his company's tests are "very non-destructive."

"There is very little disturbance," McCrossin said. "There is actually more energy from a semi-truck going by than the energy from our testing."

However, according to area resident Mary Greer, a member of Concerned Citizens of Ohio, there are dangers involved in seismic testing for oil and natural gas.

In Columbiana County, seismic testing cracked well foundations, Greer claims, and one resident reported his family lost its complete water supply and it took the family a couple of years to get the water situation fixed.

"The technology used in seismic testing can crack the foundation of a house or the casing of a well," Greer said. "You can get contamination in the water. Methane or other contaminants can get into the well. How do you take a shower or have a cup of coffee?"

McCrossin said he challenges that claim.

"It is a very non-destructive testing that we do," McCrossin said. "I have 30 years of experience in this business -- that's a lot of years of testing -- and we have never damaged a foundation or a water well. There is more force and energy from a coal truck driving by your house than the energy from our testing."

"BUT I CAN only speak for Precision Geophysical," McCrossin added.

Trew and Streetsboro Engineering Director Bruce Terrell said Precision Geophysical officials had to fill out right-of-way permits that allowed them to conduct the testing in their cities.

State Rep. Matt Lynch (R-76), who represents Portage and Geauga counties, said there have been "widespread complaints that property owners were not notified of the testing." He said Bainbridge Township residents who own several properties along the testing route received no notice.

McCrossin said his company typically gets its permits from state, county or city officials. He said the testing "was on the road right of way, not on people's property" and added, "Matt is misinformed on the procedure."

Greer said she advises homeowners who see seismic testing to run out of their homes and say to the tester, "No, you don't have my permission."

McCrossin said that "wouldn't be very productive. Most people want to see this type of work done because it creates jobs."

"The biggest danger we have is keeping traffic flowing properly," McCrossin said. "But we have a lot of courteous drivers who promote safety.

"I would welcome anybody who says it is destructive to stop in our office and I can educate them," McCrossin said. "There is absolutely no way we can damage anybody's foundation."

Lynch said homeowners "should not be reluctant to challenge anyone who comes on their property for seismic testing. If they are suspicious, I suggest they call local law enforcement and use their phones to record any conversations they have with the people doing the testing.

"I have offered to assist any homeowner who may have incurred damage," Lynch said. "However, no one has contacted me for assistance."

Email: mlesko@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4187

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