Wise County driller blames gas rig for tainted water

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by JIM DOUGLAS

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaajdouglas

WFAA

Posted on October 6, 2010 at 8:18 PM

WISE COUNTY — There are new concerns about whether gas well drilling is contaminating drinking water in North Texas.

Tests reportedly show benzene in one family's well water in Wise County — and they're not the only ones worried.

Larry Bisidas, a water well driller with 40 years' experience in Wise County, said his own water went bad when gas wells went in nearby. He thinks he knows why.

"I had good water for 31 years, and when they set this thing in there, it messed up my well, two wells for me, my neighbor's well," Bisidas said.

Bisidas has a gas well outside his front door near Decatur, and a waste water injection well just down the road. He believes one or both fouled his well water, making it too salty to drink.

He wonders what else might be coming out of his taps. "Every time they go put those chemicals down that well, my water goes to stinking so bad you can't stay in the house with it," Bisidas said.

Several miles north, near the town of Alvord, tests reportedly showed benzene in water wells not far from two gas wells.

Not only is that a possible health hazard for people and animals, but residents fear their property values will sink like a stone if they can no longer obtain safe water.

So Bisidas — who drills wells for a living — must now have a supply trucked in. "Yeah, that's pretty bad for a well man, ain't it?"

The Texas Railroad Commission says there haven't been a lot of water complaints, and very few confirmed cases where gas well drilling was to blame.

E-mail jdouglas@wfaa.com

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