Texas acts on flaming faucets in Montague County

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by JIM DOUGLAS

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaajdouglas

WFAA

Posted on October 6, 2010 at 10:38 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 7 at 7:57 PM

Flaming faucets

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MONTAGUE COUNTY — Stephen Brock's kitchen faucet burped so much flammable gas back in July, he feared his Montague County home might blow up.

When he held a lighter under the faucet, a plume of flame shot out.

"It totally enveloped the whole sink," he said. "I jumped back and turned the water off, then I called the Railroad Commission right away."

That's the agency that oversees oil and gas drilling in Texas.

"The Railroad Commission guy told me it's coming through my well, coming up through my water well," Brock told us in July.

Brock recently sued the Jack Grace production company of Wichita Falls, which once operated an oil well nearby. According to the suit, tests on Brock's well water revealed extremely high chloride levels as well as arsenic, chromium, barium, mercury and methane.

The Railroad Commission also cited the company for the well. According to the citation:

"...this facility threatens to pollute or is polluting surface or subsurface water..."

The company told News 8 it could not comment on pending litigation.

The case bolsters claims by others who believe gas drilling has contaminated their water wells.

"I don't think; I know," said Larry Bisidas, who digs water wells in Wise County for a living. "I've been doing this 40 years."

Bisidas now has a gas well outside his front door near Decatur.

"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," he said.

Several miles north near the town of Alvord, tests reportedly showed benzene in one water well near gas wells.

Bisidas is still waiting on his test results, and joking about having bottled water brought in to his home.

"That's pretty bad for a well man, ain't it?"

He laughs, but he's also worried that if his well water is ruined, so is the value of his property.

E-mail jdouglas@wfaa.com

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