Every stream and river in Pennsylvania has exceptional qualities and unique attributes.
Not only are they a source of pride and aesthetic beauty,but more importanly streams provide the drinking water for millions of people. Our streams are one of Pennsylvania's most valuable resources.

Pennsylvania streams  provide many opportunities for outdoor recreation and enjoyment.
Tourists from around the country travel to Pennsylvania each year to fish our waters.

Pennsylvania is also home to thousands of orphan, abandoned,unplugged and lost oil and gas wells.  Some of these wells were inadequately plugged years ago with pine trees and materials that have deteriorated over time.

On Nov. 1st, 2011 Save Our Streams PA kicked off a 'Scavenger Hunt' for locating lost, orphan and abandoned oil and gas wells
to promote awareness by photographing and getting GPS locations for these wells and matching the photos with their GPS locations on Google maps that are easily accessible for online viewing.
Map #1: http://goo.gl/maps/hWSg6
Map #2: http://goo.gl/maps/Z3Ena

Orphan, abandoned, unplugged, or improperly-plugged wells may and often do act as a conduit, or pathway, allowing natural gas or other fluids to travel between formations to aquifers or the surface.
These wells have the potential to contaminate Pennsylvania's forests, streams, groundwater.
Methane, the main component of natural gas is an egregious greenhouse (GH) gas which is known to contribute to climate change.


Since 1859 experts estimate as many as 500,000 wells have been drilled in the commonwealth. There are 9,000 wells are on Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) abandoned and orphan database. However, there are many old wells for which DEP has no record.
According to the DEP, there are records on just over 140,500 wells.According to a DEP official  there have been between 350,000 to 500,000 oil and gas wells drilled in Pennsylvania since 1859. Of these recorded, approximately 88,300 are operating wells with known owners who are responsible for plugging them when they reach the end of their useful life.
There are 44,700 wells known to be plugged. The remainder are wells considered to be orphans.Many abandoned, unplugged wells are lost.


Although many orphan wells have been long forgotten and may never cause problems, others are known to cause health, safety, or environmental problems, especially in areas where new development is actively under way.  Homes, buildings, and roads have been constructed near or above abandoned wells. Some wells have been plowed under in farm fields and may never be located.

When new gas wells are drilled, hydraulically fractured, or re-fractured near unplugged wells, the lost,orphan and abandoned wells present an increased risk of gas migration. Deteriorated well bores, unplugged or improperly plugged wells can provide pathways between formation layers, to the aquifer or to the surface.

In McKean County, PA, a home exploded near an active drilling site in the area. Subsequently the DEP
ordered the owner/operator to plug three abandoned wells that were discovered during the investigation into the house explosion. Safety issues arise when lost or abandoned wells are located within close proximity to active drilling.

With the increase in natural gas drilling and horizontal hydrofracturing in north central PA brought about by the Marcellus Shale Gas boom, the risks posed by lost, orphan and abandoned wells are growing.
Our mission is:
To locate, promote awareness, adoption and plugging of lost, abandoned and orphan wells.
To call upon  the landowners , industry, developers and our government to recognize the hazards posed by these wells and to plug them adequately.

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Protect your home from potentially harmful gas.

 Use a natural gas alarm to detect gas fumes!

If you live near active or abandoned oil and gas wells, where there is a risk of methane migration into your water supply or home, help keep your family safe with a combustible gas detector.

Methane can  penetrate the interiors of buildings and is orderless. It is the main component of natural gas and is extremely flammable.
Methane may also cause asphyxiation by displacing  oxygen in an enclosed space.
The concentration of methane at which asphyxiation risk becomes significant is much higher than the 5–15% concentration in a flammable or explosive mixture.

Reasons to Buy, Install a Combustible Gas Alarm:

  1. When gas wells are drilled, hydraulically fractured  near abandoned wells there is an increased risk of gas migration.
  2. You Cannot Always Smell a Gas Leak . No matter how good your nose is.
  3. Carbon monoxide alarms give NO protection against combustible gas leaks.
  4. It does not take striking a match to cause a gas explosion or fire. Turning off a light, setting a security alarm or closing a door spark a gas explosion or fire. Natural gas leaking from a basement furnace can leak upstairs through hollow walls.
  5. Gas appliances are not the only source of a gas leak . Gas can leak into homes via sump pits, inbound water lines or a natural gas well under your home.
  6. Each gas appliance is a potential source of a gas leak. Each gas appliance needs its own gas detector. Natural gas and propane gas pool above or below gas water heaters, gas clothes dryers, gas ranges, gas furnaces, etc.

Regional Highlights from
Global Climate Change,
Impacts in the North East,
United States

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