Structural Damage in Portage County Home Linked to Adjacent
6 December 2012
WINDHAM -- A homeowner says cracking walls and crumbling mortar
are being caused by a nearby well.
Beckie Dean blames the "enormous" damage to her 11-year-old house
on the drilling operation just across the street, about 1,000 feet
She says the cracks began to appear in September, soon after the
well went online.
"We've had two contractors, two structural engineers come in, and
they both said it is definitely vibration cracks and they ruled
out every other source of vibration except for the drilling rig,"
Dean told WKYC.
Dean has noted every crack and writes the time and date it
appeared next to it, on her walls and ceiling. She pointed to her
fireplace which has loose mortar and had two decorative rocks fall
off of it.
"After that, water began to leak through the chimney into the
house," she recalled. "You could feel the mortar as wet as the day
they built it."
The soon-to-be former flight attendant said she had an impossible
time getting the required hours of rest before work, because of
the constant drone and thud of the drilling equipment.
"It was like a helicopter," is how Dean described it. "It's
like the helicopter is on the ground, or there is a diesel semi
truck outside your bedroom window 24/7."
The eastern Portage County homeowner made an audio recording one
day at 3 a.m. of the noise inside her bedroom, where the windows
She has also had several visits from the Ohio Department of
Natural Resources, which regulates drilling.
They took video inside her house and made other observations
during their investigation, including recording the vibrations
caused by the well.
"The sound is always there, you can't get it out of your head,"
she said, and answered a question about how she gets enough sleep
by saying, "You don't. You don't. You don't."
"Some of us have given up our jobs because of safety issues, some
of us are just rag-tired, and thank God our bosses are sympathetic
Dean is careful to note that she is not against drilling per se,
as she and her late husband were involved in the oil and gas
drilling business for decades. She thinks fracking is moving way
too fast in Ohio.
"The rules and regulations we have here in Ohio in place have not
kept up with the technology they are using now to drill those
wells," Dean declares.
She hopes her experience will be a warning to anyone thinking of
leasing their land, and to those in the neighborhood where a
fracking well is planned.
"They see the dollar signs, they see the large number and they see
the dollar sign. They don't' see what's coming to their
community," she warns. "They don't see that the big trucks are
coming in. They don't see that their children's lives are over."
Beckie Dean says her homeowner's insurance will not cover
repairing the damage to her walls and ceilings. The drilling
company has not admitted responsibility and she admits it may be
hard to prove.
"We are stuck. We are stuck. We're absolutely stuck," she said.
"There's 14 wells going in across the road. It'll be ten years
before they're done."
Dean has been in touch with various state agencies and directly
with the governor's office. She wants to head-off trouble for
others before it affects them like it has affected her.
"I want to see better regulations. I want to see stricter laws,"
she declares. "I want to see these wells drilled farther away from