People’s Gas spokesman Brian Manthey said Friday that “trace amounts,” of methane gas was found in two additional private wells in the vicinity of a leak that occurred approximately 6 miles north of Mahomet last December.
That brings to seven the number of private wells that had confirmed levels of methane.
“We have conducted over 70 tests and have results back from 60 thus far,” Manthey said.
Manthey and field staff from People’s Gas are conducting two information sessions for the public on Tuesday.
They are at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. and will be at the Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve, 109 S. Lake of the Woods Rd.
“We’ll give an update on where we’re at,” said Manthey, who indicated that invitation letters were sent to homeowners within a 1 1/2-mile radius of the original leak site, which is known as McCord Well No. 2.
In addition to the seven wells from the December 2016 incident, Manthey said the recent well tests revealed “remnants of natural gas from the 1960s,” in four other wells.
“We can tell from an isotopic analysis, it’s not consistent with gas in Manlove Field,” Manthey said. Physician Mark Roberts, who spent 17 years working in public health in Oklahoma and for the past 14 years has been a paid consultant of the company, Expo, has examined the findings.
“There are no drinking water standards for methane in the water,” Roberts said, “but methane comes out of the water quickly and there is no evidence of adverse health risks.”
Roberts said his opinion is both for consuming the water or bathing in it.
“It is not absorbed into the skin,” Roberts said.
A system has been developed, which is akin to fingerprinting, and can pinpoint, Roberts said, whether the gas found in the wells is “the normal glacial methane or the thermogenic product.”
The People’s Gas underground storage is 4,000 feet below the surface and, Roberts said is “contained by water not in the (Mahomet) Aquifer.
underneath a stone cap.”
Roberts acknowledged there is a plethora of information available on the Internet concerning methane gas and he offered one caution.
“It’s important to separate information from hydrofracking gas versus the product leaked out of this,” Roberts said. “I would not use the hydrofracking info to evaluate the health process.
“It’s not just what I’m saying, it’s what health departments in Illinois, Minnesota and Pennsylvania are saying.”
Added Manthey: “It’s like talking about apples and oranges.”
Persons with inquiries who cannot attend either of the Tuesday meetings can speak to a representative by calling 877-380-0522.