Abandoned natural gas well found under a Tulsa home

Friday, April 18th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A Tulsa family is living in a hotel because their home in the 3700 Block of East 30th Place, sits atop an old gas well. The well's producing gas levels that are 10 times higher than what's considered safe.

Even though the leak is now capped, News on 6 reporter Ashli Sims explains that the neighbors are still worried. Karrie Shust would rather see the red hazard tape flapping in the wind, and then have that smell blow near her home. "it's hard to define its a natural gas-sewer-tar a really rich smell." It's not coming from her house, but the one next door. That house sits on top of an abandoned well that was leaking gas into the backyard.

Shust says there's been something funny in the air for years. "There was a smell that was coming into the home I had a headache my five year old had a headache and we just don't get sick we're a healthy family, that's when it started to concern me."

Oklahoma Natural Gas owned the oil well during the 1920's and it’s working with the fire department to get a handle on what could have been an explosive situation. It's a by-product of Tulsa's past as an oil capital. Even so leaks like this one are out of the ordinary. Roland Belveal, District Manager Oklahoma Corporation Commission: "These situations I think we've had between 5 and 10 in that 20 years so they're pretty rare."

It's not rare enough for Karrie Shust. And she says the drone of the machines don’t provide her much comfort. "I wanna know if its OK for my children to be playing on this part of the backyard or in the backyard at all."

For now ONG workers are trying to pump out the gas that's trapped in the ground. But they don't know how long that tank was leaking, so they're not sure how long it'll take for the area to be clear.

ONG says neighboring houses are not in any danger. And workers are checking gas levels in the neighborhood every four hours.