Capping an old gas well under a Tulsa home's foundation

Friday, November 5th 2004, 2:16 pm
By: News On 6

Residents in a Tulsa neighborhood hope what lies beneath can finally stay there. The gas company plans to plug a leaking, natural gas well, which has forced a partial demolition of one home.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan has the story.

A contractor hired by Oklahoma Natural Gas demolished the garage of a home at 3718 East 30th Place, so ONG can get to an abandoned gas well underneath the slab. It's the latest step to find a persistent leak of natural gas.

It first came up in April 2003, when ONG detected dangerously high levels of gas around the home. ONG shut down service in the area - but the gas levels remained high. Despite the determination it wasn't ONG's gas, the company kept investigating and found an abandoned gas well in the backyard.

The well was capped, but the gas levels remained high - so the family was moved out permanently and ONG bought the house. The well is in an old gas and coal production area that covers much of midtown and north Tulsa - from 36th street North to 31st Street South. The gas wells were drilled mostly in the 1920's, but many were not properly marked on maps before they were abandoned.

An ONG spokesman said in this case, it was an undocumented well that was discovered underneath the garage. Crews dug into it and hooked up a vent pipe that will let the gas vent. Now that a second source of leaking gas has been discovered, there's going to be another bit of wait.

ONG plans to cap the well on Monday, and monitor the gas levels before deciding what to do next. ONG says there is no plan to demolish the rest of the house, unless capping the old well doesn't eliminate the leak.

Oklahoma Natural Gas bought the house and is monitoring the gas because the company once owned the well that was discovered first. The state normally pays to cap undocumented leaking wells.