Seismic testing planned this month could stir up water wells

PRESTON – Residents of Preston, Smithville and Smyrna may experience cloudy water coming from their faucets as a result of seismic testing set to resume at the end of the month.

Norse Energy, Inc., the Norwegian-based company currently drilling into the Herkimer formation in Chenango County, has garnered work permits from the county highway department to haul in and lay seismic testing cables across the following roads: County Routes 10, 10A, 14, 21, 20, 3 and 3A.

Individual town boards have also granted seismic testing and permits for town road crossings, such as on the Bliven-Sherman and McDonough roads in Preston.

Actual testing will be conducted on private land. The temporary cables are the width of an extension cord and will be in place for a couple of days per location.

With the advent of natural gas discoveries in the region, the Chenango County Department of Highways has allowed seismic testing at various times over the past two years. Many towns have followed suit and put procedures in place that natural gas companies must follow in order to lay the cables over municipal roads. Because the vehicles that carry the equipment for the tests can weigh from 60,000 to 80,000 pounds, the county and some towns have also developed bonding requirements that hold companies liable for road damages if they occur.

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