That's because the state agency charged with regulating the wells -- the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) -- does not have to notify landowners if a violation is discovered. Even if landowners inquire about safety violations, DEP records are often too technical for the average person and incomplete.
While some landowners would like more transparency around safety issues, as a group they are not pushing for stronger regulations. Landowners, who are paid royalties by the companies that drill on their property, generally want the drilling to proceed.
Violations: In February, CNNMoney spoke with four families in Lycoming County, Pa., about violations issued against natural gas wells on or near their property.
The families have a total of 26 natural gas wells among them. They've received royalties from the wells, ranging from the low hundreds to hundreds of thousands of dollars over the last few years.
Yet none said they had ever been notified by the DEP or any of the well operators that wells near their homes had been cited for what DEP's website said were 62 safety violations over four years.
"We had no idea that there were any violations," said Dan Bower, who lives next door to his mother, Jane, and her five wells.
"We should have been contacted or something," echoed Neil Barto, another well owner.
DEP says that in cases in which violations pose risk to human health, they "certainly notify landowners."
The violations range from simple things such as improper signage to serious infractions such as subpar cementing -- which according to DEP can allow gas to seep out of a well and in some cases "has the potential to cause a fire or explosion."
While the violations are posted online, the digital records are short on specifics -- most importantly whether a violation poses a health risk.
A time consuming process: If landowners want to inquire about all violations on their property, DEP says they should do an in-person file review of the state regulator's documents relating to each well.
Если коротко, то по американским законам, которые протолкнуло нефтегазовое лобби, газодобытчики сланцевого газа не обязаны уведомлять владельцев земли, на которой они добывают газ, о случаях выявления каких-то нарушений. А владельцы участков земли закрывают на нарушения глаза, так как за право добычи газа им отстегиваются многие тысячи долларов. Ну а потом жадины будут судиться рядиться, если все же в один очень непрекрасный момент такая скважина или рванет или траванет питьевую воду в округе.