GUILFORD LAKE - Lakefront property owners are concerned horizontal oil and gas drilling could affect Guilford Lake and the public water supply.
Guilford Lake residents told their concerns to a state employee during a recent Guilford Lake Civic Association meeting.
Charlotte McCurdy, northeast district preserve manager for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), said her department and Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) employees are researching state lands ownership regarding mineral rights.
McCurdy is one of the many conducting property records searches at the county courthouse in Lisbon over the last several weeks.
Association secretary Peggy Leone told McCurdy she became worried about water contamination after reading several newspaper articles about horizontal drilling. She pointed out drilling horizontally allows the company to pull oil and gas reserves from an area that hasn't been leased for exploration.
"They can drill away (from here) but still affect the aquifer," she said.
McCurdy responded that not all newspaper articles are accurate and told residents not to be worried. She later said no drilling has been conducted on state-owned land.
The Columbus Dispatch reported in April the ODNR developed proposed leases for drilling companies interested in tapping oil and gas located under state parks as a result of a Sept. 30 law that opened state parks and other state-held land for drilling. The leases prohibit drillers from coming within 300 feet of camping areas, fire towers, sites of "historic or archaeological value" or "high quality" streams and lakes.
The state and the company must also agree on the locations of all drilling equipment, oil-and gas-processing equipment and pipelines, according to the article.
Association member Joyce Laskey then asked McCurdy about an ODNR notification posted at the bathhouse that warned users of above state standard bacteria levels in the lake.
The advisory was posted May 25 and was through Thursday. The bathhouse was not closed off for use during that time and Laskey suggested the high bacteria was likely due to the low levels at the lake and lack of rain.
McCurdy agreed and said if there had been a health issue, public access to the bathhouse would have been prohibited.
"We will continue testing," she said, and advised residents to contact the ODNR central office with their oil and gas questions.