Lincoln County Woman's Water Still Flammable 4 Months Later

Thursday, May 29th 2014, 10:29 pm
By: News 9

Methane tainted flammable well water.

The state told a family in Chandler the problem could be fixed in just two weeks, but that was several months ago.

Whenever Gina Tinsley turns on any faucet in her home, she can smell methane gas. Then one day, just out of curiosity, her son put a lighter up to the water, and it burst into flames!

"I cooked in it, showered in it," said Gena Tinsley. "We brushed our teeth in it."

That's what Tinsley told News 9 in February. She reported the methane smell and her flammable well water to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission on January 7.

2/21/2014 Related Story: Lincoln County Woman Says Her Tap Water Is Flammable

"I was advised not to stay in my home because of the danger of maybe it being explosive," Tinsley said.

Now, four months later, Gina still isn't able to fully live in her home.

"So it's very troubling," Tinsley said.

An abandoned oil well next door that's been dry since the 1950's could be the culprit. It's plugged, but according to the Corporation Commission, not to modern standards.

"It is the only possible option that we can pursue," Oklahoma Corporation Commission's Matt Skinner said.

But, even after the job is done, the OCC said it still cannot guarantee plugging the dry hole will be a permanent fix to Tinsley's methane nightmare.

"We had the plugger come in, but the problem was it was a very long process to get down into that deep hole. It went much deeper. It hit a block that his equipment could not handle," Skinner said.

So, Skinner said after the plugger tried for about three weeks with no luck, a new company was hired, but the job calls for more than $70,000.

Under state law, anything over $50,000 has to be approved by another state agency.

"The state law is what the state law is," said Skinner. "Because of the amount involved now, because this is such a deep hole, yeah, we have to go through this process."

"It's very alarming for our health and our safety," said Tinsley. "And not only that, but is it getting into other water sources?"

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission said, at this point, there's no way to put a timetable on when the methane issue will be fixed.