As we become more aware of the hazards caused by abandoned wells, we realized that the wells we find are not just leaking oil onto the surface, into streams and aquifers but they are also leaking gasses into the atmosphere. Frequently these gasses include methane a potent greenhouse gas.
Since the summer of 2014 we have been working with university students to determine how much gas is leaking from the abandoned wells. The students have been collecting samples from wells we have located and measuring the amount of gas leaking from the well.
This new knowledge lead us to look into inexpensive methods of determining if a well is leaking gas and to what extent.
The following information is part of our research.
There are many inexpensive combustible gas detectors on the market designed for home and light industrial use. Most are capable of detecting a wide range of combustible gases. They do not identify the specific kind of gas nor do they give numeric quantities measurements. They do however provide more information than our current system, the human nose. These meters do provide quantities data in the form of number of LED or "clicks" generated.
In 2015 we purchased the UEi CD 100A meter. We have been using it in the field on our well hunts. The meter is only turned on when we find a well so the battery lasts a long time. Warm up time is minimal. The meter has a sensativity control which we set at just below the first click in clear air. When used on a well the meter produces a clicking sound proportional to the amount of gas detected. The meter is sturdy and easy to use and we have not had any problems. We carry it in our safety vest back pouch.