Seismic Mapping: Devices Left In People’s Yards Causing Alarm In Aliquippa & Hopewell

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Several residents of Aliquippa and Hopewell contacted the Beaver Countian today, expressing alarm after discovering mysterious tangles of wires and devices laying in their yards. The devices were planted by a company that’s doing seismic mapping in the area, although there seems to be more questions than answers available from even local officials about what rights homeowners may have.

“I go out in my yard and there it is, it looks like a bomb,” said Lou Bolli of Aliquippa. “There’s this box, I think it’s a battery, connected to another device, I don’t know what in the hell it is, that’s all connected to three things that are down in the ground. It’s a big mess of wires [...] No one came and explained to me what is in my yard, they left me no letter, no information, they left me nothing. I don’t know if this thing is dangerous or not, I don’t have a clue what it is. I never gave anyone any permission to be on my property, nobody.”

It was a sentiment shared by Burt Mamula of Hopewell Township.

“It’s just a big bunch of stuff, it’s a box and it’s wires and it says if I tamper with it I could face consequences,” said Mamula. “This Dawson Company is all over the place I guess. I called them and they said there was absolutely nothing to worry about and to just let it be there and leave it alone.”

Several people told the Beaver Countian they contacted police about the devices.

“Dawson Geophysical” trucks with Texas license plates were seen along with large groups of workers in Hopewell and Aliquippa. There are also reports from residents of the company being in Monaca and Center Township today as well.

While many of the devices provided no hints as to their origin or purpose, one of the devices left in a yard in Aliquippa had a pink tag attached to it reading in part, “Dear Landowner, We’d like you to know that this equipment has been placed within the rights-of-way pursuant to the recent Order issued by the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court.” The tag goes on to quote a court case from Hopewell Township, and then provides a website link which contains information about Ambridge Borough. “Accordingly, please do not remove any of this equipment as it may result in a criminal investigation. We respectfully request that you leave this equipment in place for the next few weeks while operations in the area are completed, after which time it will be removed by authorized Seitel/Dawson representatives.”

Hopewell Township has information about its ongoing lawsuit against Seitel on its website. The town also began robocalls to residents warning that the devices may be installed soon.

Aliquippa Mayor Dwan Walker said residents of his City have nothing to worry about because the devices in their yards are simply receivers. He said the actual explosives are being located in Hopewell Township.

“The geophone devices in Aliquippa pick up the small explosives in Hopewell,” said Mayor Walker. Walker said that the City of Aliquippa has given no permission for devices to be placed on private property, but did not answer when asked if the City gave permission or permits for the companies to operate on public property or right-of-ways. “I have calls in to Seitel and Dawson right now,” he said.

Messages left with representatives for Dawson Geophysical by the Beaver Countian were not returned. Calls to their corporate headquarters in Texas today were repeatedly forwarded directly to voicemail.

Dawson Geophysical appears to be acting as a subcontractor for Seitel Data, which describes itself as an “oil and gas service company that is engaged with the creation and marketing of 2D and 3D seismic data.”

Documents reviewed by the Beaver Countian show that the company installs “receiver stations” and “source points” in grids, with each unit being spaced approximately 220 feet apart in rows. The “receivers” and “source points” are installed in intersecting rows 880 feet and 1,320 feet apart respectively, which can stretch for well over 100 square miles.

“Source points” are created for seismic mapping by underground explosions of dynamite.

The Beaver Countian was unable to reach a representative from Seitel Data willing to speak on the record about their activities in Beaver County. A diagram on their website shows a large area of southwestern Beaver County where they are working to create seismic maps for the gas industry.

via Seitel Data

via Seitel Data

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57 comments

  1. That’s how they test for areas of fracking. They did that in ohioville and industry awhile ago, i asked then and was told that’s the begging process for determining if it’s good to drill there. They will be back and try to lease mineral rights.

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  2. Yup….fund an IED in my yard. I be calling the Beavercountian cause we all know the Sheriffs involved. Get them PJ.

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  3. Once again-YOU DO NOT OWN YOUR PROPERTY, YOU LEASE IT FROM THE GOVERNMENT! They will do what they want, when they want. Get used to it already.

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    • And who is your government? The same corporate interests that fill your head with the poop you usually spout that’s who.You wanted everything you’re getting . You wanted Romney they gave you the same crap with a black wrapper to keep your mind occupied with the R

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  4. These devices are also in yards in Greene Twp.  There has been one in my yard and my neighbors yard for several weeks now.

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  5. you know there are alot of areas they could put that other than in someones yard i know where that house sits in the picture saun road is not far from there and there are alot of wooded areas they could have put that  i think its bullshit that you pay taxes on your property and pay for the house and then some bullshit company comes and puts a device like that in your yard without warning or a letter but then threatens you if it gets damaged or tampered with so i guess if some kid walks by sees it and gets nosey screws with it breaks it i guess the property owner is liable thats a bunch of shit in my book

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  6. big oil and gas can do whatever they want, wherever they want to. Fracking is dangerous, its a fact….we must deal with it. There’s no stopping it.

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  7. the people have no power. anyone you elect will backstab u. can’t trust the government anymore. all elected officials are in it for their own pockets. tell me who grows up and says I want to grow up and be a councilman or a commissioner. future crooks.

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  8. Dawson was in my county in November. I looked out my window and a worker was walking through my yard with no permission or notice. I chased them off. The blasting cracked several windows. Of course they denied the claim. I filed trespassing charges, and encourage others to do so as well. They have no right to be on your property without permission. They are sneaky and rely on residents’ naïveté. Call the police to remove these devices.

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  9. Dawson can’t hold the property owners liable if these are all stolen…

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  10. I seen one of there trucks Friday at he red light at the mall heading toward the pgh exit ! I was wondering why they were here I figured it had something to do with the gas wells that are going up! but sorry you put that in my yard without my permission don’t expect me to keep the snow off of it!!! and if I have to shovel the snow I don’t care where the snow lands in my yard even if it land on that thing!!! if you want to be sneaky and not come and tell me what and why and be polite and give me a heads up what you are doing !!

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  11. I FOUND ONE OF THESE IN MY YARD THIS MORING!

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  12. Are they really that stupid? If there’s a device in there yard then they signed a paper months ago allowing them to put it there. They were also paid! Not much put they were paid

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  13. The best thing to do is to throw the damn thing 50 feet and see if it bounces. No bounce — it’s safe for the trash. If it bounces, take it to Radio Shack and exchange it for a bag of magnets.

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  14. just do what i did when they did it here where i live picked it up and tossed it into the road sad to say a few semi trucks ran it over i told the guy oh well they should of asked me first 

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    • …..or do what I did. Read all the news articles, went to the meetings, studied the methods and process, spoke with the workers, signed the papers, permitted them on my property, looked at the wires and boxes, stayed the hell away from them from the boxes and wires, watched the workers removed the boxes and wires, and got paid for it.  Can’t wait to see what’s under us and hope I’m sitting atop a liquid, and gas filled “gold” mine 2 miles deep!!

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      • independencemom

        i agree with Beaver County2.  These people were very polite, called before detonating and respected our wishes and concerns.  We are signed up for a lease with Range so I understand what is happening. However, I dont blame you for being upset if you were not notified as i was.  I also feel this could be a greatadvantage for the area and the landowners involved.

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      • SpeakTheTruthToo

        You will both be the same people on the news complaining and trying to sue when you put a torch to your tap water and it lights on fire despite the fact that you sold out for the almighty dollar.

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      • @ Speak….I could only hope that natural gas would come up through my water pipes. I would put a regulator on the pipe line and enjoy free gas to heat my home and fuel my kitchen stove. I’d run a line to the garage and heat it as well. I might even have an Eternal Flame in the yard. I would save enough in heating costs to drill a new water well. 

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  15. Ummmm no paper signed and no money paid! They are all along my street. Got a note taped to our door and that was it.

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  16. I have been a criminal defense attorney since 2001 in Beaver County and don’t recall any criminal charges being filed against anyone who removed an item from their property that was placed there without permission.  It would be next to impossible to prove who removed the device unless the homeowner admitted removing it or was actually seen by someone who came forward and identified the homeowner as being the person they say remove the device.  Letters went out last year to homeowners requesting permission to do seismic testing any I refused for my property and advised my client’s to do the same.  As to right-of-ways, it is my recollection from law school that it must appear on your deed and most times only allows certain types of use for the right-of-way.  I doubt seismic testing falls under any right-of-way or permits a Texas Company to take an unannounced tour over your property.

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    • Relax peeps,,, the world was going to end when the Steel Mills closed, everyone wanted to know how they were going to survive. Well this is it!! This is the biggest thing to happen here since the Steel Industry!! and your complaining because “I didn’t know about this….who said they can do that. READ the news. Listen to the News, Attend your local Government meetings. Yea.. advise your clients to stop the best thing that has happened to this area since 1900……

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      • I have no objection to any person or company taking lawful, proper, open and legal steps to obtain whatever seismic information is being sought.  That is not what is being alleged.  What is being alleged is questionably accurate letters left for homeowners that threaten criminal investigation if the machinery left on the homeowner’s property without permission or advance contact is touched.  I would be interested in seeing any citation to any commonwealth court case that allows a business to enter onto private property without contacting the owner to set up machinery that will benefit the for-profit business.  … And by the way I have no problem with for-profit businesses or fracking or the oil-gas industry and agree that finding natural gas in huge quantities is the best thing that has happened in Beaver County in decades.

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  17. I removed two of them. I never agreed to have these things on my property and as far as I’m concerned every time they place one it will be removed. The shocks can cause structure damage to your basement and interfere with electronics including medical equipment. When I spoke to seitel they said there is a court order. According to hopewell there is not!!!!!! And until they produce one specifically with my address on it I will continue to remove them…

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  18. With all the technology in this day and age, why do they have to look so suspicious? Honestly, if one showed up on my property I would call the police. If anything it looks like someone went too lowe’s bought a bunch of shit and jumbled it all together.

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  19. Stacy Sustar Ritchart

    what happens if the blasting damages our foundations or land? I called Seitel yesterday and they would not give me any informtioan or even the Court Order from 2/4/14. I asked specifically to see that.

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  20. They are headed up broadhead from the mall to aliquippa today

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  21. Silence_Dogood

    I will be keeping an eye out for one of these on my property. I kind of hope they DO put one on my land cause I need some new shooting targets. I checked at the court house already with the County Clerk to reaffirm my recollections from buying my house that there are NO EASEMENTS OR RIGHT-OF-WAYS on my property. Any person caught on my property attempting to place one of these devices is a trespasser and WILL be treated as such.

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  22. Good sign I hope I see more of these companies in the area.

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  23. I have a question: So, say this company sends a few people to set these monitors on your property, and basically they take it upon themselves to take an uninvited tour of your property, and you just so happen to have your dog outside. Well, since you weren’t expecting some person to just go waltzing around on your property, and your dog is on your property, and your dog attacks this person, who is on your property unlawfully and unannounced, who’s responsible? What happens then? Are the owners in trouble? Will the dog be seized? This is a scenario that could very well happen…..

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  24. @ silence dogood

    What the fuck does the county clerk have to do with it??????

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    • They have the records of the deeds of purchased properties in the county. If there is an easement or a right of way on a property, it will be listed on the deed record.

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      • Silence_Dogood

        @Nikki PI’m glad you were able to answer the question without the use of unnecessary profanity… Thanks, Nikki

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  25. Throw them in the trash. They can measure all of the seismic disturbances they want at the landfill. Or put them in the trash containers at various gas stations. Hmmm, any other creative ideas.

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  26. Throw them on passing trains ….

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    • You do realize that by doing something so fucking stupid, you can and will be risking a catastrophe, right?? Or are you not that smart, educatedtwit?

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  27. Silence homeowner fools, SILENCE!  It’s not hurting anything.  Its the middle of winter.  I like that the “crime dog” law firm has made an appearance here!  I do like that he shares with us law information advice- FREE OF CHARGE!  When did you ever get that from a lawyer?  YOUR WELCOME!!!

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  28. That’s the recorder of deeds

    County clerk in beaver is a secretary that opens doors and handles request.

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  29. This is an excellent example of much bigger snookering to come — huge out-of-town companies manipulating and ignoring small town rubes and bumpkins who inconvenience business and slow the making of money to fit their own calendars and bottom lines. Why NOT inform people 1500 miles away about the devices and ask permission? Because IT TAKES TIME, IT COSTS MONEY, it would lead to COURT SUITS and it would SLOW the march on the way to getting the gas. THAT is my main fear — the PRESUMPTION, and now PROOF, that they don’t need to take the time to do things right, or even pay lip service to doing things upfront, and the belief that they can get away with it, because so much money is at stake — the sacred cow that we all are bowing to. Chuckie Betters will get richer and be listened to by them — after all, they will have to live in houses and apartments and shop somewhere, but not many of the rest of us. The Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick familes built the libraries and museums in Pittsburgh and lived very well for generations with all the money that was generated, not the steelworkers or railroaders who made the money for them. Where is that money today? Do your have it set aside in your grandfather’s will and bank account?  It is GONE for the average man.  Set limits for these people now, or there will be no reversing the exploitation. The cracker plant is an opportunity, not a destiny, and whole thing has to be kept in perspective.

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  30. The real problem with this issue is that if you site imminent domain you cannot then turn and profit off of a survey worth millions to Range Resources. There is no way the injunction that is in appeal on Hopewell and Potter township will survive it’s journey through the supreme court. Act 13 was overturned. This is just a company with one judge, specifically appointed by Corbett to appeal the ordinances drafted to protect townships and have regulations in place. What they are doing is breaking the law and wrongfully pocketing the money from a survey they did not have permission to do.

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  31. I have one in my yard it doesn’t hurt you don’t throw them away there just doing there job

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  32. Bring that shit to Vanport and it will end up in the garbage . We don’t fool around down here !

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  33. They aren’t going across the river yet. If you look at the map, they haven’t crossed over yet. So be ready when they do.

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  34. Oh I’m ready but I don’t think they will be ready for the Port City Smackdown !

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  35. MoNgOhAtEsWiNtEr

    Unless it’s allowed, according to your deed, or you signed an agreement giving permission, they have no right to use your property for their advantage

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  36. Nikki, dumb as a rock like always. You may be wise to the ways of the world of incarceration my dear, fat, juggalette, but you are as good as a sloth otherwise. You throw them on a train so the hired Mexican oil workers see the tracking device travelling away from the area at a puzzlingly high rate of speed. Did you think I meant train tracks? Can you actually read, welfare slug? To you, a train means something in your mouth and ass, not mechanical device used to transport cargo.

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    • Oh, where to start with you….1. You do realize that it is illegal to even be down in the train yards, right? No, you probably didn’t. 2. You probably couldn’t throw anything to save your soul, since typing on a keyboard doesn’t really build muscle strength. UNLESS, OF COURSE, you’re using the hand attached to the arm that you usually “pleasure” yourself with, cause god knows you couldn’t score on half price hooker day. Then you might actually have a shot at throwing something a distance, but again, there’s the issue with accuracy. You’d actually have to get it IN the train car….and knowing you from just here, you couldn’t get it in with a map, flashlight, and tour guide. So, back to the catastrophe part. WHEN (not if, when) you missed the train car, and it landed on the tracks, you have now just risked causing a catastrophe. Good job. And I’m pretty sure, those are felony counts. Oh, I can read very well, dearest, and I wouldn’t know anything about a train meaning anything other than something used for transportation of cargo. I don’t hang out with your mother, whom I hear is an expert in that area. Oh, and I find it quite funny that you try speaking like you actually know me……when you couldn’t be farther from the truth. Good day!

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  37. If it’s on my property, I now own it.  Wonder what they’re worth on ebay?  

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  38. So that’s what I threw into the scrap barrel. I couldn’t understand what the Mexican was saying to me as I picked it up and walked away. Two lessons here, don’t litter on my property and make sure your employees can speak English.

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  39. Bullshit aside, this company is from Texas. All of their employees are renting apartments in Center, all if the gas drillers are from out if state. What happened to “all the local job” opportunities that were supposed to come along with this?! Yet again, thank your commissioners and local politicians for outsourcing these jobs while thousands remain unemployed here. Jimmy Hoffa would be slashing the tires and smashing windows on these out of state trucks

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    • All their employees are renting apartments, all their employees are eating food, all their employees are buying personal supplies, all of their employees are using the stores, all their employees are using local businesses for parts, repairs, equipment, supplies, fuel and probabaly beer and wings too,  all their employees are SPENDING THEIR MONEY HERE!!!, not in Texas.  There are no companies here that do this kind of work, therefore there are no local people that are working here. Mr Jones and Mr Laughlin didn’t happen overnight….

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    • Dawson Geophysical has an office in Canonsburg and employs a lot of local people. Their corporate office is in Texas, which is why their company vehicles display TX license plates. There ARE a lot of local people employed because of the oil and gas industry, For example, our company trailers and vehicles are from LA but we all live and work here in PA, most of us are from PA. Are you looking for a job then I’ll get you one for chrissakes. 

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  40. If you are looking to buy or sell mineral rights in hopewell area contact me.

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  41. Why did they have a police escort when their trucks were driving around residential streets lowering those massive plates and shaking the ground? It seems like local officials know more than they’re saying! My initial reaction was that seemed dangerous to shake frozen ground with old brittle gas & water pipes. But the gas industry doesn’t care what damage they cause, they’ll just send you a pizza coupon & call it even!

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