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Seismic Testing, Dynamite the Cause of Mysterious Booms in Highland

For several months large booms have been reported in Highland, the cause of the booms are dynamite used by a company doing seismic testing in the area.

Last November residents all over Highland reported hearing loud booms or explosions. The explosions were so powerful that people said their homes shook.

Deputies with the Oakland County Sheriff's Office Highland Substation investigated the noises, but couldn't find the source. It wasn't until a few weeks later that the source was discovered.

Highland Supervisor Rick Hamill said the noises heard throughout the township were dynamite explosions used by a company conducting seismic testing in the township.

That company, Hamill said, was seeking permission at Wednesday night's township meeting to conduct similar testing on township land.

That request was tabled after several board members expressed questions and concerns.

The company, West Bay Geophysical, has been working in the area along land belonging to Oakland County. The company has permission, Hamill said, to work on county land, and any land where owners give permission.

Trustee Chuck Dittmar said he wanted to know if the township owned the mineral rights for the property the company wanted to test—the township park off Hickory Ridge Road where the soccer fields are located.

In addition, Trustee Russ Tierney said he wanted to know the intent of the company should gas or oil be found.

Several board members expressed concerns over fracking, and Hamill said he too shared that concern.

Hamill said he will be in contact with the company to get some answers and address the township board's concerns. The issue was tabled, and is expected to be brought back for discussion at the March meeting.

Laura Vogel February 14, 2013 at 05:56 PM
The Oakland County real estate folks apparently never thought that it might be prudent to inform the Oakland County sheriff that they'd authorized some geological mining company to do seismic testing (read: exploding the ground and reading the shock waves). Highland Twp of course obtains its police services from the county sheriff. So what we had was untold wasted policing time devoted to trying to find out why entire sections of Highland Twp were reporting house-shaking explosions for several weeks. It would be nice if the left and the right hands would coordinate. A simple call to the Highland substation from the real estate services group could have avoided all of this needless worry and investigation.
Gerry S February 14, 2013 at 08:17 PM
Something isn't right here. From a previous article: "Several Highland residents have reported hearing the same sounds Thursday at 8:30 p.m. and 9 p.m." These explosions were heard near Duck Lake and Wardlow roads and in the Seven Harbors subdivision. This company may have had permission from owners but why were they exploding dynamite so late at night? And why are they doing their testing so close to White Lake?
Brooke Tajer February 14, 2013 at 08:22 PM
You are correct. They were conducting these tests later in the evening and along the roads which are owned by the county. They have permission from Oakland County to work along all county property so it's possible it was happening in White Lake as well.
Gerry S February 14, 2013 at 09:09 PM
My concern Brooke is that they were testing so close to the lake itself. Even if they were out near Hickory Ridge Rd there are still several lakes out that way. Do you know who in the county gave this company carte blanche permission to explode dynamite at all hours without regard to residential subdivisions or our lakes? Is there an EPA policy regarding fracking in close proximity to public waterways? This policy needs to be re-examined immediately ...
Brooke Tajer February 14, 2013 at 09:20 PM
Ah, yes. I do believe it was the Oakland County Board of Commissioners that gave the approval. And they aren't fracking yet. They are simply doing seismic testing to see if there is oil and gas. If there is, they would have to go through another process to get permission to drill I believe. I know one of the concerns expressed last night was about them doing this close to lakes and wetlands.
Tiffany Pagogna February 15, 2013 at 02:42 AM
Please tell me you are going to stay on top of this story, Brooke. The residents of White Lake, Highland Twp, AND the surrounding communities have a right to know if drilling is going to take place in the foreseeable future. Although, they wouldn't be spending the money on testing unless evidence has already shown that there is something worth exploring. It might be time to make some hard decisions about our future here- fracking will destroy our water supply and put everyone's health at risk- all in the name of profits...
mercman1951 February 17, 2013 at 03:11 PM
Read up on 'fracking'. It's an environmental disaster waiting to happen. My water supply and my surroundings are too valuable to me to have it destroyed by the interests of gas companies seeking profits and greed. Check out this movie. I don't want 'fracking' done anywhere near me: http://www.amazon.com/Gasland-Josh-Fox/dp/B0042EJD8A/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1361113539&sr=8-2&keywords=gasland
Gerry S February 20, 2013 at 11:56 PM
I contacted West Bay Geophysical and got a prompt reply from their spokesperson, Pat Gibson: "most of the surveys we conducted were performed with our vibrator truck, not explosives. In the few cases where we used charges on cross country surveys, the charge is extremely small and buried in the ground. The impact of these charges is barely audible at the surface and would not sound like an explosion on neighboring property. Landowners affected by the survey are contacted through the mail so that they are aware of our timing. I am not sure what your mysterious explosions were, but I am pretty sure they were not the result of our surveys. Thanks again, Pat" Hmmm....
Brooke Tajer February 20, 2013 at 11:59 PM
Very, very interesting. Contradicts what their company told Highland officials haha. Thanks for the info!
Gerry S February 21, 2013 at 12:36 AM
I read in today's Oakland Press that Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash is taking on the issue of fracking. Mr Nash is holding a series of Town Hall meetings to inform people about what it means, the potential hazards, and to make sure people are aware of it before they lease their property," Nash said Monday. Our economy really depends on our water resources. If you look at the county, basically our best property values are around lakes and streams." I sent Commissioner Nash an email today and asked if he would like to speak in White Lake and Special Assistant to the Commissioner Craig Covey responded that they will try to put one together for the summer....
Brooke Tajer February 21, 2013 at 12:39 AM
That would be great. I know I and some other editors have talked about putting together an informational package of articles on the topic. We are seeing this pop up all over southeast Michigan.

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