The Faulkner County Quorum Court on Tuesday discussed entering into a contract with the U.S. Geological Survey to monitor rural water wells to assess potential effects from natural gas production.

Justices of the Peace said they have received complaints from residents about changes in water wells since gas drilling began in the area.

Jaysson Funkhouser and Tim Kresse of the USGS told the justices they had been monitoring wells in Van Buren County with funding provided by that Quorum Court. They’ve used cost-saving methods for the process involving participation by residents, Funkhouser said.

They proposed to sample 100-150 wells in Faulkner County with the Quorum Court paying $25,000 for the monitoring.

The court voted to ask County Judge Preston Scroggin to write a request of gas producers in the area to participate in funding the project. In the meantime, the proposal will go to the budget committee for consideration of the expense.

JP Dan Thessing said the monitoring will establish a baseline for future changes in water wells.

"This will show we are making an earnest effort to protect property owners," he said.

Scroggin praised the USGS for its recent work with the county, including monitoring surface water in the Cypress Creek watershed that feeds Brewer Lake and studying the efficacy of the Lollie Bottoms levee.

Funkhouser said the results of the Lollie Levee study are forthcoming.

In other business, County Treasurer Regina Oakley presented an ordinance outlining the balances for more than 40 county funds, giving projected revenue, recommended fund reserves and revenue available for appropriation.

(Becky Harris can be reached at or 505-1234.)