New York family has explosive situation with natural gas in their water supply

WINDSOR, NY (CBS) - Drilling for natural gas is booming all over the nation, and although the Haynesville Shale is getting much of the attention, there are other promising sites around the country.

One of them includes the Marcellus Shale, in the northeast. It spans 600 miles, spreading northeastward from West Virginia into New York State.

One New York family says they have explosive proof that is there natural gas underneath their property. In fact, it's flowing right out of the tap.

Boiling the water wouldn't fix the problem a Windsor family is having with some faucets. That's because the water can actually burn.

"We have children who think it's really cool and then we have adults who go running out of the house so we get a mixture of emotional situations," says Debi Osterhout.

The Osterhouts noticed the problem after having a second well drilled for an addition to their home. Ray Osterhout noticed the water sometimes gurgles as flows. He called a plumber, who told him there was air in the pipes. Osterhout disagreed, and the plumber decided to perform a test.

"He had a cigarette lighter in his hand and two of his workers were up there with him. He turned it on and about a three-foot flame shot up. Two of them ran out. One went one way out of the bathroom, the other went the other way yelling," Osterhout says.

Osterhout says the plumber determined there was natural gas in the water. He doesn't believe there is natural gas in the well. But he has an idea of where it's coming from.

"It's either seeping up from 4,000 or 5,000 foot depths through the shale. There's fissures in the stone of course. Either that or when they drilled, they drilled through a finger of gas," he says.

Osterhout just leased his land to a gas drilling company to search for natural gas. He's sure they'll find it.

All he has to do is turn on his faucet and light a match, to prove he's sitting on a natural gas reserve.

Osterhout says his family still uses the water from that well in their toilet or to take a shower. The family uses water from the homes main well for drinking and cooking.

And he says, he doesn't allow smoking in the house, in case someone gets too close to the running water.