Wednesday, January 8, 2014

WVDEP Issues Cease Operation Order in Response to Drilling Site Explosion

by Todd Bergstrom

According to multiple media sources, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has issued a notice of violation and a cease operation order to Jay-Bee Oil & Gas in response to a tank rupture that occurred on January 2 at the company’s Lisby Marcellus Shale well pad in Tyler County.

According to the Charleston Gazette, one Baker Hughes worker was injured in the explosion. Though the cause of the explosion remains under investigation, a DEP spokesman informed media that investigators suspect that vapors inside the tank ignited, leading to the tank rupture and an escape of ground contaminants. The Wheeling Intelligencer reports that the rupture occurred during the flushing of frack lines, and that the ruptured tank was included in a battery of tanks holding fracking fluids.

According to a DEP spokesman, most of the fluid remained in a dike area, and an initial inspection found no fluid in a nearby stream. Jay-Bee suspended operations as cleanup continued.

The DEP stop work order requires Jay-Bee to submit a report to the Office of Oil & Gas by January 14 regarding the cause of the rupture and future preventative measures. Jay-Bee is also required to provide an analysis of the fluids leaked, a proposal for soil and water sampling, as well as a detailed contamination remediation plan.

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