There’s been another accident at a northeastern Pennsylvania drilling site: 4,700 gallons of hydrochloric acid spilled at a Leroy Township, Bradford County well pad operated by Chief Oil and Gas on Wednesday
The spill comes two weeks after a thirty-foot methane geyser erupted near a Shell natural gas well in nearby Union Township, Tioga County.
Leroy is the same township where a Chesapeake Energy well suffered a 10,000-gallon fracking fluid blowout in 2011.
Click here to see where the well pad is located.
The Department of Environmental Protection is placing preliminary blame on a valve failure. “The acid breached containment and flowed off the well pad,” emailed DEP spokesman Dan Spadoni. “Some of the acid was collected in a sedimentation pond, while the remainder flowed through a field and some reached a small tributary to Towanda Creek causing a minor fish kill. Dams were constructed in the tributary before any acid reached Towanda Creek.”
In a statement, Chief spokeswoman Kristi Gittins said the majority of the acid stayed on the well pad. She estimated up to 800 gallons flowed beyond the drilling site.
Canton Fire Chief Kim Jennings, who also helped lead the cleanup of the Shell methane geyser, says the spill is now under control.
What was hydrochloric acid doing at the site? Click here to find out.
Update: here’s a statement from Chief Oil and Gas:
An HCL release of appx 4,700 gallons occurred at appx 1pm on July 4 at the Yoder well site in Leroy Twp, Bradford Co. The release was discovered by personnel on site. DEP and the Bradford County EMS were notified and response measures were implemented. It is important to note that the majority of the release, around 4,000 gallons was held to the initial containment area on the pad site. All pad sites are lined with a thick plastic so any inadvertent release of fluids can be remedied at the pad site. Appx 700-800 gallons left the initial containment area and traveled into a sediment pond, which is designed as an additional safety measure to contain any runoff from the pad site. Appx 50 gallons left the sediment pond but appears to have remained localized to a small plunge pool next to the sediment pond.
The appropriate clean up crews were quickly dispatched and are on site working. Additional berms of precautionary protection were put in place as crews were neutralizing and vacuuming the pond. The release was quickly contained and cleanup is near completion. After cleanup is complete, any needed remediation effors will be determined and that work will begin.
There were no drilling or fracing operations taking place at the time of the release. Landowners in the immediate area were notified, however there was never an issue of safety.
The release is under investigation by Frac Tech, Chief and the DEP, but it appears that a valve on the back of the tanker containing the HCL was found partially open which resulted in the release.
There is no evidence that any runoff entered Towanda Creek and all pH readings have been normal. DEP and the Fish and Boat Commission have been on site and, along with Chief, are continuing to monitor. There were a few dead minnows observed, localized in the small plunge pool, but there was no evidence of HCL and normal pH readings and live fish were noted further downstream in the tributary that leads to Towanda Creek. And again, no evidence of any runoff into Towanda Creek. Chief and DEP will continue to take readings and monitor.