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Clean-Up of Wyoming County Well Spill Continues

Marie Cusick/ StateImpact Pennsylvania

More than 200,000 gallons of fracking fluid spilled out of a well in Tunkhannock.

Crews worked through the night to clean up the damage from a Wyoming County natural gas well that spewed out more than 200,000 gallons of flowback water Wednesday evening into Thursday afternoon.
Several families who had been evacuated from their homes were able to return after the well was capped around two o’clock Thursday afternoon.
According to the DEP, the spill began at a Washington Township well around six o’clock Wednesday. At one point the well was out of control and leaking 800 gallons of flowback per minute.
“We were concerned about gas building up in the well because the drill bit got jammed in there,” says DEP spokeswoman Colleen Connolly,  “So we evacuated four homes in the area, three of which left, as a precautionary measure.”

Some gas did escape, but Connolly says after a large crane was brought in to removed the drill bit, most of the gas was contained in the well.
State Police shut down a mile-long stretch of Keiserville Road in Washington Township where the incident occurred and say it will remain closed until Friday morning.
Paul Ruhf and his family were among the evacuees. He says he was pleased with how the drill operator, Carrizo Marcellus, handled the situation.
“They were on the ball. We knew what was going on,” he says, “They offered to put us up in a hotel because they thought the danger could be there.”
Carrizo agreed to provide bottled water to the four affected homes, which Ruhf says he will make use of, as he awaits water test results.
DEP staff will be on the site Friday and Monday morning to do more testing and conduct an investigation into what caused the spill.
“Carrizo is going to begin well water and ground water sampling in that area,” says Connolly. “The DEP will do sampling as well to see if there is any type of long-term contamination.”

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