Two friends and I recently visited a well site in the Spring Lake area of Asylum Township, Bradford County, PA. We stopped to talk with some of the workers who were taking a break near their white pick-up trucks. They were very friendly and pleasant and seemed to enjoy a little break, talking with a few local ladies. We asked them about the loud noise. They said it was a frack pump which has to provide a lot of pressure while the horizontal drilling is in progress. My friend asked one man if he was concerned about hydrogen sulfide, a deadly gas when inhaled in even small amounts. He said, "Nah! We don't worry about that. We have alarms. It just doesn't bother us really."
Thursday a service rig operator, an employee of Chipco Oil and Gas Well Services, died from inhaling hydrogen sulfide in Guernsey County, Ohio. Four men were injured; one is in critical condition. Read the story here. The video is powerful.
The men, who were preparing to cap the well, were injured while trying to rescue the man who subsequently died. They had encountered what is commonly called "poison gas" or "sour gas." This lethal gas is NOT uncommon in the gas drilling industry. A volunteer fire department chief said,
It happens all over. It's something they're trained to deal with but, sometimes it happens so fast that their protective clothing doesn't warn them quick enough....What do we know about hydrogen sulfide? What about the public? How far away does a person have to be to keep safe? Is there hydrogen sulfide in the frack fluid deposited in the sludge pits?
NEOGAP/Grendell Bill will increase these setbacks and require hydrogen sulfide monitoring to protect the public. SB 165 just introduced by Niehaus DOES NOT.
DEADLY GAS IS COMMON!