Friday, September 11, 2009

1 Killed, 4 Injured In Gas Well Accident

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 ASKS: What measures are in place to protect residents? According to ERG and the Gas Research Institue 100 ft is not a safe proximity to a gas well during hydrogen sulfide events.

NEOGAP/Grendell Bill will increase these setbacks and require hydrogen sulfide monitoring to protect the public.
SB 165 just introduced by Niehaus DOES NOT.

Northeast Ohio Gas Accountability Project




I was asking myself the same questions you are asking... what about the public? how far away is a safe distance from hydrogen sulfide? how far does it travel on the wind?
How come the industy isn't protecting their workers... and all the rest of us from... well... sudden death?
There's so much sloppy slapdash modus operandi in this industy... and so much sloppy slapdash regulation by our government. How long are we going to allow this kind of environmental 'justice' to continue???

Peacegirl said...

My sentiments exactly, Splashdown...I just noticed your new water drop. He looks very distressed.

Insan Art said...

Funny you mention safety. I've visited the Detweiler #2 well in Cherry Flats, PA on 4 different nights in the past week to take photos. I am surprised at how there is absolutely NO security at all - no fence surrounding the site, not a single "no trespassing" sign, no security guards. I was able to drive right up to the pad and walk a considerable distance down in to the site without anyone noticing me. As I left last night, a family was pulling in with a bunch of kids to gawk at the flame - I remember thinking to myself, "how safe is it for us to all be here right now?" when I saw those kids jump out of the car...

Anonymous said...

I really wish some people would do some research. Yes in Ohio there are no current H2S regulations that companies have to meet but many of them force their employees to wear H2S detectors to alert them when they need to leave the area. But many states have very strict regulations on companies including a radius of exposure calculation. Most of them do not even reach the edge of the location. Also many companies have started putting up clear orange or yellow signs stating not to enter an area in case of H2S exposure. As for security, why should they need it? If you walk into a clear oil rig location and there is H2S present and you die just goes to show you stay off location... Many have now gotten security because people vandalize but not to protect you, who shouldn't be there, from getting hurt. It's a business not a damn amusement park.