WASHINGTON TWP. - Three Wyoming County families near a
malfunctioning natural gas well were evacuated Wednesday night and
Thursday as thousands of gallons of fluid waste escaped from the
well before crews could shut it down.
The Marcellus Shale well on Carrizo Oil and Gas' Yarasavage pad
off Keiserville Road began malfunctioning during a fracking
operation at around 6 p.m. Wednesday, Department of Environmental
Protection spokeswoman Colleen Connolly said.
The problem worsened overnight when natural gas was detected
leaking from the well and the salty, chemically treated wastewater
flowed out at a rate that peaked at around 800 gallons per minute
before subsiding, according to the company and regulators.
Gas company and specialty well control crews regained control of
the well by early Thursday and had it capped by the afternoon.
About 5,400 barrels, or 227,000 gallons, of the fluid was
captured in tanks and trucked off site, Ms. Connolly said. Some of
the fluid ran off the pad but crews built a temporary catch basin
across the road to contain it, she said.
Four families within 1,500 feet of the well site were asked to
evacuate on Wednesday night because officials were concerned that
as the fluid in the well was released to the surface, gas would
blow out behind it.
"Fortunately, we had the outcome we were looking for," Ms.
Connolly said. "There was no major gas buildup, no explosion, no
large flare off. Now we need to find out why this happened and what
can be done to prevent it from happening...