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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

It Ain't Just Steam

Arlington's Gas Drilling Status Report does not mention that flowback operations are happening today at the Bruder Drill Site located at the intersection of I-20 and Park Springs in Arlington, TX.  Fortunately, we have Fish Creek neighbors out in the field equipped with video cameras.  

Julie Wilson, Public Relations Spokeperson for Chesapeake, states that flowback vapor is just steam. 
“The “vapor” you see from the tanks on this site is steam from hot water. […] Despite the alarming stories that are unfortunately sometimes circulated, we can assure you there are no harmful emissions to worry about.”


The evidence is in.   It's not just steam.

The City of Colleyville hired Modern Geosciences, an independent environmental consultant firm to monitor Titan's mini-frack job.   Methane, VOC's, Xylene, Toluene, Ethyl Benzene, Nitric Oxide, and Ammonia were detected during both the fracking and flowback process.  Here is the link of their findings:  http://www.colleyville.com/images/content/files/communitydevelopment/final_air_quality_analysis_summary.pdf

We think Arlington should hire an independent consultant to monitor drilling activities, but our gas well regulator has been busy these days.  Here he is sitting on a panel with industry representatives promoting gas drilling at a recent UTA seminar.  (He's the one on the right.)



There are lots of rules for all of these drill pad sites.  Feel safer now?

9 comments:

  1. Fish Creek NeighborApril 18, 2012 at 10:08 AM

    We had technical difficulties with the video. Scroll over to 18 minutes 23 seconds.

    ReplyDelete
  2. On April 5, 2012 I sent the following email to Tony Walker, Alyssa Taylor and Robin Pugh at the TCEQ:

    When we had a meeting in the TCEQ offices a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned the ongoing complaints we have received from Arlington residents during completion operations by Chesapeake Energy. I have several videos posted on my blog that document these emissions. The emissions are crossing the fenceline into the neighborhoods and causing stress and health complaints.

    If you need to see videos, they are posted on my blog http://www.texassharon.com/2012/04/05/chesapeake-energy-sickens-arlington-residents-again-with-fracking-flowback-operations/ That blog post includes links to former postings that include video.

    Air sampling needs to happen while these emission are occurring. This is a perfect time for that because Chesapeake will be doing completion at this wellsite for several days.

    As my sons can tell you, I'm not much of a cook. But the one thing I do know is steaming water has no odor. There have been a few times my cooking caused my heart to race but, again, that wasn't from hot water.

    Sharon


    I received no response.

    Twice now I have called the Arlington Fire Department to inform them that we have testing results from flowback operations that show dangerous levels of toxic chemicals so they should not be telling the community that the vapors are only steam. I left messages for Randy Schmetz who was supposed to return my call. I have never heard from him.

    It is obvious to me that Arlington residents will need to make a lot more noise about this. Chesapeake is holding your government and first responders captive. They need to be released.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Amazing how human nature is...some people can recognize the error of their ways and some people can't. One thing we know, the shale gas industry and the people that represent them will be the last people on earth to admit they've goofed. So, this is like stepping over the cow patties. It's easy to visualize the people in the video that way. Real easy.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Signs and symptoms of exposure to Ethyl Benzene:

    Acute exposure: Acute exposure to ethyl benzene causes eye, skin, and mucous membrane irritation, with tearing of the eyes, irritation of the nose and upper respiratory tract, and redness and blistering of the skin. Symptoms of narcosis include fatigue, drowsiness, staggering gait, and incoordination.

    Chronic exposure: Chronic exposure to ethyl benzene causes fatigue, headache, and eye and upper respiratory tract irritation. Repeated contact with the skin may cause drying, defatting, and dermatitis [Genium 1992].

    Genium [1992]. Material safety data sheet No. 385. Schenectady, NY: Genium Publishing Corporation.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Health Effects of Toluene:

    Acute Potential Health Effects:

    Skin: Causes mild to moderate skin irritation. It can be absorbed to some extent through
    the skin.

    Eyes: Cauess mild to moderate eye irritation with a burning sensation. Splash contact with eyes also causes
    conjunctivitis, blepharospasm, corneal edema, corneal abraisons. This usually resolves in 2 days.

    Inhalation: Inhalation
    of vapor may cause respiratory tract irritation causing coughing and wheezing, and nasal discharge. Inhalation of high
    concentrations may affect behavior and cause central nervous system effects characterized by nausea, headache, dizziness,
    tremors, restlessness, lightheadedness, exhilaration, memory loss, insomnia, impaired reaction time, drowsiness, ataxia,
    hallucinations, somnolence, muscle contraction or spasticity, unconsciousness and coma. Inhalation of high concentration of
    vapor may also affect the cardiovascular system (rapid heart beat, heart palpitations, increased or decreased blood pressure,
    dysrhythmia, ), respiration (acute pulmonary edema, respiratory depression, apnea, asphyxia), cause vision disturbances
    and dilated pupils, and cause loss of appetite. Ingestion: Aspiration hazard. Aspiration of Toluene into the lungs may cause
    chemical pneumonitis. May cause irritation of the digestive tract with nausea, vomiting, pain. May have effects similar to that
    of acute inhalation. Chronic Potential Health

    Effects: Inhalation and Ingestion: Prolonged or repeated exposure via inhalation
    may cause central nervous system and cardiovascular symptoms similar to that of acute inhalation and ingestion as well liver
    damage/failure, kidney damage/failure (with hematuria, proteinuria, oliguria, renal tubular acidosis), brain damage, weight
    loss, blood (pigmented or nucleated red blood cells, changes in white blood cell count), bone marrow changes, electrolyte
    imbalances (Hypokalemia, Hypophostatemia), severe, muscle weakness and Rhabdomyolysis. Skin: Repeated or prolonged
    skin contact may cause defatting dermatitis.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Health Effects of Xylene Exposure:

    Overexposure to xylene most commonly depresses the central nervous system, producing headaches, nausea, dizziness, and drowsiness, and irritates the eyes, nose, throat, and skin.

    ReplyDelete
  7. An inaccurate assessment given to a citizen or the press, by a local, state or federal official travels at virtual speed. Comments intended to reduce the public’s alarm, frequently heighten it. Telling someone tells "not to worry" when an event has ANY LEVEL of potential averse human health or safety impact erodes the trust of many other people when they hear about it. If people decide that it is futile to rely on those who are technically trained to understanding and respond to events in our neighborhoods to keep us safe, effective cooperation ceases. Here are some realities:
    1. Even without formal technical training, many citizens have learned more than “we ever wanted to know” about the chemicals and events related to natural gas production.
    2. Citizens want our local fire department and TCEQ officials to understand emission events and to use that knowledge to keep us safe..
    3. First Responders need to effectively communicate with the public during a gas well/pipeline/compression station event.
    4. Citizens learn how to recognize when officials are “discounting risks” to then. Even“technically challenged” individuals can locate someone who is technically proficient to help them understand what is occurring during these events and their potential adverse health impacts. Eventually people find out what they are not being told.
    5 Citizens need to understand what to do and how they fit into emergency preparedness plans for the most probably kinds of emergency events which might occur near their homes, schools or workplaces. With 350 natural gas wells in Arlington, averaging 3.5 wells per square mile, every citizens needs to understand how to evacuate safely from an area where there is an incident.
    Fire Department personnel are better at containing fires and chemical events than at effectively answering the public’s questions about these events. People, who are regularly exposed to emission events near their homes, do not find it comforting that Flow Back events are viewed as minor occurrence to Fire Department personnel, relative to the fires and other calls they answer.
    Although specific event’s emissions may not be high enough to warrant enforcement action, the cumulative impact of living in close proximity to natural gas production may adversely impact health over the long term. The failure of all agencies on all levels of government to assess the cumulative impact of VOC emissions from gas wells permitted in any geographic area is alarming.
    Citizens want to know where they specifically fit into emergency plans. I phoned the Arlington Fire Department about the evacuation plan for our neighborhood. “Homeland Security" was cited as the reason for not telling me how or where I would fit into an evacuation plan should an event occur at the Cowboy Stadium or a nearby gas well. Neighbors speculated that “our neighborhood is merely considered as traffic conduits in the plan” rather than the evacuating us being a priority!
    Neither the City nor the Arlington Fire Department told me not to use a cell phone, electric power chair, or to start a car engine during a natural gas event. I learned from other sources using them near a gas leak can ignite an explosion. People living near gas wells aren’t being told what they should or should not do during Flow Back emission events either.
    During the Cold War, school children were ushered into the hall for Civil Defense Drills. We knew we were included in the plan. That does not seem to be the case for those living near gas wells. Citizens want that the Fire Department and TCEQ understand Flow Back and other Emission events and that they will keep us safe. No one should tell anyone that “it is just steam!” The actual risk to human health of the VOCs in a particular event cannot be fully determined until the emissions are tested. Some VOCs which are the most hazardous to human health are odorless. There is definitely room for process improvement in the handling of Flow Back events at natural gas wells in Arlington.

    ReplyDelete
  8. An inaccurate assessment given to a citizen or the press, by a local, state or federal official travels at virtual speed. Comments intended to reduce the public’s alarm, frequently heighten it. Telling someone tells "not to worry" when an event has ANY LEVEL of potential averse human health or safety impact erodes the trust of many other people when they hear about it. If people decide that it is futile to rely on those who are technically trained to understanding and respond to events in our neighborhoods to keep us safe, effective cooperation ceases. Here are some realities:
    1. Even without formal technical training, many citizens have learned more than “we ever wanted to know” about the chemicals and events related to natural gas production.
    2. Citizens want our local fire department and TCEQ officials to understand emission events and to use that knowledge to keep us safe..
    3. First Responders need to effectively communicate with the public during a gas well/pipeline/compression station event.
    4. Citizens learn how to recognize when officials are “discounting risks” to then. Even“technically challenged” individuals can locate someone who is technically proficient to help them understand what is occurring during these events and their potential adverse health impacts. Eventually people find out what they are not being told.
    5 Citizens need to understand what to do and how they fit into emergency preparedness plans for the most probably kinds of emergency events which might occur near their homes, schools or workplaces. With 350 natural gas wells in Arlington, averaging 3.5 wells per square mile, every citizens needs to understand how to evacuate safely from an area where there is an incident.
    Fire Department personnel are better at containing fires and chemical events than at effectively answering the public’s questions about these events. People, who are regularly exposed to emission events near their homes, do not find it comforting that Flow Back events are viewed as minor occurrence to Fire Department personnel, relative to the fires and other calls they answer.
    Although specific event’s emissions may not be high enough to warrant enforcement action, the cumulative impact of living in close proximity to natural gas production may adversely impact health over the long term. The failure of all agencies on all levels of government to assess the cumulative impact of VOC emissions from gas wells permitted in any geographic area is alarming.
    Citizens want to know where they specifically fit into emergency plans. I phoned the Arlington Fire Department about the evacuation plan for our neighborhood. “Homeland Security" was cited as the reason for not telling me how or where I would fit into an evacuation plan should an event occur at the Cowboy Stadium or a nearby gas well. Neighbors speculated that “our neighborhood is merely considered as traffic conduits in the plan” rather than the evacuating us being a priority!
    Neither the City nor the Arlington Fire Department told me not to use a cell phone, electric power chair, or to start a car engine during a natural gas event. I learned from other sources using them near a gas leak can ignite an explosion. People living near gas wells aren’t being told what they should or should not do during Flow Back emission events either.
    During the Cold War, school children were ushered into the hall for Civil Defense Drills. We knew we were included in the plan. That does not seem to be the case for those living near gas wells. Citizens want that the Fire Department and TCEQ understand Flow Back and other Emission events and that they will keep us safe. No one should tell anyone that “it is just steam!” The actual risk to human health of the VOCs in a particular event cannot be fully determined until the emissions are tested. Some VOCs which are the most hazardous to human health are odorless. There is definitely room for process improvement in the handling of Flow Back events at natural gas wells in Arlington

    ReplyDelete
  9. Psychological control over communities...this seems to be key to how we got into this predicament. Maybe if they did a study...the city leaders with the most resistance to being hypnotized are the best line of defense against any of this.

    ReplyDelete