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Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Whoosh and a Boom

Now what's going on at Chesapeake's Bruder Gas Drill Site?

On Tuesday night, September 17th residents called 911 when they heard a loud whoosh and a boom.  Here's an e-mail one neighbor sent to Chesapeake:
"I wanted to let you know that we had an incident tonight at the Bruder Site. I did call 911. I've never heard a sound like this before. It was a very, very loud whoosh and then a find of [sic] boom or something like that.  The fire department came out. It happened a little after 11:00. I can't imagine that no one else called it in because it was so loud."

Here's Chesapeake's response to that neighbor's concerns:
"I wanted to let you know that what you heard last night were two wells coming online. Chesapeake had personnel on the site during the day and during the night to handle these operations and they met with the Fire Department when they arrived. We had a sufficient compliment of operations personnel and equipment to handle this activity and the Fire Dept. was satisfied that Chesapeake had all aspects of the operation very much under control. As you know the Bruder padsite is home to a number of very excellent and good producing wells and sometimes when strong wells come online they can initially make the whooshing sound that you heard.
 I am sorry that you were concerned but happy to report what you heard was the sound of gas filling the pipeline after coming online. Please let me know if there is any additional information that I can   provide as I am happy to help whenever possible."

These are "good producing wells"?

As one of the lessors said, "Someone is getting some money, but it isn't us."

It seems the Fire Department provided a totally different response about this incident to this resident  Here is the e-mail the resident sent to Chesapeake: 
"I was told by the fire department that what I heard was the gas well water in the gas lines causing pressure. Water caused pressure to build up and the pressure detection system shut down the wells automatically. So i don't know who told you the noise was from the wells coming back on line. It seems the info I was given by the Arlington fire department was different than the information you were given. I'm going to see if I can get a copy of the report from the fire department to clarify."

Here's the next e-mail from Chesapeake.   Sounds like they're attempting to cover their tracks:
"I have done some further checking after receiving your second email. Indeed there were two different things that transpired last night and I initially only reported on one of them. What you heard about 11:00 p.m. was the result of the pipeline valve closing automatically because there was a large volume of water coming out of the well. This resulted in a high water level in a vessel and the subsequent shutting of the pipeline valve. These valves close very quickly and although loud in volume our safety system worked as designed. Unfortunately, there is no way to accurately predict exactly when the water will begin to flow and how much water will flow when we bring wells online. The system is designed to shut down automatically if the volume of water flowing to the tanks is too great – that is what happened and what you heard.

After the wells were shut off automatically Chesapeake worked to get them back online and that occurred about 2:30 a.m. Each of these operations created the sounds that you heard. However, as I mentioned in my previous email the systems worked as designed in a safe and efficient manner. The Fire Department was on site with our operators and reviewed the status of the operations and saw them to be safe and secure. My apologies for not providing the entire explanation in my original email. Although it was my desire to get you an explanation as quickly as possible this morning that resulted in me sending an incomplete summary of what had occurred."

Perhaps there is a whistleblower out there who can tell us the real story... 
In the meantime, here is the official incident report from that night:

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