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Gas Drilling Emergency in Bradford County

April 20, 2011

Wednesday morning April 20 near the town of Canton in Bradford County Pennsylvania, Chesapeake Energy, Bradford County EMA, and the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) attempted to contain and control a well blowout.  Chesapeake drilling crews were fracking a well there when they lost control and it blew.

Watch the initial report on the situation in Pennsylvania “Gas Drilling Emergency in Bradford County” from the April 20 edition of WNEP Newswatch 16 at noon.

Selected excerpts from the WNEP Channel 16 News article:

“Bradford County’s director of public safety said a Chesapeake well went out of control late Tuesday night. That means the well blew near the surface, spilling thousands and thousands of gallons of frack fluid over containment walls, through fields, personal property and farms, even where cattle continue to graze.

DEP is taking ground water and stream samples to determine the extent of the spill.

Officials said fluids from the well have, in fact, contaminated Towanda Creek which feeds into the Susquehanna River.

There are no injuries reported from the incident.

People who live around the well site were approached and asked to evacuate as a precaution. According to Chesapeake, seven families living near the well have been moved until the situation is safe.”

Selected excerpts from the Scranton Times Tribune article “Natural gas well suffers blowout, releasing fluids in Bradford County“:

“Chesapeake said in a statement. ‘There have been no injuries or natural gas emissions to the atmosphere.’

Chesapeake described the incident as ‘an equipment failure’.

‘Evidently the crack is in the top part of the well below the blowout preventer,’ Mr. Roupp (deputy director of the county Emergency Management Agency) said, referring to a device used in emergency situations to choke off flow from a well. ‘They don’t really know what happened yet because they don’t have it controlled yet.’

Gary Wilcox, Bradford County director of public safety, said ‘I’m not sure of the amount of gallons that went into the creek’.”

A Chesapeake Energy natural gas well in Bradford County PA. (Source: Ralph Wilson AP)