Fracking explosion kills 70,000 fish

A fracking explosion that occurred in Ohio last year (June 2014) ended up killing 70,000 fish in what appears to be a series of unfortunate events that would make even Lemony Snicket blush.

The Ohio disaster serves as a stark reminder of the fact that with fracking accidents, the damage created can be quite difficult to bring to a halt, even despite our best efforts of regulation and mitigation.
The Ohio disaster serves as a stark reminder of the fact that with fracking accidents, the damage created can be quite difficult to bring to a halt, even despite our best efforts of regulation and mitigation.

The event started at 9am, June 28th 2014, with a break in a hydraulic line that sprayed fracking chemicals over nearby hot machinery.This in turn caused an estimated 20 trucks to catch fire, leading to 30 recorded explosions

The fracking well was allowed to leak for a full 15 hours allowing flow back fluid to emit into a tributary of Opossum creak, until the wells closure at midnight.

The fires themselves were burning for seven days, despite the best efforts of local fire services who fought to extinguish the flames.

The incident is a sobering reminder to the environmental risks posed by shale gas extraction operations, where both fracking companies and governments have fought to sooth public opinion on the dangers of unconventional shale gas extraction.

The Ohio explosion, or explosions as it were, lead to the death of around 70,000 fish and also facilitated the deaths of salamanders, frogs and crayfish through the exposure of flow back fluids that were estimated to travel 5 miles from the epicentre, falling short of the main Ohio River.

Opossum Creek leads into the Ohio River, 1.7 miles upstream from public drinking waters for West Virginian residents. Officials say that no drinking water was contaminated by the tragedy.

Ohio fracking fire witnesses ask for greater chemical disclosure

A fire erupted last week on a frack-pad in Ohio State. The accident was finally contained after cross-county support from emergency services, who had to handle the hazardous flaming chemicals, without knowing what they were in the first place. As a result, efforts to put the fire out were hampered by the lack of available knowledge.

The Ohio Citizen reports:

The fire at the Monroe County well site on June 28 spread to 20 nearby trucks on the drilling pad, and required additional firefighters from six counties to contain it. Melissa English, development director with Ohio Citizen Action, says first responders were probably unaware of the chemicals involved in the accident because the only ones listed were ‘condensate and produced water.’

‘There were more chemicals on-site at the time of the fire, because they had started fracking by that time,’ says English. ‘They had started actually stimulating the well to produce oil and gas, which they hadn’t done at the time the hazardous chemical inventory was filed last year.’

To read the press release in full, click here.

Will Fracking Impact My Family?

In this excellent article, farmer, writer and mother Laura Grace Weldon looks at the issue of fracking and how it is likely to affect families, businesses and the natural world in her neighbourhood of rural Ohio.  Obviously some of the issues she discussed are particular to the United States, but most are universal and particularly important in any farming region.  It’s a well-written, thoughtful and balanced piece, with plenty of pictures and links to further sources of information. Click on the link below to read it now.

Will Fracking Impact My Family? | GeekMom | Wired.com.

(The photo above left shows the Weldon family, from Laura Weldon’s blog Bit of Earth Farm)