Scientists link fracking and water well explosion in Palo Pinto County by Brett Shipp, March 9, 2017, WFAA
New information has surfaced in the water well explosion in the summer of 2014 injuring three members of a Palo Pinto County family.
According to new scientific studies commissioned by the family, and included in newly filed court papers, the explosion was the direct result of fracking operations a quarter mile away.
Oil and gas industry officials have long claimed there are no provable cases of aquifer contamination due to fracking operations in the U-S.
But the Murray family and their attorney say that has changed. They say tests conducted by four top scientists have established a direct link between a nearby gas well and the explosion that nearly killed them.
Cody Murray re-lived his nightmare with WFAA in 2015.
Of how a wave of natural gas came rushing up his water well a year earlier and exploded in a ball of fire, severely burning him, his father and his young daughter who was 30-feet away.
Six months earlier, the Murray’s neighbors, Richard and Stella Singleton, started getting sick from ground water coming out of their faucets.
They suspected recent fracking operations just a few yards away. They contacted state oil and gas regulators at the Texas Railroad Commission who ran tests.
Investigators found excessive levels of gas in the water and concluded the Singleton’s water contained chemicals that may pose “adverse health effects”… and an “explosion hazard.”
Six months later, a quarter mile to the east, it was the Murray’s water well that exploded.
State investigators tested their water, but determined there was no connection and vowed further study.
“What you can see in the video here is just super carbonated water that is saturated with methane gas that’s bubbling out of the Murray’s water,” said Chris Hamilton, the Murray’s attorney.
The video he showed News 8 is the same water that exploded in 2014. “This is an explosive gas,” said Hamilton. “Large bubbles and pockets of this methane escaping from a water well, any sort of spark will start a fire.”
[Ernst’s contaminated water bubbling and white with methane gas after Encana illegally fractured right into the aquifer that supplies her water well:
What you can’t see in the video is the chemistry. But four nationally respected scientists have seen the chemistry and done the math. Anthony Ingraffea, Ph.D., Thomas Darrah, Ph.D., Frank Schwartz, Ph.D. and Zacariah Hildenbrand, Ph.D.
They were hired as experts by the Murray’s in their lawsuit against the gas well operator Fairway Resources.
Here’s what they found; according to the lawsuit the gas well on the Singleton’s property was not properly constructed allowing fracked gas to migrate into the aquifer. and into the Murray’s water supply.
They say the chemical analysis shows the fracked gas on the Singleton’s property is an exact match with the gas found in the Murray’s water.
But most importantly according to the lawsuit, chemicals found in the Singleton’s and the Murray’s water trace back to a specific chemical additive called Chem Seal which is used in the drilling mud used to drill the well.
[Chem Seal has chromium in it. Tests by Encana and Alberta Environment on Ernst’s water showed the chromium in her water increased by a factor of 45 after Encana illegally fractured the aquifer that supplies Ernst’s well.]
The same gas well that was fracked just weeks before the Singleton’s water became contaminated and a few months before the Murray’s well exploded. “The timing is undeniable, the location is undeniable, the chemistry of the gas is undeniable,” said Hamilton. “This is not naturally occurring gas. This is gas that came from 4 to 6-thousand feet below the ground.”
Fairway Resources, the company that drilled the gas well in question, has declined to comment due to the on-going lawsuit. State oil and gas regulators with the Texas Railroad Commission have also declined to comment citing their on-going investigation.
A recently released Sunset Advisory Commission report on the performance of the Texas Railroad Commission, however, does render some potential insight.
[Like the completely legally immune, lying, fraudulent, bullying, grossly negligent Charter violating AER!]
It’s the 3rd such report since 2010, and is critical of Railroad Commission’s effectiveness and operations. “The commission’s lack of a strategic approach to enforcement and inability to provide information persists.” The report cites: “no accurate counts of major violation”, “no accurate measure of violations referred for legal enforcement action” and “(Oil and gas) operators have a reasonable expectation they will not be penalized.”
The Railroad Commission has issued notices of violation in connection with the well in this case. [Enforcement AER style: When Ernst presented the AER with evidence of Encana’s non compliances, the regulator tried to threaten her, and intimidate her into silence, and violated her Charter rights.] But there is no indication any fines or administrative penalties were ever assessed. [Emphasis added]
[Refer also to:
2017 03 06: Cody Murray & family still waiting on Texas energy regulator after their methane contaminated water well exploded in 2014, injuring Cody, his daughter and others. Murrays expect to be in trial by October 2017, three years after the explosion. Compare to Ernst lawsuit in it’s 10th year, nowhere near discovery yet, never mind trial
[May 2006, Bruce Jack’s farm at Spirit River, Alberta:
AER and Alberta Environment fraudulently covered-up and bullied Bruce Jack after his water well at Spirit River also sprayed gas contaminated water up, later found to have been caused by an oil & gas industry well nearby:
The regulator had advised Jack to install the above gas venting system as the solution to the pollution!
Years later , even though knowing from this experience that venting does not remove industry’s migrating gases from water well bores or aquifers, the regulator advised this life threatening venting to numerous other Albertans, including Ernst, who remain harmed with explosive drinking water contaminated with methane, ethane, etc because of frac’ing by the oil and gas industry nearby.
Bruce Jack natural gas contaminated water well, photo taken day of the explosion, May 9, 2006. The Alberta government and AER continue to allow companies to drill and frac the area.
Bruck Jack in hospital the day after the explosion, when Peter Watson, then Deputy Minister Environment (now CEO of the National Energy Board), promptly arrived at his bedside to silence him with promises of permanent safe alternate water (the ministry and AER had deflected Jack’s concerns for years before the explosion).
Two industry gas-in-water testers, there to test the contaminated water the day of the explosion, were also hospitalized with serious injuries. Jack was hospitalized for a month. There were no Canadian Drinking Water Guideline Limits for methane and ethane (or propane, butane, pentane, etc.) then, and there still aren’t. Limits for methane and industry’s other migrating explosive gases might get in the way of private profits.
More details at FrackingCanada’s The Silence is Deafening, Industry’s Gas Migration, including a video of Jack’s water shooting out of his well ]