Gallons of Gelatinous Fracking Agent Cleaned Up After Being Dumped in Harrison County Community
DEP Emergency Response Chief Mike Dorsey shovels pooled material into salvage drums.
Inside one of the drums of material recovered by the DEP.
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is monitoring a non-toxic fracking chemical spill that happened on June 22 on Route 20 in Brown, Harrison County, near Wallace.
Containers of a slickening agent used in the fracking process known as 'Q Slick' fell off a truck and spilled. A member of the Harrison County Sheriff's Department reported the spill through the DEP's Emergency Spill hotline. In the initial call, DEP officials said it was reported that approximately 3 gallons of the material had spilled. The DEP said it was later contacted with information that the company responsible for the spill, Quality Energy Services of Texas, was at the scene addressing the issue. The DEP learned on July 1 after receiving a call from a resident that the company had not cleaned up the Q-Slick agent and that the mess seemed to be worse than was initially reported, said DEP Spokeswoman Kelley Gillenwater.
DEP inspectors collected approximately 50 gallons of the material Tuesday, July 1 along with up to 400 lbs. of rock in a nearby ditch that had been impacted by the slickening agent. The DEP repeatedly attempted to contact Quality Energy Services to initiate additional clean up at the spill site before finally hearing from the company. The company told the DEP that two workers were handling the clean up and were able to recover one container of the Q-Slick material and were pumping material from the second container when an equipment failure occurred, said Gillenwater. The workers reportedly left to get replacement parts for the equipment and upon their return, the tote was missing and about 100 gallons of the chemical inside had been dumped. The Quality Energy Services workers said a man had approached them earlier in the day asking if he could have the container, to which they said they would have to pump the material out of it and clean it. The company said it's possible the man returned to pick up the container or someone else took it from the site. The DEP said it was not notified by the company that the material had been dumped.
Quality Energy Services hired a Clarksburg environmental clean up company, Enviroclean, to handle the site remediation, which included removing up to 4 tons of potentially contaminated soil. The clean up was completed on July 2, said Gillenwater.
Gillenwater said the slickening agent did not enter any nearby streams due to its gelatinous texture, which also reduced its ability to quickly seep into soil. The DEP is working to determine whether Quality Energy Services will be cited.