Councilwoman Gyna Bivens said she will seek a review of the city’s procedures for responding to gas well incidents after the second leak in barely a month at a site in east Fort Worth.
“We are always concerned about the close proximity of the activity and the effect it is having on our entire urban area,” Bivens said Friday. She said she has a number of concerns with the wells being so close to residents, including the abnormal number of earthquakes recorded in the Barnett Shale, the vast natural gas field that underlies more than 20 North Texas counties.
More than 20 small earthquakes were measured in North Texas, mostly in Parker County, last month.
“I’m not going to wait for the science, because too often science follows behind,” Bivens said. “All I know is until we had this level of urban drilling, we never heard of earthquakes in our area. I have a number of concerns.”
A leak early Friday at the Chesapeake Energy site at 6900 Ederville Road, at the southeast corner of Interstate 30 and East Loop 820, was ended within 20 minutes, said Tom Edwards, senior gas well development inspector. Edwards said the leak was resolved before he arrived.
City crews on Nov. 2 responded to a similar incident at the Ederville Road site.
Like the previous incident, Friday’s leak was caused by sand erosion, Edwards said. The leaking gas was captured by a secondary containment system and Chesapeake will not receive a citation, he said.
A communication snafu with Chesapeake during the first leak delayed the company’s response.
A Chesapeake spokesman in Oklahoma City said Friday that the company had no comment on the incident.
Dan Hill, head of the petroleum engineering department at Texas A&M University, told the Star-Telegram that sand used in hydraulic fracturing can wear away steel pipes as it rushes from the well along with natural gas. He said new wells are the most susceptible to sand erosion because the amount of sand and gas rushing through valves and flow lines is at its greatest when a well first goes into production.
Production began at Chesapeake’s Ederville Road site in the spring.
The city previously said it had responded to 28 reports of gas well leaks since 2007.
Janice Colston, who lives near the site, reported both incidents. She first thought the sound that woke her at 5:30 a.m. Friday could be a burst water pipe, but she looked out her window and saw something rising from the gas well site.
“I don’t see how we can live in this neighborhood if we can’t even go to bed without worrying about this happening,” Colston said.
Bivens, who represents the affected council district, has requested a briefing at the City Council to discuss the procedures for dealing with emergency situations and the expectations for well operators.
Colston said she also plans to speak at the next council meeting about her concerns.