Arlington

Limited operations to resume at Arlington well site after emergency

An Arlington Police Department vehicle blocks traffic at Little and Mayfield roads on April 12 while emergency crews attempt to plug an uncontrolled well at the nearby Lake Arlington Church well site.
An Arlington Police Department vehicle blocks traffic at Little and Mayfield roads on April 12 while emergency crews attempt to plug an uncontrolled well at the nearby Lake Arlington Church well site. Star-Telegram

The city announced Friday that it will allow Vantage Energy to resume limited operations, excluding drilling and fracking, at the southwest Arlington natural gas well site where an emergency occurred last month.

The daylight operations, set to begin Monday, at the Lake Arlington Baptist Church well site on Little Road will be limited to checks of safety and operational systems and further investigation into what caused thousands of gallons of fracking water to begin flowing back out of a well on April 11, the Arlington Fire Department said in a news release.

“Vantage has been and remains fully cooperative and transparent with this department and with City officials in their investigation of the incident. We are confident Vantage is taking the necessary steps to determine the cause of the incident,” the statement says.

The city has issued the company three citations in the incident, which led to the voluntary evacuation of about 100 homes.

Those citations — for release of hazardous materials, failure to maintain equipment and delayed notification of the city — each carry a fine of up to $2,000. Arlington is also seeking “full cost recovery” for man-hours and equipment used during the nearly 24 hours that the well was uncontrolled, Assistant Fire Chief Jim Self said.

No natural gas was released, but the city asked residents within one-eighth of a mile of the site to leave their homes as a precaution after initial efforts to cap the well failed.

Self said the city has since held regular meetings with Vantage and reviewed its work plans and safety protocols. Measures include having the malfunctioning equipment removed and evaluated by a third-party expert, Self said.

Wells at the site have remained shut down during the investigation.

“We are working as hard as we can to get them back in commercial operations,” Self said. “We are going to work with them daily, if not weekly, to come to some kind of agreeable solution.”

Susan Schrock, 817-390-7639

Twitter: @susanschrock

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