On Feb. 19 the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) received a call from a Tyler County resident who lives near the Lisby Well Pad on Big Run Road. The caller reported a strange odor, as well as a "sheen" atop a small stream on their property.
OEM forwarded this information to the W.Va. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the resident notified the W.Va. Spill Line. DHS notified the W.Va. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which arrived onsite at 2 a.m. Thursday to inspect the area. DEP employees also inspected the site Thursday afternoon, confirming that traces of "mineral spirits" being used at the Lisby Well Pad had entered the stream. Mineral spirits are a chemical used to clean pipe fittings.
Representatives from Jay-Bee Oil and Gas, the company operating the well pad, instructed their frac crew to lay out a disposable absorbent material known as a boom to stop the flow of material to the creek and absorb the trace materials. The DEP also directed the crew to use containment or absorbent material in the area where the mineral spirits are being used in order to prevent further "leeching."
The DEP concluded that small quantities of the product have seeped into the rock on the pad over time and that rainfall and the recent melting of snow have flushed the material out of the rock, through the silt fence. Silt fences are temporary knee-high black fences installed to prevent storm water from carrying sediment and loose soil into waterways.
OEM met with Middlebourne Mayor Charles Delauder to discuss any possible problems the contaminant could have on the water plant. Their understanding is that the small amount of contamination occurred far enough upstream that there is no threat to the water quality in Middlebourne.
"Every effort is made to protect our water source from possible contamination," said Mayor Delauder.