W.Va. drill site blast leads to pollution notice

MIDDLEBOURNE, W.Va. (AP) — State environmental regulators have issued a pollution violation notice to an oil and gas drilling company after a tank explosion at a Tyler County well site injured one worker.

The Department of Environmental Protection said Wednesday that the tank ruptured on Jan. 2 at Jay-Bee Oil & Gas’ Lisby gas well pad. Fluids leaked from the tank onto grounds surrounding the well pad.

The DEP’s Office of Oil and Gas issued the violation notice to the company Tuesday, along with a cease and desist order to stop well operations at the site.

The notice said there is a danger the fluids that leaked could contaminate a fresh water supply. The DEP did not say what kind of fluid was in the tank.

Supervisors at Jay-Bee’s office in Cairo didn’t immediately return a telephone message Wednesday.

Jay-Bee must abate the pollution and submit a report to the state by Jan. 14. In the report, the company must demonstrate its ability to safely resume operations and its understanding of what caused the rupture. The report also must include prevention measures to avoid similar problems.

The company also faces a Jan. 14 deadline to submit proposals for soil and surface water sampling and a remediation plan. The company also is required to submit to the state a best management practices plan for flow-back tank systems at all of its operations in West Virginia.

Jay-Bee has until Feb. 7 to give the Office of Oil and Gas an analysis of the tank fluids.

If the pollution is not abated by Jan. 14, Jay-Bee could face civil penalties and forfeiture of its bond.

The order shows that the Office of Oil and Gas issued a well work permit for the site to Jay-Bee on May 24.

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