The following are a few pictures I took at about 5:00 PM, Sunday, 7/6/08. Click on the pictures for a larger version.
This is a drilling site less than a mile from me. The drilling was finished a couple of days ago and the rig was moved. This site is operated by Braden Exploration in partnership with Devon Energy.
When I took these pictures, the stench of sewage and fumes were so bad I had to keep my hand over my mouth and nose.
UPDATE: I reported this pit to the Texas Railroad Commission because I know the drilling company dumped their sewage from 2 months’ on-site living into the pit. They live in trailers and the waste from the trailers is collected in big tanks. I’ve taken Cub Scouts to waste water treatment plants more than once so I know what sewage looks and smells like. In addition, I was raised in the country with a cranky, leaky septic system.
Walter Gwyn, Director, Texas Railroad Commission District 8, refused to text the water for fecal matter because he said in an email to me that his inspector, “didn’t see any toilet paper floating.”
The tree line follows the bank of a flowing creek. The creek flows into Denton Creek. Denton Creek flows into Lake Grapevine. Lake Grapevine is a source of drinking water for the Midcities area.
You might see how runoff would be a problem here but the Oil and Gas industry is exempt from the stormwater runoff part of the Clean Water Act. The oil and gas industry enjoys broad exemptions from many of the laws that protect our environment.
This is the sludge pond. There are many of these in Wise County. This one is lined with a plastic liner, but many aren’t lined with anything. On the other side of the trees is the creek.
About Sharon Wilson
Sharon Wilson is considered a leading citizen expert on the impacts of shale oil and gas extraction. She is the go-to person whether it’s top EPA officials from D.C., national and international news networks, or residents facing the shock of eminent domain and the devastating environmental effects of natural gas development in their backyards.
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Hey Sharon – saw this article and thought you might find if of interest – jimmyjack
Little do they know… I’ve been scooping the shit up and dumping it the yards of their directors and officers.
Hope they wear gloves when they work in the flower beds. Sorry about those dead cats.
Or maybe I’m just kidding…
We’re being ruined by this unbridled onslought of gas drilling going on in Texas. The RRC will just say it’s just SAAAALT WAAAATER!!! The WCEQ has no nose or eyes!
Keep up good work on this site.
John Coby says
that pit is NOT completely lined!
This is horrible!
Is there any water testing going on?
GREAT job of covering this. Keep it up!
Nice neighbor you’ve got. I blogged about your messy neighbor and linked to your more extensive description.
Honestly, the stench and fumes were so horrific that I couldn’t do much investigating so I’m not sure how much or how little lining exists on the pit. It really doesn’t matter because the chemicals deteriorate the plastic lining and most often they have tears and are not applied properly. Many of the pits have no lining at all because it’s not a requirement unless the mineral owner states it in the lease. Most mineral owners are completely clueless, and many do not live in the area so they couldn’t care less as long as they get their royalty check each month.
I have DOZENS of pictures like these taken at different sites in Wise, Denton and Montague Counties.
Long after I left the site, I could still smell the fumes. I kept asking my son if I or my clothing smell but he assured me there was no smell. I guess it just permeated my nostrils.
TX SHARON –
Get your facts straight – The oil and gas industry is not exempt from Clean Water Act – We are under very strict guidelines. The pond you took a picture of is doing just exactly what it is designed to do. Before you take the stand of attack, examine you own needs. What kind of car do you drive? How many? What is your thermostat set on? The US cannot supply enough oil to meet the needs of our citizens. Anyone can take a picture.
Oh really? You might want to read this:
Exemption of Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Wastes from Federal Hazardous Waste Regulations
Just so YOU can get YOUR facts straight.
Stop trying to deflect the issue by asking if I drive a car. Dispute the facts presented if you can.
To the “get your facts straight” person–sounds like a landman type comment. That person will probably claim it’s YOUR fault that the O&G company had to dump all that crap out there!!! Also, YEP they’re exempt. It’s Texas–do as you please if you’re O&G!
This might be of interest to you. I pray that the gas companies will start to treat the waste water so it can reused and not go back into the ground. Of course no drilling at all is the best option. Since we know that will never happen, lets hope they can try to clean up some of the mess. It sickens me to see these photos.
Ecoloclean Industries Sets Up Pilot Plant
Ecoloclean Industries, Inc. is moving forward with plans to open a pilot plant in Carrizo Springs, Texas. The operation will treat flowback water from drilling operations. Company COO, John Adams is on the ground in Carrizo Springs, implementing the completion of the pilot plant with his team and a licensed operator of disposal wells in Texas.
According to Mr. Adams, “The current growth in the exploration and production experienced by the O & G industry had been driven by the evolution of drilling and production technologies such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fraccing). As a market for remediation services, treating water generated by the O & G industry is in its infancy. Up to this point most of the wastes have been disposed by utilizing injection wells or land farming. With more than 50,000 permitted oil/gas injection and disposal wells in Texas*, we are certain that the placement of our resources here are prudent. More aggressive efforts to reclaim fracturing waters are a somewhat recent development. Droughts as well as environmental impact have brought more focus on utilization and recovery.”
“As we have reported, our focus has been to develop markets for our E-C WaterPure(tm) units in Texas, and specifically the Barnett Shale field. Setting up our pilot plant will provide not only revenues for ECCI, but also an exceptional platform to highlight our technology and the value of our company. Clearly we are focused and will establish our company throughout the conventional oil and gas business sectors, as well as the Oil Shale and Coal Bed Methane segments,” stated Royis Ward, Chairman of Ecoloclean Industries.
*According to the Railroad Commission of Texas, Texas has more than 50,000 permitted oil and gas injection and disposal wells. In 2007 there were a total of 89 injection wells, 4 surface waste disposal facilities and 64 commercial saltwater disposal wells on our records, and 36 disposal permits were issued. Information is available at http://www.rrc.state.tx.us/faqs/saltwaterwells.html
Press Release: Prime Newswire 6/24/2008 Ecoloclean Industries Sets Up Pilot Plant
Above posting is appreciated. The cleaning of O&G waste water is a noble undertaking. After cleaning, presumably the water can then be used for good purposes. However, I have always wondered what will happen to the crap and toxins that were “cleaned” from the water, and where will they go??
This should answer your questions about recycling the water:
Conversion of Oil Field Produced Brine to Fresh Water
Recycling is possible now and the cost is a little less then trucking to a disposal well but the operators are resistant. There will still be toxins that need disposal and those toxins are stronger.
devon claims they care about the environment. ha! pictures are worth a thousand words.
“(Devon) makes sure that it is a mainstay in the community,” Prendegrass said. “We are a lead sponsor in many areas around the county, and we encourage our employees to always interact with the landowners and work with them in a positive way as much as we can. Our core values as a company promote giving back to the community.”
Bridgeport May Majka told Measley that the good from the Barnett Shale outweighs the bad by far.
“Here in Bridgeport, we have city regulations that require these oil companies to keep their stuff regulated and clean,” Majka said. “To us it’s all a matter of perception. Yes, people may believe that a rig is a nasty thing to be looking at out their home window, and that it’s killing the landscape or polluting our air, but we have to look at all the things they do for us. All the jobs they bring in, how much more money is pumped into our small cities, and how they do work with us to keep things clean.”
blah, blah, blah… total load of crap!
Hell! Chesapeake is worse than Devon. There is a guy in Fort Worth will all kinds of pictures of pollution caused by Chesapeake. That’s why they have to make all these commercials and hire their own news people for their own TV station.
Suzette Watkins says
Keep up the good work on this site TXSharon. I’m not against drilling as I understand the need to be energy independent here in America. Yes, I drive a car and I heat and air condition my house. I understand this natural gas is a necessary thing for us civilized people. (However, with the way some animals (children included) are treated, I wonder if we really are civilized.) I agree, these companies can make a lot less profit and spend a lot more money doing the right things for the right reasons — drilling in a responsible manner. Too bad we the people can’t choose who we buy NG from…that way we wouldn’t need all of this gov’t intervention and real market competition would come into play. We could then only buy from the responsible operators, transporters, etc.
Keep on keeping on…your doing a fantastic job of exposing the truths! Those pictures tell the story.