From an email in SW PA in Washington County:
I wanted to let all of you know that we had a incident out here at the Stewart Compressor Station in Mt. Pleasant Township this afternoon.
Around 1:15 pm there was a loud explosion from the MarkWest Compressor Station, which is less than 1,000 yards from our home. For at least an hour and a half the sound of gas escaping from the line rattled our home. It sounded and felt like a jet engine next door. The line was releasing pure, unprocessed natural gas. Full of hydrocarbons!!! In the beginning it had a grayish, brown color. The wind was blowing strait towards my house!!! While I was in my backyard trying to film some of this I was overcome by the smell and felt very light headed.
I phoned MarkWest at their Atlasburg office to notify them of the noise. They were not aware of any problems. However, they said they would “check with production”. A second explosion went off. I called back again. They said they would call me back when they figured out what was going on. Not a safe feeling.
This sounds exactly like what happens in the Barnett Shale! Officials are completely unprepared for emergencies!
After about twenty five minutes, I received a call back from MarkWest explaining the emergency. I was told an emergency valve was releasing pressure. The compressors were shut down and the main line was being emptied. This was done to prevent an explosion. I was then told that someone would be out to check the station. I did drive over (with my video camera, of course). The MarkWest employee was sitting in his truck about 150 yards away from the pipe spraying the gas. I guess that was for his safety too.
“…main line was being emptied!? Emptied of WHAT? Was that some more of that “clean” energy that is the most powerful GHG? How many of these blow out were methane spews into the air can our planet take?
During this whole process I phoned the PA DEP and filed an emergency complaint. Over three hours have gone by, and no one from the DEP has arrived to investigate. I also filed a formal complaint with our township. The emergency personnel in this area are not capable of arriving on one of these sites and knowing what to do.
The sad part is that about three weeks ago I started calling the plant manager of the station and asked to be included in the PPC (Preparedness Prevention and Contingency) plan. That has yet to happen. After today’s incident I will call them everyday to demand we are added to the PPC plan and are automatically notified in the time of an emergency.
My biggest concern is that this compressor station is about 200 yards from the Williams Gas Refrigerated Extraction Plant. If one blows up, the other one is going to blow up.
PLEASE go to your township supervisors and demand that they add conditional-use zoning to your zoning ordinances. Our supervisors are “our voice” in local government. They need to follow the PA Constitution and protect our air and water! This is getting completely out of control.
Welcome to shale hell!
For those of you in Mt. Pleasant Twp., there is a Supervisors meeting on Wednesday, October 28th at 6:30 pm. Please go and voice your concerns about what is happening to your community. The gas drilling industry is only going to continue to grow in your area. You need to be informed and protected.