What is Chesapeake doing at this Barnett Shale gas well in Arlington, Texas?


I don’t know what’s going on here but I do know it has rained some the past couple of days, but not nearly this much.

I haven’t been to Arlington today because I’m enjoying my new wood stove. But, I have talked with three people who live in Arlington and they all said it’s been drizzling today but no heavy rain and no standing water.

This is the Fulson/Forks/West Wing Pad Site located at 5720 S. Hwy. 360, Arlington, TX, and operated by Chesapeake Energy. I can’t even count the number of complaints I have received from Arlington residents last week and this week. Arlington stinks and suddenly the residents are waking up to face the fact that the Big Gas Mafia has taken over their town.

Today Chesapeake is conducting flowback operations at this site. But, the residents don’t know this because the Gas Drilling/Planning & Development Director responded to their email queries. They know this because the flowback operator on the site told them. And he also told them not to worry about that “putrid” smell that causes “headache, dizziness, chest tightening, sore throat, burning eyes” and etc. because…


…according to the flowback operator, is only water vapor.

According to an Arlington resident:

I can tell you from standing right there that it was the most foul smelling disgusting odor and gave me a headache and tightness in my chest.

BTW, several weeks ago a woman contacted me because her 38 year-old husband had just died from brain cancer and lymphoma. He was a flowback operator. And, the company her husband worked for did not provide health insurance and has offered her no assistance in paying for the massive medical bills.

So, anyway, here’s what happened when a resident stopped by this site [with my smarty pants comments in brackets]:

When I inquired about the flooding, the Chesapeake employee said that someone would come and open the hatch to let the water flow out.  (In my mind I was thinking, good lord!) [yeah, me too!] I questioned him wanting to know where it goes, but he didn’t know [Whaaaa?].  I asked if that water is tested since it may contain fracking chemicals or produced water, or other hazardous substances, and he said it would be checked for an oily sheen and that ‘they'[meaning Chesapeake] test for everything [feel safer?].  He did not know ‘who’ performs the testing, or ‘what’ specifically is being tested for.  My guess is not much. [You catch on quick.]
Then while discussing the white vaporous clouds which flow out from those [flowback] tanks, he indicated to me that it is just water vapor, and no chemicals.  Gee, that sounds like something one of very own Arlington City Councilmen would say [Oh, let me guess: Mel Leblanc]. I asked if they would flare or vent and he said neither.  He said if it vents, they shut it in. [I doubt that] Later that day when getting those photos, I can tell you that it was not just water vapor but something very dangerous and foul smelling.    When I mentioned that many residents in the area are having health effects from this activity in their neighborhoods, he denied that possibility because he lives 1/2 mile from that pad site and his health is just fine.  In fact, he just had his physical and everything is good. [That’s because he had his inoculation.]  When I asked if the lab did a BTEX he didn’t even know what I was talking about but said they checked for a whole bunch of stuff.

I don’t know what Chesapeake is doing in Arlington but I know they read my blog everyday and sometimes they make comments so maybe they will tell us. I also know that Arlington is finally getting clued in to what life in the Gas Patch is like. When a “treehugger” like me gets emails from people with tag lines that profess they are a patriot, you are losing your base and those–as you like to say–with a “self-interest.”

UPDATE: Actual sign from fracking operation. Thanks for the reminder in the comments.

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.


  1. Kim Feil says

    WTF is that hatch? Does that go to our storm drainage? Tonight I was in north Arlington near the Rolling Hills drill site and smelled a really strong sweet smell…hope it wasn’t BenZene.

  2. Anonomous says

    Same ‘ole sh**. The RRC brags about WAAAAATER VAAAAAPORS. Also the Big Gas Mafia also uses the term.
    You need to know that all kinds of toxins, (such as some VOC’s) such as H2S are readily dissolved in water and water vapors. It’s a classis way to emit toxins to the air without anybody knowing the difference. Also nearly all measurement meters will not measure these toxins that are dissolved in water vapors.

  3. Louis McBee says

    Thanks for the post, but it is just “more” evidence that will be ignored. Even with that overwhelming evidence they will continue down this path to ultimate destruction as long as the temporary satisfaction of a little money prevails over common sense. But…we keep plugging (no pun intended) don’t we.

    By the by, are you aware of any conprehensive listing of water contamination cases nationwide?

    • says

      That’s a good question. I know that Amy Mall was keeping score on her blog but it was only cases that we learned about that were directly linked to fracking and it did not include all the spills and other stuff. I’ll ask around.

      I’m just glad that more people in Arlington are finally speaking up.

      BTW, I was in Fort Worth on Monday and it made me cry to see what they’ve done. I love Fort Worth but they have just about ruined it.

  4. Tim Ruggiero says

    I have no doubt that there is some ‘water vapor’ here, but operations and equipment that produce ‘water vapor’ don’t usually come with a warning label on the equipment that DANGEROUS VAPORS EXIST THAT COULD BE FATAL. I recall a gashole telling me the same thing one time, that it was just water vapor, nothing to worry about. “Then why the warning label?” “Oh, that’s just because we sometimes use these tanks for…other purposes.”

  5. Shelly says

    Yeah…I wonder what is causing that smell. Now that the walls are coming down…hopefully more people will report these odors and even call the fire department.

    • Suma Girl says

      Shelly, I hope you guys are reporting these odors to TCEQ at (817) 588-5800 or (888) 777-3186 after hours. You can also call The EPA Eyes on Drilling at (877) 919-4372. Document, Document, Document. Don’t be discouraged at some of the TCEQ reports which will read, “No Violations Found”. Be persistent and very observant. Take time/date stamped photos and videos. Neighbors can also chip in from their royalty money checks to conduct independent air samplings.

      • Ghost says

        The TCEQ is a joke, and nearly as much a part of the problem as these shoddy, highly dangerous practices. There is virtually nothing that one can do that will cause the TCEQ to adequately do its job.

        Documenting and recording as much as possible is a fantastic idea, but the TCEQ is not the place to take your findings, the media is. The only way to get action is to get people to see what is going on. When they see it happening in their backyard, then maybe the outrage and outcry will be big enough for the TCEQ to start acting like an almost partly half decent regulatory body.

  6. Jane says

    Pure water vapor is odorless. Chesapeake loves telling us that everying that is emitted off their pad sites has no odor – from the venting gases of malfunctioning valves to the white vaporous clouds which flow off those tanks and disperse into our airshed during flowback. How do they get away with such outrageous claims? Perhaps they think if they tell the public that lie over and over again, that we might actually believe it. Really, big boy, do you really think we are that stupid?

  7. Jerry Pikulinski says

    I think it is stupid from a business perspective for Chesapeake to “stonewall” the public on these issues. We need to identify the technology needed to contain, if not solve, these yet undefined problems. The mayor and council have been bought and paid for through the funds stashed in the Arlington Tomorrow Fund. The public is not benefitting from the Chesapeake payments, but they do warm the hearts of the politicians who are protecting Chesapeake. Our best approach to addressing these problems is to talk business sense and make the elected officials our advocates or change them out.

    • A Nonny Mouse says

      They will never let you know what the technology is because it’s all too haphazard and horrifying.

      So far the mayor and council have ignored business sense and common sense. I think the only sense they recognize is dollars and cents.

  8. Westchester Neighbor says

    @Jerry Pikulinski: Wouldn’t that be great? That we could make the elected officials our “advocates.” Seems they have had a lot of time to make that U-Turn. Better to just look at changing them out. They seem unable to speak up for themselves or to this issue at all. Not protecting the citizens is a sure-fire way to be thrown out of office. Politics. They may have given it a bad name, but it’s the only way we can get all of this changed. Praying.

  9. Robin Mains says

    I hate gas drilling!!!! Especially in cities, where massive numbers of people are getting exposed regularly to toxins via air, water, etc.! And our food supply is being tainted as well. When will our politicians get it? The gas companies lie, lie, lie, and make you think protestors are nuts! Meanwhile people’s (including politicians’) lives are being ruined and destroyed. So incredibly stupid, unnecessary and….virtually UNREGULATED!