TCEQ report of Eagleridge blowout sanitized, City of Denton has eMail blowout with toxic leak

UPDATE: Also see “Gas leak now called blowout”

The Department of Sanitation:

The initial emissions report from TCEQ regarding the Eagleridge blowout in Denton has been sanitized. Thankfully Cathy McMullen copied the original report from the TCEQ website and posted it in a comment. I turned Cathy’s comment into a PDF. Here is the nutshell of the initial report:

Contaminant Authorization Limit Amount Released
Benzene 106.4 10.0 TONS/YR 59.61 lbs (est.)
Butanes 106.352(l) and 106.4 25.0 TONS/YR 11047.0 lbs (est.)
Pentanes 106.352(l) and 106.4 25.0 TONS/YR 6277.0 lbs (est.)
Propane 106.352(l) and 106.4 25.0 TONS/YR 12556.0 lbs (est.)

The new, sanitized and “Final Report,” which is a self-report submitted by Eagleridge, states, “very little, if any gas, was coming out of the well.” The last word of the final report says it all:

The total event was determined to have emitted 1,281 lbs of natural gas, which is less than the 5,000lb threshold.

If you don’t stay under that “threshold,” you might get a Clean Air Act (CAA) violation by the EPA and that is a really big deal when the neighbors want to sue so they can move out of the sacrifice zone. A CAA violation plus illegal dumping would make Eagleridge look like bad neighbors or put them in the same league as Aruba Petroleum.

One of these does not belong:

  • Eagleridge
  • Aruba Petroleum
  • Responsible operations

The Background:

Hazmat in Denton neighborhood after gas well leak
Denton Eagle Ridge fracking accident smells fishy
Eagleridge plans to strike again in Denton

Here is a home video of the blowout.

The Eagleridge self-report said, “very little, if any gas, was coming out of the well.” So, what was blowing out of that well?

a. Alka-Seltzer – “Oh what a relief…”
b. Febreze
c. Salt Water Brine as they call it these days (you know that stuff you use in your kitchen to pickle cucumbers.)
d. Methane laced with toxics, and flowback chemicals and produced water.

The video shows how important it is for regular citizens to be fracking watchdogs and document what is happening around them. It’s one of the jobs that fracking brings to communities, only you don’t get paid for it, the hours are long and your life may depend on it.

Father knows best:

The city’s handling of this has been inept. They should have called it from the beginning what it was: a blowout. They should never have released those silly statements claiming there was no danger. I understand a need to control the communications but their handling of this issue, as with many issues regarding drilling, has been patriarchal and undemocratic. They could have said, “This is what we know so far…” They could have been honest, but they weren’t. People like to be trusted with the truth, ya know, kind of like grown ups.

The blowout:

There was a blowout at the city: eMails between the City Manager and the Assistant City Manager leaked (full email chain at link). There is some toxicity and clean-up is required.

City Manager, George Campbell stressed the importance that “the city should not provide unsubstantiated responses.” He wants to receive all the questions but apparently provides no answers.

But the city did have some substantiated information, like that this was a blowout.

The Assistant Manager, John Cabrales Jr., is also concerned about releasing any unsubstantiated information. Then he states: “Below is a recap of what we know so far.” (I wish I had a follow the bouncing ball option.)

On Friday, April 19, 2013, at approximately 10:45 a.m., the City received an emergency call reporting a gas well blowout. Emergency responders from both the Denton Fire and Police Departments responded to the incident at 4554 Jim Christal Road. The well blowout occurred at EagleRidge Operating, LLC’s Smith-Yorlum 7H gas well at approximately 1:30 a.m. on April 19, 2013, according to reports from the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC). The RRC report states that immediately prior to the blowout event, the operator was circulating the hole after drilling out frac plugs when they lost control of the well. The RRC arrived at the scene in response to the incident at approximately 11 a.m. It is not known yet why there was such a long delay from the time of the blowout until the emergency call was made to 911.

The RRC and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) are both conducting an investigation into this incident. We are aware that the RRC representative met with the landowner and with EagleRidge to identify the process of cleanup between the surface location and Jim Christal Road. The RRC is monitoring the remediation that began at the site on Saturday, April 20 and is still on-going. According to the RRC, KJ Environmental will be on site this week to perform soil samples in order to determine further remediation requirements. The final RRC report is pending the outcome of the site sampling and clean-up efforts. Our understanding is that a complete report will also be submitted to RRC by EagleRidge in about 3-4 weeks.

The TCEQ has posted an initial incident report that can be found at this link: [this link is to the sanitized initial report and not the initial-initial report] According to the TCEQ, the emissions event report is the initial report to the agency. They have a total of 14 days from the incident to complete a full analysis and submit a final report. If they determine that none of the information changed from the initial report, then the initial report becomes the final report. The TCEQ drew two air samples that were sent to a lab for analysis; one canister was placed during the event and one after the site was released. The results of these air quality samples are expected to take at least four weeks to process. Once TCEQ receives all the data, they will complete the investigation report, which will include the sampling results and an evaluation of the emissions event. The estimated time frame for TCEQ to have their final report complete is the end of June.

Further analysis by the City of Denton is pending the details provided in the agency reports from RRC and TCEQ. Please contact me if you have any questions.

That’s actually quite a bit of information. I think most Denton residents are adult enough to handle that information.

The city could have and should have been more forthcoming and honest with communications about this blowout. Next time, and there will be a next time, no one will trust the city.


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.