Fire is Out, What About the Mess?

The two natural gas wells that blew out on August 29th have been killed by the operator GEP. They will be plugged, then the operator’s attention will turn to the clean-up of the site.

Patrick Courreges of the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources said, “The last well was killed yesterday.  The other one was killed over the weekend.  Two other wells nearby had been capped a couple of weeks ago.”  He added, “They stopped the flow of natural gas and water by pumping in heavy mud.  New well heads were installed to control both wells.”

The wells will be permanently plugged.  Courreges said, “The interceptor wells will not be drilled.  That was ‘Plan B’ in the event they did not control the wells at the surface.  It was not needed.”

Courreges explained, “Super concentrated brine flowed with the gas from the well.  The operator will be responsible for cleaning up the site. I expect a pretty bad die off of vegetation around the site.”  He added, “Normally this water is sent to disposal sites where it is injected deep into the earth.  They haven’t found a way to treat or reuse that waste water.”

In the photo with this article the die-off of trees near the site is already beginning.  The photo was taken this past weekend.

The Department of Natural Resources and State Police will investigate how the fire started and what caused the blowout.  The Department of Environment Quality will oversee cleanup of the site by the operator.

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