Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Another pipeline leak because of corrosion in Wise County

Another leak from a pipeline caused by corrosion. This time Devon acknowledges that the pipe leaked and fixed the problem. That hasn't always been the case.

"The pipe that runs across Mr. Mitchell's land developed a very small hole - a hole large enough to put a toothpick through," said Chip Minty, media relations manager with Devon Energy Corp. "Under pressure, enough gas leaked through from that size of hole to make itself obvious."Minty said the hole was caused by corrosion by bacteria.

"Bacteria can settle in a pipe and create corrosion, so we're analyzing that bacteria so we can treat that pipeline and address that type of bacteria so we don't have that type of corrosion problem again," Minty said.Along with replacing the pipe, Devon removed two barrels of liquid and replaced the contaminated soil.

"There were about two barrels of liquids - whether that was water or some other natural gas liquids, we're not sure. We dug up all of the soil that has been in contact with the liquids and carried it away from the site," Minty said. "We're going to analyze all of the soil and liquids to see if any remediation is necessary."

Mr. Mitchell grows trees on his land for business and since 2001, trees have been dying. Last year Devon came out and tested the soil and found the the soil had heavy condensate or weathered gasoline but claimed it couldn't be because of a spill or leak from their activity.

In 2007, Devon tested the soil and found that the "soil contains what appears to be a heavy condensate or weathered gasoline.""We did find an area in his property where there was evidence of hydrocarbons that had been spilled or leaked onto his land, but those weren't attributable to a natural gas pipeline based on what we found in working with the Texas Railroad Commission. That leak wouldn't have been caused by a pipeline," Minty said. "We take our relationships with our landowners seriously. We've been to his property a number of times. We haven't found any evidence that our operations would cause damage to his property. We haven't found anywhere where there's damage that we can attribute to our pipeline.

Really? How else would gasoline show up on his property? If Devon had taken responsibility the first time Mr Mitchell complained, the recent problem could of been avoided. It is time for gas drilling companies to be accountable and more honest about what chemicals they are using during drilling and fracking. Spend more time and some of that profit money researching how to do it right.

"Darin hired an independent company to test the soil in July 2008, and the company also found evidence of gas in the soil on his property. But Darin said that he has never dumped or had anything leak any kind of gas in the area.
The issue is a stressful one for Darin and his father, who have spent their careers in the nursery business. Both said they have never seen trees die like this before they began planting on this land. "It's frustrating," Darin said. "Why spend money to maintain a tree farm when everything keeps dying. It's disheartening, and I can't get any help."

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