Frack fluid spill, Buckeye Creek, Doddridge County, West Virginia

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Buckeye Creek

In late August the pit holding fracture flowback “water” for natural gas well 47-017-05815 was breached near Sherwood in Doddridge County (the north central part of the state). The pit was constructed within feet of Buckeye Creek (the state has no requirement for a minimum distance between ground or surface water for pits — see our Pits post) so the “water,” at least 2500 gallons, went into the creek.

The red gelled liquid has had a negative effect on wildlife. People were told “it was ‘just oil’ and hadn’t killed any fish and okay to be in” — kids swim and play in the Creek. Already, before the spill, a decline in fish and mussels had been noted by residents and some of the fish had raised nodules on the skin.

Buckeye Creek was a good place to fish for bass and muskie. The contamination is plainly visible from fracture flowback chemicals and formation material (the color may be due to high iron) from a Marcellus well.

Gels are created by chemicals which can include diesel fuel or ethylene glycol, neither of which is good to swim in.

A similar fracture gel release in Pennsylvania caused a fish kill.

A high chloride concentration is a feature of fracture flowback but we don’t think chloride killed this muskrat near its den.

High chloride will kill fish and other aquatic organisms.

Two ducks were unable to fly.

Louanne (who furnished these photos and information) has a letter she wrote to Governor Manchin available online. The last I’ve heard, the gunk has been skimmed from the Creek but is lying in piles beside the Creek.


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