Huge Fracking Leak Forced Evacuation in US City

Officials in Arlington, Texas, take Vantage Energy to task
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2015 5:07 PM CDT
Huge Fracking Leak Forced Evacuation of Homes
A worker oils a pump during a hydraulic fracturing operation.   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

A massive leak of fracking fluid poured into the streets of Arlington, Texas, two months ago and forced the evacuation of a hundred homes. Now city officials have taken Vantage Energy to task for its "unacceptable" handling of the 43,000-gallon spill, WFAA reports. During a city council meeting yesterday, it emerged that Vantage had taken nearly two hours to call 911 despite the risk of a gas leak. "This is unacceptable behavior," says an Arlington city council member. According to Fire Chief Don Crowson, the two-hour delay was no joke: "We’re not kidding around about the 911 issue," he tells the Star-Telegram during a break in city council. "It could have ended in a bad outcome. Two hours’ advance notice could have helped a lot."

Still, officials say the environmental damage was not extensive and Vantage has been cooperative. So what happened, exactly? According to the city's report, a Vantage well site sprung a leak on April 11, which allowed fracking water and chemicals to boil up into Arlington's streets, storm sewers, and streams. Because the fracking fluid had been fracturing shale and freeing gas under high pressure, natural gas could have leaked at any time. Now WFAA says a 1,500-gallon spill occurred at the same location a month before, and NBC-Dallas/Fort Worth reports that the site is close to reopening. "I just assumed this was a residential area and it would be free from industrial hazardous operations," says a resident after hearing about the earlier spill. "Now we see it's not." (More fracking stories.)

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