The Department of Environmental Protection has issued a violation to Jay-Bee Oil and Gas in connection with a Jan. 2 incident at the Lisby Pad located on Big Run, Tyler County.
Last week it was reported by the Cairo, W.Va.,-based Jay-Bee Oil and Gas that the spill was contained within a dike system at the pad and cleanup was underway by a full fracking crew.
Upon further investigation by the DEP, they found there was imminent danger by causing a fresh water supply to be lost or contaminated. The contamination is a result of a tank explosion that caused a black sludge to flood the area around the well pad site. The site is approximately six miles southeast of Middlebourne and about three miles from state Route 18, via Indian Creek Road.
Investigators believe the explosion occurred as vapors formed from the fluids inside the tank and somehow ignited, possibly from static electricity. The ignition and blast dislodged a large tank from its foundation, causing the spill. Most of the fluid remained in a dike area of the tanks and inspectors found no fluids in the nearby stream. More testing will be done as the investigation continues.
In addition to the citation, regulators have suspended the company from operating at the Lisby Pad. It is unsure as to when the company will be able to restart operations there.
Jay-Bee must now abate all of the pollution and submit a report to the DEP by Jan. 14. The report must show the company's ability to safely resume operations and give an explanation of what caused the tank to rupture and explode. They must also show what steps the company will take to prevent further and similar problems.
Other conditions of the citation require the company to submit proposals for soil and surface water sampling and a remediation plan. They are also required to submit to the DEP a best management practices plan for flow-back tank systems at all of its operations in West Virginia.
DEP records show Jay-Bee had two other violations in Tyler County in June 2013, one which involved fracking water which had been withdrawn. Both of these violations were resolved.
A company spokesperson said the company is doing what they need to do, in regards to the cleanup. It is believed that over 50 barrels of fluid were in the tank at the time of the explosion. An employee of Baker Hughes who was on site during fracking operations was injured as a result of the explosion. According to Jay-Bee Oil and Gas, the worker sustained a broken ankle and was released by the hospital a few days later.