At the April 10 meeting of the Tyler County Local Emergency Planning Committee Office of Emergency Management Director Tom Cooper reported about an informational visit to a gas well site.
He and Don Collins made a visit to the Shirley 1 well site along with Jason Maisey, Middlebourne's fire chief; Gary Patterson, deputy chief for Alma; and Jimmy Wade, chief from the Shirley Volunteer Fire Department, were escorted by three representatives of Noble Energy, owner of the site. Cooper said it is a really nice operation located past Conaway Run Lake off state Route 18.
Cooper also spoke about the Jay-Bee Lisby site. "They have hired a new safety man," he noted. "We've been working together and they are improving." He said they have done some work on their ventilation. They have used PVC pipe to join the six tanks together with a riser in the center. Community activist Bill Hughes said this should be temporary and the compressor setting on the pad adjacent to it is needed to suck the fumes off to recompress the gas because they can't put that gas into their sales lines.
He said there are still fumes being vented as of April 9 that he could smell in a couple places. Hughes said it has reduced. "There been some released every day and I presume it's less. It's just that I have no way as a casual observer to determine volume," said Hughes.
Cooper said they are working on things and the new safety director is aggressively pursuing these issues. "The company seems to be supporting him on it," noted Cooper. "It is getting better."
LEPC Chairman Pat Walsh asked if any progress is being made with CriPos (critical possession), or a computer data base of information, often of an inventory nature. Cooper said he has been working with Ramzi Nassar from REPS INC. on this and he is working on it right now.
"Our master data base is CriPos and we want to add well sites to it, so we can bring everything up on our iPads," said Cooper. "We want a page for each well site." He said we would be able to look at the chemicals on the site and all the things that are on their permits. "If we have an incident we would like for our first responders to be able to bring out the iPad, click on the site, and there would be all the information available for that site," said Cooper. "That's our goal and Ramzi's actually developing that right now."
Cooper said the Tyler County Commission had given the LEPC $2,000 last year to put towards the CriPos. "The commission put that money in to help improve that project. That money is not LEPC money, it is actually money out of my budget," noted Cooper.
He added that Ramzi is having a hard time receiving the data he needs to put it together because the state is slow in getting it to him. He is still waiting on data from 2013. Cooper said the state is behind because of the emergencies and everything going on in Charleston and their disaster. "So we're waiting on the state emergency response council to give us our Tier II data, so it can be added to our data base," he continued.
Copper said the state is under staffed and there is one person down in Charleston who does most all of the LEPC and she was also working on the disaster in Charleston. He said there just aren't enough people down there to pull this all together.
Al Tuttle said he thought we should already have the Tier II information. Cooper said, "Technically we should, but were talking about a bunch of stuff." He mentioned Monentive's is about 250 pages. He said there would be a lot of work there if they decided to put it all together themselves.
Tuttle said the LEPC is supposed to receive the emergency site safety plans for all the well sites when the permit is submitted. He felt it might be something that should go into the CriPos.
There was discussion on well sites and the amount of wells that can be placed on one pad. It was mentioned that as many as 18 wells can be placed on one pad. They are around 16 feet apart, but with all the equipment being used it seems as though they are right on top of each other.
Cooper next spoke about the upcoming preparedness class he is preparing. He said his office has been covered up and everything is in slow motion. He is searching for speakers who are experts in their field that will come in and talk about different pieces of preparedness. He wants to follow FEMA guidelines in general. He said it would be well organized and offer information to prepare various groups: individuals, families, businesses, etc.
Kits would be handed out, lunch will be served, and it will be a day-long event. No date has yet been set. It will be well published in the local papers and they are hoping for a large turnout.
Cooper also mentioned the one problem he wants his office and the LEPC to get more Involved in and that is substance abuse. He said it is a problem that is literally taking the lives of children and families. He said people are using up the county resources by calling for emergency vehicles, drug busts and overdoses are all draining the county.
Superintendent of School Robin Daquilante said most all the expulsions in the school are from drugs, mostly pills. She said we are fortunate not to have had any fatalities at the school from drugs. Mitch Corley, the school resource officer, agreed that it is a big problem. He said 80-95 percent of the crime in Tyler County is drug related. Cooper said he was going to start working more closely with the schools and Mitch, as well as direct more funding toward the issue. He sees it as a major problem tied in directly with terrorism.
There was also discussion concerning the protection of citizens who happen to be the first at an accident involving chemicals or any other hazard. It was mentioned about the protective equipment people should wear and they should stay away as soon as the first responders arrive.
Cooper mentioned he had received an application from Alex King for membership and noted King would like to be on the committee to represent the citizens. He said he would present it to the Tyler County Commission for approval.
Tri-Ad Hunter was the sponsor for the meeting's breakfast.
The next regular meeting will be held on May 8, 9 a.m., at the Sistersville Fire Hall. The public is invited to attend.