Residents evacuated after wellhead leak in Mt. Pleasant

May 14, 2014

A small leak coming from a producing natural gas well in Mt. Pleasant Township prompted a brief evacuation of about 35 residents from their homes near the site Wednesday morning, a state Department of Environmental Protection spokesman said.

Emergency crews were notified at 7:14 a.m. of leaking methane from the producing vertical well on the Herman pad at 6 Snedeker Lane and issued the evacuation order 10 minutes later, DEP spokesman John Poister said.

The residents were taken to the Mt. Pleasant Township Volunteer Fire Department in Hickory, and returned to their homes shortly before 9 a.m., Poister said.

The leak at the well, operated by Range Resources, was brought under control quickly, Poister said, and there was no major danger to the public. A DEP inspector was at the site during the leak and took air samples to investigate if the environment was affected, he said.

“I think it was more precautionary than anything else,” Poister said. “It doesn’t appear, from our inspectors, that there was any major danger. But any time you have an uncontrolled leak, you want to get it under control as quickly as you can.”

Range Resources spokesman Matt Pitzarella said the Herman well was drilled in 2009 and was producing at the time of the leak. He said the company inspected the well Tuesday and found no problems. Pitzarella added workers took the well out of production Wednesday morning and will dismantle the equipment as they investigate what caused the leak.

Read more details in tomorrow’s Observer-Reporter.

Mike Jones has been a news reporter since 2005, covering crime, state and municipal government, education and energy. In addition to working at the Observer-Reporter, he also has spent time at the Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail and He holds a journalism degree from West Virginia University.

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