No fines or charges for hydrochloric acid spills | Local News
FAIRMONT — No charges have been filed and no fines have been filed in connection with Wednesday’s hydrochloric acid spill near Farmington.
The matter is still under investigation, according to Terry Fletcher, public information officer for the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.
“WVDEP did not observe any material entering state waters, and no material was detected in state waters,” Fletcher said in an email exchange. “The incident is still under review and no enforcement action has been taken at this time.”
Fletcher said “about 1,758 gallons of material spilled” onto US 250 North near the Pine Grove Bridge from a truck carrying toxic acid used in the fracking process.
“According to information received from first-hand accounts, there were no sinkings or incidents of any kind. The driver noticed a leak from the tank and pulled over,” Fletcher said. vacuum was used to salvage all possible material and a cleanup contractor was on site to dig up the impacted soil and treat it with an acid neutralizer A trench was dug to avoid impacts to the local watershed and collect any material in case of rain.
Fletcher said DEP officials who visited the site Wednesday afternoon reported no visible impacts to waterways near the leak.
Marion County Sheriff Jimmy Riffle said the sheriff’s office was called to reroute traffic to allow volunteer firefighters and other emergency service crews to access the site. He said all the families who had been evacuated on Wednesday night had returned home by Thursday morning.
Riffle said he did not have the number of homes evacuated.
“When they determined an evacuation was necessary, they drew a boundary line from the spill and everyone within that boundary was evacuated,” Riffle said. “Everything was done very carefully to make sure everyone was safe.”
Riffle said all of the agencies that responded Wednesday worked together to protect the area and nearby residents.
“Even though it was an inconvenience, everything went well and luckily there were alternative routes to take to get people home,” he said.
Hydrochloric acid is used to clean scale, rust and other debris from frac pits through a process called acid washing, according to the American Petroleum Institute.
Drillers pump thousands of gallons of water mixed with acid into a well after drilling the natural gas well. The goal is to remove any remaining debris from the drilling stage and loosen shale fractures underground.
Hydrochloric acid is corrosive to eyes, skin and mucous membranes, according to the National Library of Medicine. Inhalation or short-term exposure to the toxin can cause irritation and inflammation of the eyes, nose and respiratory tract and pulmonary edema in humans.
Contact Eric Cravey at 304-367-2523.