Two Separate Explosions ~ Utica Shale Pad in Ohio & Fairmont Brine Processing in WV

by Duane Nichols on June 4, 2023

Highly corrosive brine (residual) wastewater processing facility on Mon River in Fairmont

Well pad explosion rattles windows for miles, no injuries

From an Article of Your Radio Place in Ohio, June 1, 2023

LORE CITY, Ohio–Members of three area fire companies responded to the report of an oil and gas well pad explosion Thursday morning.

Around 10 am Thursday, a explosion was reported at a Utica Resources drilling site on Leatherwood Road (SR 265) near the intersection of Salem Road, located east of Lore City.

According to local fire officials, a storage tank on the site exploded for reasons yet to be determined. The blast was reported by residents nearly 15 miles away.

Members of Lore City, Old Washington and Quaker City Fire Departments responded, and per protocol, staged at the entrance to the pad site. Following the explosion, a small fire was extinguished and situation was quickly brought under control by drilling company personnel on scene.

One worker, close to the blast received minor injuries and was evaluated by Old Washington EMS personnel. The worker refused treatment.

There was no report of nearby property damage and the incident is under investigation by the ODNR, well drilling company personnel and local fire officials.


WV-DEP: Testing after Fairmont explosion showed no signs of contamination

Articles by C. Allan, WBOY News 12, Posted: May 30, 2023, Updated: May 31, 2023, UPDATE: 5/31/2023, 1:14 p.m.

FAIRMONT, W.Va. (WBOY) — Officials with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) are still assessing the site of a fire that happened at the Fairmont Brine Plant on Tuesday.

According to an update sent to 12 News by a DEP representative early Wednesday afternoon, testing performed by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources on Tuesday showed that no first responders showed any signs of contamination. “No testing showed above background readings on their bodies,” said a DEP representative.

The representative also said that when the fire was extinguished around 4 p.m. on Tuesday, DEP staff did not see evidence of material or firefighting water leaving the site.

Crews from the DEP, Fairmont Brine Plant and Environmental Protection Agency are currently on site conducting an updated assessment.

UPDATE: 5/30/2023, 7:01 p.m.

FAIRMONT, W.Va. (WBOY) — After previous reports that no evacuation was needed after an explosion at a brine plant in Fairmont on Tuesday, officials from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) are now at the site testing for radioactive material.

According to the Marion County Homeland Security & Emergency Management Facebook page, DEP is at the Fairmont Brine Plant on AFR Drive performing various sampling tests of the air and ground. The post said that the operations are contained to the immediate affected area.

The Winfield VFD, Valley VFD, MCRS, Bunner Ridge VFD, Rivesville VFD, Barrackville VFD, Marion County Sheriff, Marion DHSEM, WV DEP, and Mon County Hazardous Response Team all responded.

ORIGINAL: 5/30/2023, 2:59 p.m.

FAIRMONT, W.Va. (WBOY) — A representative with the Department of Environmental Protection has been called following an explosion in Fairmont.

According to the Marion County 911 Communications Center, an explosion was reported at 1:53 p.m. Tuesday at the old brine processing plant on AFR Drive in Fairmont.

When crews arrived on the scene, they reported back that there were no injuries and determined it was not necessary to evacuate the area due to potential chemical leaks resulting from the reported explosion, comm center officials said.

At this time, the Department of Environmental Protection has been notified of the incident and is sending a representative to the scene, according to the comm center.

At the scene were the Winfield, Valley, Rivesville, Barrackville and Bunner Ridge fire departments, also on the scene is the Marion County Rescue Squad as a precaution, comm center officials said.

The Winfield District Volunteer Fire Department is the lead at the scene, according to the comm center. Currently, the crews on scene are following precautionary direction and instruction per the Department of Environmental Protection.


TIMELINE for Fairmont Brine Processing

> 2009 – Facility was constructed under previous ownership
> Q4 2009 – Venture Engineering & Construction, Inc. (“Venture”) hired by previous ownership to manage construction and commissioning
> Late 2009 – Operations begin (3,500 bbl/day facility)

2010 – Facility encounters increasing and severe metallurgical issues ~ Facility shuts down due to improper materials of construction and process issues

2012 – Facility is acquired by Fairmont Brine Processing, LLC (“FBP”) ~ Venture is hired to redevelop the facility as a 4,000 bbl/day plant

2013 – Pretreatment operations commence

July 1, 2014 – Evaporation & Crystallization process operations commence

October 1, 2014 – Sold 100% of the plant capacity under two take or pay contracts (4,000 bbls /day) through end of 2016.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

MDN ~ May 2017 June 5, 2023 at 9:19 am

Exclusive: What’s Going on with Fairmont Brine?

RE: Energy Services, Fairmont Brine Processing, Marion County, West Virginia, May 9, 2017

Last week MDN was contacted by a vendor working in the oil and gas business who is owed money by Fairmont Brine. The vendor’s question to MDN: What have you heard about Fairmont? Are they heading for bankruptcy?

We’ve had our eye on Fairmont Brine Processing, headquartered in Fairmont, WV, for a number of years. We originally started writing about the company in 2010 when it was AOP Clearwater (see AOP Clearwater Plant in WV a Big Success in Treating Marcellus Shale Wastewater).

New owners expanded the operation in 2014 (see New Brine Processing Plant Coming to Panhandle of WV).

In early 2016, Fairmont secured a $90 million line of credit to build a new wastewater processing plant in southwest PA (see Fairmont Brine Gets $90M to Build New Wastewater Recycling Plant).

And in November, we spotted the company’s name in a major Bloomberg article about Oklahoma earthquakes and how the company can help solve the problem (see WV Wastewater Co Grabs Nat’l Headlines re OK Earthquakes).

We told our inquiring vendor we had not heard anything lately about Fairmont. The vendor said he’s not been paid for many months, and sent us copies of letters from the company stating the company is in a cash flow pinch and could not “fulfill its obligations at this time.”

So MDN contacted Fairmont’s law firm, the venerable Babst Calland, to find out what’s going on. Here’s what what we found ….. (subscription needed)


Bill Robinson June 5, 2023 at 9:26 am

One business settles in illegal radioactive waste dumping

>>> From an Article by Bill Robinson, Richmond Register, April 14, 2017

A Pittsburgh, Pa., company has reached a settlement with the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services in connection with the disposal of radioactive waste at the Blue Ridge Landfill in Estill County.

While denying liability, Fairmont Brine has agreed to pay a $168,000 civil penalty over a 30-month period, the CHFS announced Friday. The business had appealed a fine of more than $1 million the state imposed Nov. 10.

Fairmont Brine was one of several businesses penalized after more than 1,000 tons of low-level radioactive waste from West Virginia fracking wells were dumped illegally at the landfill near Irvine from July 2015 until January 2016.

The waste is called TENORM, technologically enhanced, naturally occuring radioactive material.

“All settlement proceeds will be directed to the Estill County Health Department,” CHFS Secretary Vickie Yates Brown Glisson said. “The funds will be used for radiation-related public health issues in Estill County, particularly radon education and detection.”

Fairmont Brine, which operates a wastewater treatment facility in West Virginia, contracted with Advanced TENORM Services of West Liberty, Ky., for the pickup, transportation, treatment and disposal of its waste. Some of the waste contained TENORM and ended up at the Blue Ridge Landfill, according to CHFS.

Fairmont Brine maintained it did not intentionally violate the law and cooperated with Kentucky authorities, CHFS noted. When it contracted with Advanced TENORM for waste disposal, Fairmont relied on the West Liberty firm’s claims it could safely and legally deposit TENORM waste in Kentucky.

Although it did not have jurisdiction over Kentucky disposal, a West Virginia regulatory authority approved Fairmont Brine’s arrangement with Advanced TENORM, according to CHFS.

Before CHFS issued civil penalties, Fairmont Brine contacted CHFS to inquire about Advanced TENORM disposal of of the waste. Fairmont Brine also helped CHFS establish the timeline of events leading up to the illegal disposal, according to a CHFS news release.

Monitoring and testing of areas at the Blue Ridge Landfill have shown no evidence that the TENORM disposal caused radiation or radioactive contamination above federal and state safety limits, the CHFS release added.

In addition, preliminary dose assessments on landfill workers indicate that the workers are not at risk for any negative health outcomes.

Advanced TENORM Services and its owner Cory Hoskins were each fined $2.65 million in the case. Both have filed for bankruptcy, but CHFS has asked a federal court not to allow Hoskins to escape the fine via bankruptcy.

Others penalized in the case include: Mountain States Environmental of Lancaster, Ohio, ($615,000); L.R. Daniels Transportation Inc. of Ashland ($612,000); Pressure Technology of Norwich, Ohio ($338,000); Nuverra Environmental Solution of Scottsdale, Ariz., ($143,000); E&R Energy, LLC of Norwich, Ohio, ($140,000); and Cambrian Wells Services of Norwich, Ohio ($30,000).


SkyTruth Entry June 5, 2023 at 9:28 pm

NRC Report: Radioactive Material near Fairmont, WV

SkyTruth Id: 63dd8520-2b33-16d4-eecf-be8273706928sub48fde31f-eeb3-5d57-07f6-a3cd504a022a
Source: Click here 1368668
Date/Time: 2023 May 30 / 4:15 pm
Lat/Lng: 39.50858/-80.12559
Tags: ['NRC', 'other', 'release']

Report Details ~ NRC Report ID: 1368668
Incident Time: 2023-05-30 16:15:00
Nearest City: Fairmont, WV
Location: 168 AFR DRIVE
Incident Type: FIXED
Medium Affected: UNKNOWN

SkyTruth Analysis
Lat/Long: 39.508579, -80.125595 (Approximated from street_address)




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