Lies, Damned Lies and Things Oklahoma Gas Men Tell You

by admin on September 12, 2010

When they told us they were on Jeter Road to stay, this is what Williams listed in their fact sheet for Jeter Road —

  • 18 tanks with a steel tank skirt
  • VOC emissions control on tank battery
  • two pipeline compressors
  • two gas-lift compressors
  • metering facilities

The fact sheet writers encouraged the neighborhood to look forward to the day when the equipment would be wrapped in designer barns and the landscape, now decimated, restored with native beauty.

We see all the “produced water” tanks back there, just spitting distance from Whites Branch, which flooded on Wednesday. We sincerely hope that tank skirt held up.

The frack tanks (nasty things, we count at least six below) are as far away from the flood plain as possible – that’s good, except when considering that puts them right next to the homes of two families.

Frack tanks  — which are there to collect toxic waste – are not on the list, by the way. What is being collected there? We don’t know. Frequently, at other sites, when a frack tank springs a leak, operators have to notify state health services and call in the big boys, because they have to clean up NORM. Radium-226 and radium-228 are the two most common radioactive elements to travel up gas and oil wells. As they decay, they emit radon gas, the second-leading cause of lung cancer.

And what is all this other equipment going in?

It’s starting to look a lot like the natural gas processing plant Williams has in Flower Mound, where Picarro measured a methane plume greater than 40 parts-per-million.  (Poor Picarro, their nifty mobile gear doesn’t measure concentrations greater than that).

In sunlight, methane breaks down into formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.

Here is glamour shot number one.

Probably a separator – again, not on the list of what Williams said would go on Jeter Road. Flash emissions from a separator are vented directly into the atmosphere – benzene, toluene, xylene — the kinds of toxic compounds showing up in the blood of Dish residents.

Here is glamour shot number two.

This could be a glycol dehydrator – another item not on the list. This is old technology — it even looks used. Natural gas operators have known for more than 15 years that desiccant dehydrators are the way to go.

Poor Valerus. Do they know Williams installed their equipment a few hundred feet from a child’s bedroom window?

Smarter people than all of us at ABCAlliance (and we’re pretty darn smart) point to that tall cooling tower and caution us that it could be an amine treater or other kind of reboiler.

Nowhere on the TCEQ’s new inventory has the agency counted an amine treater in the Barnett Shale. So, if we’ve got one, we’re really special. TCEQ has even denied there is an amine treater in Dish, although Dish officials dispute that.

That kind of treater means the raw gas has too many inert constituents – like carbon dioxide or hydrogen sulfide – to go into the pipeline. Now, where have we heard about H2S in our community before?

Either way – glycol or amine — that’ll be some foul-smelling, brain-melting stuff.

Here’s a fun fact from Wikipedia: most of the 64,000,000 metric tons of sulfur produced worldwide in 2005 was byproduct sulfur from refineries and other hydrocarbon processing plants.

Now if Williams is doing anything with hydrogen sulfide gas, the Argyle Town Council, in a peculiar gesture as they “approved” the pipeline plan earlier this year, said the company has to shut it all down.

Over here at ABCAlliance, we’re not getting too excited about that provision. This is the same group of people who have rolled out the plushiest, cherry-on-top red carpet for Williams.

Williams and its “public utility” Mockingbird Pipeline didn’t tell the community what they are doing over there on Jeter Road and they never will. And the people who collect our taxes, paid in good faith that everyone gets equal protection under the law, do not care — not the Texas Railroad Commission, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Denton County and especially not the Argyle Town Council.

Sins of omission are the worst kind.

Bob M September 12, 2010 at 4:22 am

This is horrifying. Someone needs to help us here. These people are destroying our community and no one seems to care.

Runner Susan September 12, 2010 at 11:15 am

I rode my bike by there yesterday and it smelled bad – a really strong sweet gas smell. Around 9 AM I called TCEQ and I called the Argyle Fire Marshall. TCEQ called me back (close to 6 PM) and told me what I was smelling had nothing to do with the monstrosity above, what I smelled was only decomposing tree roots.

Decomposing. Tree. Roots.

I never received a call back from the Argyle Fire Marshall.

Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe September 12, 2010 at 2:04 pm

I was at the Argyle Town Council meeting to cover another story when this project was spawned. The way it came together made the hair on the back of my neck stand up, so I decided I’d better blog about it.

The minutes of the meeting are finally up on the town web site, after members of ABCAlliance pointed out multiple times that they had been missing from the rolls of the town’s other web-published minutes, which was a violation of state law, by the way.

Here’s some quick context for those minutes: Devon normally sent a company representative to meetings, but Williams hired Bobby Dollack to represent the interests of the company and the two property owners, Council member Wayne Holt and Lemoine Wright.

Holt wasn’t there. Joey Hasty was absent, too. Mayor Landrum and Bonny Haynes had to recuse themselves because they are on those leases.

Council members Dona Schroetke and Jackie Thomas kept tripping up on the fact that there wasn’t going to be anything around the site after the drilling was done. They were looking on the plat where the fence would go, something they normally would have a lot of say over. I’d seen that when Devon would make an application. Dollack kept pushing back that the owner didn’t want a fence, that only his horses would be back there, that the horse fence would be enough, there wasn’t going to be any equipment.

And, that, of course, was the first and last time I covered this issue because this site is near my home, too.

Zoe G Nance September 12, 2010 at 4:31 pm

That what those things are…frac tanks…

Is everybody sitting down.

I saw one of those 1.5 weeks ago pull into Hilltop Elementary School and flip a U-turn in the parent parking lot, an 18 wheeler.

Wish I was kidding.

Anonymous September 12, 2010 at 4:36 pm

The SWEET smell!! Same thing here in Booger County. They have figured out a way to “perfume” the H2S and other crap smell using some kind of odorizer. I joking say that sometimes here it smells like a French whore house! Ha. But, even with the sweet smell present, I get a positive H2S test.

That Video Tape Guy September 12, 2010 at 5:26 pm

If everything is so great, creates tens of thousands of jobs, pours tens of millions into local and the state economy, helps reduce our dependence on foreign oil…….why is it so difficult to tell the truth? Why not full disclosure? If these companies really did tell the full truth, maintain their sites, clean up after themselves, be respectful of the people who live near these sites, I bet they wouldn’t really need a PR dept to have to continue to sell it to us.

Sharon Wilson September 13, 2010 at 12:29 pm

This is a good example for full disclosure.

Mineral owners need full disclosure regarding all the infrastructure that comes with leasing their minerals. Most often they are told it only involves a couple of tanks with flowers planted all around and butterflies fluttering everywhere.

Buyers need full disclosure when they buy land/homes. NO ONE would buy property if they new this kind of thing might happen. Say goodbye to selling property in Texas.

Citizens need full disclosure of entanglements their elected officials have.

Big Gas must be made to fully disclose all processes and the chemicals involved in each process and they must be held accountable if they don’t fully disclose.

This is the cost of our energy gluttony.

Runner Susan September 13, 2010 at 1:02 pm

Hi Video Tape Guy, glad you are still with us!

If they were honest then William’s #1 paid liar, Kelly Swan, would be out of a job.

Zoe G Nance September 13, 2010 at 7:53 pm

I can’t figure out:

How does GAS
cut down our dependence on foreign, OIL?!?

Green, Greener, Greenest:

“if every American decreased their thermostat one degree, we wouldn’t have to rely on foreign oil”

Peggy September 13, 2010 at 10:05 pm

What Zoe said.

We conserve and are comfortable. Plus I never freak out when the power bill comes. Some months it’s under $100. Some day soon, we’ll get a wind generator or solar panels and run the meter backwards at our place.

Now THAT’s a royalty check.

Sharon Wilson September 14, 2010 at 2:20 am

Agreed, what Zoe said!

Cut your thermostat down.
Recycle and reuse everything.
Stop using plastic.
Use stuff until it wears completely out, the distressed look is in.
(I have clothes that are older than my 28 yo son and I still wear them.)
Cut down on your living space.
Don’t cool or heat rooms you don’t need.

We can cut way down and still be comfortable.

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