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Drilling fluid spill reported in Flower Mound

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A spill of flowback water occurred at a Williams drilling site in western Flower Mound early Friday.

A contractor reported the spill to Williams at 5:30 a.m Friday morning. Williams notified the Town of Flower Mound at 5:42 a.m. and met with representatives from the town and the Texas Railroad Commission at the Cummings drill site today.

The spill did not affect water sources; public property was unaffected; and the response effort did not require the assistance of town resources, Williams officials said – although a representative from the fire department did visit and inspect the site.

The incident – which is being reviewed – appears to have involved a hose that became detached from a temporary storage tank on the drill site, releasing an estimated 190 barrels of flowback water.

“This is unacceptable. We’re extremely disappointed,” said Tony Silvestri, regional vice president. “Prior to this year, we had what I felt was a respectable record with regard to our drilling. We had developed it over more than four years.”

An environmental remediation team was able to vacuum up and collect almost 80 percent, or 140 barrels, of the water in liquid form. The water remaining in the adjacent soil is being excavated for removal.

Flowback water is the very first water that a natural gas well produces. It is primarily naturally occurring saltwater. It also includes fluids that are used during the fracturing process to create openings in underground rock layers that contain natural gas.

This is the third spill for Williams in the area this year. A faulty seal on a temporary storage tank resulted in a spill at the same Cummings site on March 17. In Argyle, a July 29 spill at the Wright drill site involved a tank overflow.

“We have taken corrective measures following the earlier spills – measures that included having contractors inspect tanks and other equipment every 15 minutes. At this point, we don’t believe that protocol was followed this morning,” Silvestri said.

“There will be more corrective action taken once we finish reviewing this. We share everyone’s expectation that drilling should be done safely, reliably and responsibly.”

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