A Chesapeake Energy representative said Friday afternoon the natural gas company has stemmed the flow of liquid from a well blowout in rural Pennsylvania. The company was planning to begin sealing the Bradford County well Friday. Toxic fluid used in the drilling process began leaking from the newly drilled well on Tuesday.
An equipment failure led to the release of thousands of gallons of brine water. The chemical-containing fluid is called “frack water” because it’s used as part of a drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing.
While some of the fluid flowed into a nearby stream, Chesapeake Energy officials say there was little if any environmental impact.
Michel Boufadel, an environmental engineer at Temple University, said Friday such a spill can have serious impacts.
“In the flowback water, we know that there is a high salinity so that can devastate a freshwater ecology environment,” he said. “And you could have other compounds such as radioactive compounds such as uranium, thorium.”
Boufadel said the frack water can seep deep underground and end up surfacing downstream.
A spokesman for Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection said inspectors have found no evidence of a fish kill or damage to wildlife in the area. The DEP is testing nearby drinking water wells.
Chesapeake Energy has halted its operations in the eastern part of the state.