Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Update on Spill as Stoscheck Well in Van Etten, NY

Last Monday, March 8, an operator for Talisman Energy (aka Fortuna) discovered brine dripping from the valve of a storage tank during a routine well inspection at Stoscheck well in Van Etten, NY. He reported the spill to NY Department of Environmental Conservation(DEC). At that time he reported that the valve on the brine tank froze and broke.

This Monday (March 15) someone at DEC kindly e-mailed me a spill report form with comments by the investigator, Chad Kehoe. In case you want to look up the spill on DEC's spills incident database, here's the spill number: 0912761.

On Tuesday, March 9 Kehoe visited the site, meeting both Joe Yarosz (DEC) and Jeff Bower (Fortuna). According to Bower, the valve in the brine tank drain line had frozen, damaging the inner seals. 
The pipe cap was also found to have been damaged - either by ice or possibly by cross threading.

The tank was "supposedly" measured on March 3 and had, since then, lost 18 inches of brine - equivalent to 18 barrels or 756 gallons. Upon finding the leak Fortuna drained the tank below the drain line and replaced the valve.

According to Fortuna, the Stoscheck well (drilled into the Trenton-Black River formation) produces a low volume of brine that is fairly dilute. According to Bower, it is less saline than sea water.

Fortuna agreed to dig a couple of test pits and sample soil and groundwater to determine what impacts have resulted from the spill. The first tests are of soil samples dug near the tank - they were sent to Benchmark Labs for analysis and results haven't been returned yet. The need and scope of additional sampling will be determined once the initial results are back.

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