Update – Washington County Sheriff Otto Hanak said that at 6:00 PM Wednesday the command center was being relocated do to a shift in the prevailing winds. It is now located on FM 1948 about halfway between FM 390 and Highway 290. The mobile command units from the Bryan and College Station Fire Departments have returned to their stations, but air monitoring equipment remains on the site. Hanak said that the evacuation area has not changed and that a total of 30 to 40 people have been displaced from their homes. He said that during the day Wednesday, his Deputies along with Washington County Constables have escorted some of the evacuees back to their home so they could retrieve medicines or feed their animals.
Sheriff Hanak said that workers were able today (Wednesday) to shut off the diesel generator at the site, and also cut off a burner that was going near the gas leak. He said the gas escaping from the well contains a high level of moisture, and that likely kept it from igniting. Hanak explained that tomorrow (Thursday) crews would begin spraying the well and surrounding area with water and then will attempt to shut down the leak. He said that crews with Wild Well Control out of Houston have several different plans to shut the well in and they will start on Thursday with the least destructive.
Wednesday 12:00 noon
Washington County emergency responders along with Bryan and College Station hazmat crews remain at the scene of a large gas leak on FM 390 near Deer Point Road in northern Washington County.
Officials say about 15-20 people were forced to evacuate their homes last night. Large plumes of gas could be seen spewing from the gas well Wednesday morning. Washington County Sheriff Otto Hanak says that a temporary cap blew out on the gas well in the 6800 block of FM 390 last night. Crews with the well company were evaluating the scene this morning and developing a plan to shut the well in. The biggest concern is a diesel generator that is running at the site. Crews said it has fuel for 5 or six days and they are unable to shut it off due to the gas leak. Sheriff Hanak said that crews were hopeful that they would be able to shut off the diesel generator today (Wednesday) but that it was doubtful that the gas leak could be shut down Wednesday.
A command post has been established about 500 yards north of the well on FM 390. Hazmat crews with the College Station Fire Department are continuously monitoring the concentration of gas in the air and are keeping an eye on the winds. The winds are forecast to be light out of the north-east this morning, switching to light out of the south-east this afternoon.
Washington County Emergency Management Coordinator Bryan Ruemke said he expects the evacuations to continue for at least 24 hours. Currently, road blocks are set up at 7 locations:
Gansky Road at FM 1948
FM 390 at FM1948
Gansky Road at Deer Point Road
Gansky Road at Helm Road
FM 390 at Deer Point Road
Briar Creek Road at Highway 290
Highway 290 at FM 1948
Residents and drivers are asked to avoid the area until the leak is under control. The road blocks are being manned by DPS troopers, volunteers from the Citizens of Patrol, the County Constables, and the several volunteer fire departments.
Full Press Release for Sheriff Otto Hanak:
According to Sheriff Otto Hanak, on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 at approximately 7:54 pm, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office was notified of a significant gas leak at a well in the Northwest part of the county and near Burton. The well is located just off F.M. 390 near McNelly Road. Responding agencies were the Sheriff’s office, all four County Constables Offices, Burton Police Department, Washington County Office of Emergency Management, Washington County E.M.S., Washington County 911, Burton, Rocky Creek, Latium, and Berlin Volunteer Fire Departments, Washington County COP’s, College Station and Bryan Fire Departments, and the Texas Highway Patrol.
Agency officials quickly determined there was a significant risk of fire and/or explosion and ordered evacuation of residents within an area two miles south of the well. This decision was based upon weather conditions and the best predictions of Wildhorse, Washington County Office of Emergency Management and fire and law enforcement officials. Although a significant inconvenience, all precautions related to an event of this magnitude should be taken and were.
The owners and operators of the well, Wildhorse Development of Katy, Texas were also at the scene and were involved in evacuation decisions of residents nearby. Soon after the event took place, Wildhorse contacted Wild Well Control of Houston to assist in the well shutdown efforts. As of today, Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at 7:23 am, the well remains a health and safety issue and the mandatory evacuation of nearby residents remain in effect. Wildhorse made the decision around 12:30 am after evaluating the well area, to wait until sunrise to approach the well itself due to other undetermined conditions that could risk the safety of well inspectors. It is the hope of Wildhorse to stop the release of natural gas sometime today.
Additionally, Washington County authorities have contacted the FAA, requested and received a “no fly” zone within 2500 feet and within a 5 mile radius of the well site.
(There will be more information provided once Wild Well Control company representatives determine the length of time it will take to extinguish the leak and the manner in which this will be done. Right now the safety risk remain high to those within 500 yards of this leak)
Road Closed as of 7:30 am, 03-14-2018:
1) FM 1948 @ Ganske Road
2) US 290 W @ FM 1948
3) FM 390 W @ Deer Point Road
4) Ganske Road @ Deer Point Road
5) Ganske Road @ Helm Road
6) FM 390 W @ FM 1948 North
7) FM 2679 @ FM 390
Otto Hanak, Sheriff
Bryan Ruemke, Washington County Office of Emergency Management
Press Release by Wildhorse Resource Development
HOUSTON, March 14, 2018 – WildHorse Resource Development Corporation (NYSE: WRD) is reporting today that the Morgan #1H, a well located in Washington County, Texas, experienced a well control incident at approximately 7:00 p.m. CT on March 13, 2018 resulting in a limited release of natural gas, oil, and produced fluid. Prior to the incident, the Morgan #1H was tubed up and in early flowback operations. The site has been secured by local authorities. In addition, Wild Well Control, a Houston-based company specializing in oil and gas well blowout response, is actively responding to the incident with well control operations.
All personnel are accounted for and no injuries have been reported at this time. WRD is assisting all regulatory, state, and local authorities with the response effort. In addition, WRD health, safety, and environment personnel are on site assessing the situation. WRD will continue to proactively respond to the situation with its foremost focus on the safety of its employees and contractors, the local community as well as the environment.
About WildHorse Resource Development Corporation
WildHorse Resource Development Corporation is an independent oil and natural gas company focused on the acquisition, exploration, development and production of oil, natural gas and NGL properties primarily in the Eagle Ford Shale in East Texas and the Over-Pressured Cotton Valley in North Louisiana. For more information, please visit our website at www.wildhorserd.com.