The company waiting to frack at Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire has received an official warning about operations at the site.
A document released by the Environment Agency (EA) shows that Third Energy breached two conditions of its environmental permit last month. It was given five days to correct procedures.
The breaches concerned:
- Not operating to approved management procedures
- Not maintaining records on monitoring the site
The warning followed an unannounced visit by the EA to the KM8 well in Kirby Misperton on 20 October 2017.
There had been complaints about an unpleasant smell coming from the site earlier that week. After the incident, monitoring data showed a rise in hydrogen sulphide levels, although alarms on the Kirby Misperton site did not go off. One woman attended hospital and has received ongoing medical attention. DrillOrDrop report
Details of breaches
According to a report of the visit, management plans held in the site office were out of date. The EA recorded:
“Clarifications and minor changes had been made to the plans before subsequent approval and therefore it is vital that Third Energy operate to the latest revisions and these are held on site”.
The report also recorded that the operating procedure for dealing with surface water was not on the site and staff were unfamiliar with it. The EA officer wrote:
“We were assured by the wellsite supervisor that surface water checks were taking place and records were available to demonstrate this. However, the operator had devised a checklist as part of the Emissions Monitoring Plan and had committed to using this during operations. No checklists in this format were available for review.”
The surface water management procedure also required Third Energy to keep a consolidated inventory of materials on the site at all times. The report recorded:
“Significantly there was no consolidated chemical inventory held on site”.
It called for a “joined up approach” on managing the inventory between the different members of staff.
The report explained:
“This is particularly important in the event of any incident on site where the emergency responders would need to know immediately what was currently on site and where it was.”
Third Energy was required to
- Ensure that the latest approved versions of management plans were available at KM8 and that all staff were aware of the commitments
- Ensure that the staff is using surface water management operating procedure and checklists and maintain an up-to-date chemical inventory.
Opponents of Third Energy’s operations at Kirby Misperton have criticised the company for breaching planning conditions. A study commissioned by Friends of the Earth concluded that the company had failed to carry out proper monitoring. DrillOrDrop report
Sue, who lives less than a mile from the well site, said:
“They tell us that they follow the regulations and take safety seriously. It doesn’t look like it.
“How dare they run such a cowboy operation and expect no repercussions. If they don’t act responsibly, it will be my family who pay the price.
“They can’t even get the simplest of things right! How can we trust them with this untested new operation?”
DrillOrDrop invited Third Energy to respond to the criticism of its operation at Kirby Misperton. This report will be updated with any comment.
Wind direction should be “greater consideration”
The report of the visit also recorded that the smell from the Kirby Misperton site was probably caused by washing tanks.
The EA officer said the pipeline to KM8 had previously carried produced water from sour gas activities which was to be discharged at the KM3 water disposal well.
The wind was blowing directly towards Kirby Misperton on the day the tanks were cleaned out, the report recorded.
The officer said:
“This work should have been organised when the meteorological situation meant that offsite odours were less likely and this needs to be a greater consideration in work planning.”
Waste water involved in this incident was not covered by the waste permit for KM8, the report said. The EA proposed to take no further action but the information would be shared with Ryedale District Council and Public Health England.
Updated 16.55 to amend “one woman needed hospital treatment” to one woman attended hospital and has received ongoing medical attention.