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SOURCE: DeSmog Blog

DATE: October 4, 2019

SNIP: For the fifth week since the blowout began, a large flare is still burning at the site of GEP Haynesville, LLC’s blown out fracked gas wells in northwestern Louisiana. The blowout occurred on August 30, shortly after the company began a frack job, igniting two adjacent wells. A state official estimated that efforts to contain the blowout could take another two months, or more.

The flare has gone out at times, resulting in fluid from the well, including what the oil and gas industry calls “produced water,” spreading a mist into the sky over a mile away, alarming nearby residents.

“Once out, saltwater and whatever else was shooting out into the sky,” a resident, who asked to not be named, told DeSmog. “It would come back down, making a heavy fog, killing lots of trees, and getting on everything.” The resident said the fog persisted for four days and caused irritation and burning in the eyes and any open wounds when outside for more than a few minutes.

Produced water is a byproduct of oil and gas drilling and can contain salts, “oil residues, sand or mud, naturally occurring radioactive materials, chemicals from frac fluids, bacteria, and dissolved organic compounds,” according to the American Geosciences Institute.

Residents have not been warned about any potential environmental or health impacts from the blowout, according to the unnamed resident, who reached out to DeSmog.

“I absolutely have issue with residents being told there is nothing to worry about,” Melissa Troutman, from the advocacy group Earthworks, told DeSmog. “If this blowout had been handled justly and responsibly, residents would have been given a full report of what produced water contains and alternative housing during cleanup.”

“This is an industry that doesn’t have to disclose the toxic chemicals it uses or manage its hazardous waste as hazardous because of special exemptions from laws that the rest of us have to follow,” she added.

“Produced water contains radioactive materials, including the carcinogen radium, as well as heavy metals and undisclosed chemicals that are used in the drilling and fracking processes,” Troutman said. She warned that “studies show oil and gas wastewater contains over a thousand chemicals, most of which have no toxicological hazard data, and in vitro testing on oil and gas wastewater has found hormone disruption, other endocrine related effects, and genetic mutation.”