According to WNEP-TV [1], a fracked gas well in rural northern Pennsylvania has blown, causing a major spill of fracking fluid into the environment. Bradford County emergency officials say thousands of gallons of tainted water have spilled from the Chesapeake Energy Corp. well site in LeRoy Township near Canton since early this morning.

Crews were fracking when the well blew out near the surface. A massive operation is underway in Bradford County to deal with the spill. Seven families have been evacuated [2] so far.

Bradford County’s director of public safety said the well, operated by Chesapeake, blew near the surface, spilling thousands and thousands of gallons of frack fluid over containment walls, through fields, personal property and farms, even where cattle continue to graze.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is taking groundwater and stream samples to determine the extent of the damage. Officials said fluids from the well have already contaminated Towanda Creek which feeds into the Susquehanna River, a source of drinking water for millions of people.

Chesapeake hasn’t made a public comment yet, so it will be interesting to see what the company has to say about this. 

It’s also worth noting that one of the companies responsible for the disaster in the Gulf a year ago today - Halliburton - operates in Bradford County [3] and is a leading supplier of fracking services, including to Chesapeake Energy.  Halliburton reported a massive boost in profits [4] earlier this week, largely derived from its work in unconventional gas and fracking in North America.  It will be interesting to learn whether their cement work or other involvement had anything to do with today’s disaster.


Head over to WNEP for more on this leaking well [1], and stay tuned for more updates as this story unfolds. 

Bradford County is no stranger to fracking disasters, as this TIME video shows: