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Fracking Explosion Injures 5 in West Virginia

Jul 11, 2013

Five people were hospitalized in West Virginia following an explosion at a hydraulic fracturing (fracking) well.

Officials with Antero Resources confirmed to reporters that an apparent methane explosion during the “flow back” process likely caused the explosion. Antero Resources owns and operates the fracking site in West Virginia. The five people injured during the incident were workers at the fracking well pad. The severity of their injuries was not disclosed, according to a Reuters report.

The “flow back” process is one of the final steps of the fracking process. During this process, the contents that are ushered into the underground horizontal well shaft are rushed back to the surface where they’re to be collected and stored for further processing and disposal, according to Reuters.

Based on our previous reports, methane gas is one of the many dangerous outputs of fracking drilling. People living closest to fracking wells say that active well sites are responsible for contaminating their drinking water wells with methane gas and other pollutants.

This latest incident at or involving a fracking well shows that the drilling process not only poses threats to the environment and surrounding community, it also poses risks to the workers at the site. We’ve reported previously on dangerous well blowouts, similar to this incident, in which tens of thousands of gallons of toxic drilling fluids are spilled, posing even more dangers to the environment, those living close to the wells, and those working at the drilling site.

Reuters reports that officials with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration were at the scene of the explosion this week to determine a cause. Two storage tanks at the surface of the fracking site exploded in the incident.

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