Gas Well Study, 2013

The 2013 Gas Well Study is now available. Last year we one of our focuses was Underground Injection Control (UIC) class 2 wells used to dispose of oil and gas waste. We have a section on our website devoted to UIC class 2 documents for 5 wells in West Virginia.

Tupper's Creek UIC class 2 well

This is a photo of UIC class 2 well in Kanawha county by Tupper’s Creek (47-039-02210). The tall tank in the photo is able to hold 57,000 gallons of waste. This well has been used since the 1980s to dispose of natural gas and pipeline waste. When we visited in April 2013 there was a strong objectionable odor. The permit requires vapor recovery units for the tanks (there is the large tank and two smaller tanks). There is nothing in the well’s file at the Office of Oil and Gas to show that the tanks actually have vapor recovery units.

Amherst Plymouth WMA UIC class 2 well

This UIC class 2 well is in the Amherst Plymouth Wildlife Management Area (47-079-01452). It has all the physical features we want to see at a UIC class 2 well site but are not at all common in West Virginia — cement lined unloading area with curbs/berms to contain spills; the six large tanks sit within cement lined secondary containment; a pressure gauge on the wellhead and another pressure gauge for the annulus; and good site security including a fence and a locked gate. Besides the physical features we want to see an agency (in West Virginia it’s the Office of Oil and Gas) that enforces compliance, again something that isn’t happening in West Virginia.


We looked at other wells, including this vertical shale gas well in the Amherst Plymouth Wildlife Management Area (47-079-01324). This Google Earth view gives a good impression of the site — poorly vegetated with severe erosion of the fill slope. Like other wells in the WMA this site’s condensate storage tank doesn’t have secondary containment as required by law.

There are photos of well sites and other information about last year’s project available on our website. We’ll be writing more about UIC wells and other topics. One of this year’s project is a set of proposed workshops. We’ll keep you posted.

March 24, 2014