McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

State House

June 6, 2014

Water worries bring local oil and gas operation under scrutiny




Safety first: Safety is a key component for Finley. No one wants injured employees or for a job to be shut down. Drilling and fracking and the related disposal is highly regulated.

Every person on the drill site at Little River has to sign in with the safety person. He checks IDs and records entry and exit. Sometimes employees work long hours and everyone must be accounted for.

Hard hats and steel-toed boots are the dress of the day. Under each tanker are containment pads that look like rubber swimming pools. They are there to catch any potential spills. Finley also installed a silt fence, although it’s not required.

There is no trash on the site, except what’s been put into the trash trailer, which will be hauled to the dump.

Gosling said keeping the site clean is important, not just to be good stewards of the land but for safety on the site and to protect the investment. As a runner and triathlete, he said he hates seeing all the trash alongside the roads these days, especially plastic bags. He wonders aloud why they’re not made out of biodegradable materials to be more environmentally friendly.

“We try to keep the location as clean as we can,” O’Neil said. “Everything’s enclosed. Everything’s confined and contained.”

There are safety meetings before each stage of work.

Gosling and O’Neil said the people who work on oil rigs live in neighborhoods and respect the land just like everyone else. They believe they work in one of the most highly regulated industries in the nation.

At the Little River well, Finley employees carry noise meters. City staff said the noise from the site is well within allowed parameters.

The frack “tree” connects to the well head. There are two frack valves, O’Neil said. The redundancy is a safety feature. There is also a “tree saver” inside the line that seals it off to protect the well head when there’s high pressure.

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