Utica Shale

Gas Leak at Columbiana County Well Pad Forces Evacuations

FAIRFIELD TOWNSHIP, Ohio — An accident at a natural gas well in Columbiana County has forced residents within a mile radius of the site to evacuate, according to Gov. Mike DeWine’s office.

The incident happened on the Tarka Pad on Fairfield School Road near Columbiana, the governor’s office said. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Oil and Gas Division is coordinating with local first responders, well owner Hilcorp Energy Co., the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and oil and gas emergency contractors to mitigate the situation.

Hilcorp reported that a third-party contractor struck a wellhead on the pad about 9 a.m. Tuesday. Emergency shutdown devices for the remaining 12 wells on the pad were activated, and all remaining wells and pipelines are shut in.

Hilcorp has secured the services of a well control specialist who is anticipated on site Tuesday evening to begin operations to regain control of the well.

Local emergency management officials instituted a 1-mile evacuation zone shortly after the incident occurred, and more than 450 people have been safely evacuated. No injuries have been reported.

Ohio EPA is on the scene providing incident support.

Baseline air monitoring is occurring and will continue until the situation is under control. Updates regarding evacuations will be made by local emergency management officials.

ODNR will continue to work with all state and local authorities to monitor the situation until the operator regains control of the well.

The Ohio Department of Health recommends following the instructions and recommendations of firefighters, first responders and public health officials.

Unless ordered to evacuate, residents were urged to stay in their homes with the doors and windows closed, and to close the fresh-air intake of their air conditioning systems, if possible.

Anyone experiencing an unusual shortness of breath, dizziness or clumsiness that is believed to be related to the incident should contact a health care provider.

Hilcorp Energy Co. established a claims hotline for anyone impacted by the evacuation at 877 872 1288.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.