Gas well issues discussed by council, citizens concerned

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By A.C. Hall

Concerns from a Fort Worth citizen sparked a long discussion about an XTO gas well in Benbrook.  A citizen from Fort Worth who lives right across the river from the Timbercreek Gas Well pad site in Benbrook brought forth a long list of concerns originating with an event from last year.  The citizen and others from her neighborhood reported hearing a loud noise coming from the well for several hours.

The noise itself caused concern, but what had the citizen the most upset was the difficulty they found in trying to contact XTO to report the emergency.  They recalled many steps that had to be taken in order to track down the XTO emergency number.

After some confusion, the citizen eventually learned that there had been a rupture near the gas well, but it was taken care of and there was no danger.  This citizen voiced many concerns over gas wells in general, speaking of the dangers they felt they represented.  They also stated that they believed XTO was fracking overnight, which is in violation of their ordinance.

As the Benbrook council members began to respond, it was clear their main concern was with the lack of communication.  Councilmember Ron Sauma addressed this first, speaking at length about his belief it should be much easier for concerned citizens to contact XTO in an emergency.

A representative from XTO was on hand and stated that the emergency number is listed on their website.  This prompted Sauma to question what people without computers are supposed to do if they need the number.  After much back and forth, the idea of mailing out the number to people who live near gas wells was discussed.

The representative from XTO went on to dispute claims of overnight fracking, and stated that an analysis could be submitted showing that nothing harmful is being emitted by the gas well.  The spokesperson also called into question the timeline of the night of the rupture, stating that things were taken care of faster than the citizen claimed.

The focus of the discussion mostly remained on the need for XTO to better circulate their emergency number so people can call them if needed.

“We’re not taking this as an attack tonight, we’re taking this as information where we can improve our services and safety,” Mayor Jerry Dittrich said.

As the discussion began to wind down, Dittrich asked XTO to double check and make sure no overnight fracking is taking place, while also requesting that the air analysis be submitted to the City of Benbrook.

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