Tags: karnes | county | explosion | well

Karnes County Explosion at Saltwater Disposal Well Injures 1

Tuesday, 08 Oct 2013 02:17 PM

By David Ogul

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A Karnes County explosion at a saltwater disposal well on a drilling site some 50 miles southeast of San Antonio, Texas, has left at least one person injured and led authorities to shut down several nearby roads, including two state highways.

The blast happened about 4:45 a.m. Tuesday in Karnes County, KENS 5 News in San Antonio said. The status of the injured person, who was taken to the hospital by a medical helicopter, was not known. An employee at the site said the victim is in his early 30s.

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It is common for saltwater disposal wells to hold wastewater from drilling operations. The company that owns the well is Gulf Coast Acquisitions, Karnes County Sheriff Dwayne Villanueva told the television station. Roads that were shut down include state Highway 80 and state Highway 119 in the area.

An explosion in January 2012 at a Texas saltwater disposal well left three people injured and prompted the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue 10 citations for “serious violations,” according to an NPR report at the time. The site, about 80 miles west of Tuesday’s explosion, was used for disposal of wastewater from fracking and drilling, according to the report.

After an explosion sparked by lightning last month at another Texas saltwater disposal well near La Grange, the owner of the plant, Ralph Burris, told the local ABC station KVUE News that when wells produce oil, they also produce salt water. The Railroad Commission of Texas, he said, mandates that the salt water has to be disposed of in a way that won’t pollute other water.

Karnes County is among the largest oil producing regions of Texas.

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