Work continues in Midwest to address gas leak

(Midwest, Wyo.) - The City of Casper-Natrona County Health Department (CNCHD) is working diligently with private and public partners to address the gas leak in Midwest. “We are working with the FDL Operating, Natrona County Emergency Management, Natrona County School District #1, Wyoming Department of Health, Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, and the Bureau of Land Management to ensure we are doing everything we can to address the gas leak that began on May 25, 2016.” said Dr. Kelly Weidenbach, Executive Director of the CNCHD. The leak was detected by Natrona County School District #1 employees who noticed dying grass near the school building and took steps to evacuate the building. “Student and staff safety is of primary concern to the district.” Said Superintendent of schools Steve Hopkins, “We are looking to the Casper-Natrona County Health Department to determine when conditions are safe to reoccupy the school grounds.” FDL Operating responded as soon as the gas was determined to not be natural gas. Company teams are completing a comprehensive evaluation of every well bore drilled within 1/4 mile of the leak. Three workover rigs are currently completing diagnostic and well remediation work. FDL is providing housing in Casper for any Midwest residents who do not feel comfortable staying in Midwest. The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality has taken air quality readings and is providing technical assistance to the Casper-Natrona County Health Department and Natrona County emergency management. Dr. Kelly Weidenbach stated, “We are working diligently on finding and stopping the source of the leak and to address any health concerns of the residents of Midwest. In addition, we have reached out to our state and federal agency partners for assistance.” The Casper-Natrona County Health Department in conjunction with the school district, Wyoming Department of Health, and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) investigated reported illnesses among staff members at Midwest School in 2014. The 2014 public health investigation was exhaustive and inconclusive. The cause of the 2014 illnesses remains unknown, and no scientific evidence links the reported staff illnesses in 2014 to the current situation at this time. FDL Operating, LLC will continue to maintain full-scale surveillance until this issue is resolved. Additionally, the company has established an incident hotline at (307) 462-9112 and asks all area residents to call with questions, updates, or concerns. The contact for the Natrona County School District #1 is Kelly Eastes, Director of Community Partnerships, at (307) 253-5370. Feature Photo: h /t Collin Allen/Pitchengine Communities #oilcity #news