First Responders Want to Know: What’s in There?

Monitoring fracking-related traffic is one of the many activities carried out by Wetzel County resident and part-time OVEC staff member Bill Hughes.

Bill says that first responders who may have to deal with fracking-traffic accidents occasionally have asked him about those big rigs on local roads.

Questions include: What is in it? What PPE (personal protective equipment) and procedures should we follow when the tanker is over-turned and leaking, and with an incapacitated operator?  What is leaking from the tank?

Bill says that answers to these questions can be hard to know, as photos he’s snapped illustrate:

Is it brine or is it freshwater? Photo by Bill Hughes, Nov. 3, 2015.

Is it brine or is it freshwater? Photo by Bill Hughes, Nov. 3, 2015.

Dual labels on these trucks is disconcerting, to say the least. Photo taken on Nov. 4 by Bill Hughes.

Dual labels on these trucks is disconcerting, to say the least. Photo taken on Nov. 4 by Bill Hughes.

Bill snapped this shot in New Martinsville in Sept. 2014. Triple labels! Take your pick: brine, fresh water or residual waste.

Bill snapped this shot in New Martinsville in Sept. 2014. Triple labels! Take your pick: brine, fresh water or residual waste.

As Bill notes, “The potential for some mix up and our concern can be seen in the photo of the tanker below (traveling from a Statoil well pad some months ago). If this was hauling, or had ever had fresh water, with the black over-run coming out the top, well, I personally would not wish to be covered with this quality of fresh water. This surely is an example of why there is sometimes some question about exactly what is in the tank or what was in the tank.”

Photo by Bill Hughes.

Photo by Bill Hughes.

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