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A Chronicle of Dangerous Accidents

June 1, 1997 | By Hans Voss
Great Lakes Bulletin News Service

A Chronicle of Dangerous Accidents

May 20, 1980, night, Manistee Twp.
Shell Oil Gas Sweetening Plant
Power failure caused H2S emission; 11 people evacuated.

Feb. 3, 1982, 3:15 a.m., City of Manistee
Aztec Sweetening Facility
Check valve failure caused fire; pressure in line caused spilling of H2S. Several families self-evacuated.

April 11, 1985, early morning, Filer Twp
Federated Natural Resources well
H2S gas leak. 100+ people evacuated. "Road closed" sign posted but construction workers entered, supervisor not allowed to enter and could not reach them by phone for 1 1/2 hours.

January-March 1986, Vienna Twp.
Jennings Petroleum
Reinjection of sour gas & valve failure caused H2S releases. Infant hospitalized twice & experienced ongoing problems. Family sued, settled before trial in 1989 for undisclosed amount.

March 20, 1989, 8:20 p.m., Filer Twp.
Cherokee Resources well
Blown valve caused H2S vapor to shoot 50'-75' in air threatening explosion. Five families evacuated by industry; others near well not notified. Several families self-evacuated the next morning after awakening to a very strong smell. They experienced headaches and nausea.

May 13, 1994, 11:30 p.m.,Victory Twp.
Manistee Gas Limited Liability Compression Station
Blown gasket caused H2S emissions. Families awoke to loud noise. Many experienced headaches, difficulty breathing, dizziness, nausea, and some vomited. Undisclosed number of self-evacuations, at least 11 emergency hospitalizations, 10 cattle deaths.

June 7, 1994, Otsego County (five miles east of Gaylord)
West Bay Exploration Company gas well
During maintenance operation, crew intentionally released H2S. Poison gas filled a nearby home, injuring husband & wife who suffered severe burning of the eyes, difficulty breathing, and disorientation. Both sought medical treatment. Wife, whose hands and arms turned purple, was unable to continue working after incident.

Feb. 13, 1995, evening, Victory Twp.
Omimix Pipeline
Pipeline rupture caused release of H2S and brine contamination. One family evacuated; meters in house registered positive for H2S for 1 week; clean up of contaminated ground water and soil took 6 months.

April 1995,Victory Twp.
Omimix Pipeline
Another section of above pipeline ruptured, causing H2S release, brine contamination. 50 families evacuated.

Jan. 5, 1996, 2:37 a.m., Victory Twp.
Miller Brothers well
Stuck valve caused H2S release. Michigan Consolidated Gas Company received 18 emergency calls complaining of odor, headaches, and difficulty breathing. Leak was corrected mid-morning after it was determined who owned the well.

August 27, 1996, 4:30 p.m., City of Manistee
Petrostar sour gas well
Intentional release of H2S within 500 ft. of businesses. Emergency treatment of 12 people; undisclosed number of evacuations.

July 2, 1996, Victory Twp.
Basin Pipeline Limited Liability Company
Ruptured H2S gas gathering line. Self-evacuations; people experienced headaches and nausea for 1 week while leak was being located and another week during replacement of damaged line.

August 12, 1996, 6:30 p.m., Victory Twp.
Basin Pipeline Limited Liability
Another section of above pipeline ruptured. Self-evacuations.

September 1996, Victory Twp.
Basin Pipeline Limited Liability
H2S release during replacement of above pipeline. Death of 25 calves; farmer had difficulty breathing and returning home.

January 27, 1997, 12:00 p.m., Filer Twp. (500' from residential neighborhood) Aztec well drilling operation
H2S release during plugging of unsuccessful directional well. People experienced instantaneous nausea, headaches, and skin burn. Dogs vomited up to 1/2 mile away. Three people self-evacuated. Filer Township and citizens are contesting.

March 27, 1997, 4:30 p.m.,Manistee Twp.
Aztec well
Undisclosed problem caused H2S release. Self-evacuations; people in same area as August 27, 1996 incident experienced headaches, breathing difficulties, and nausea.
Data compiled by Dana Schindler and by researchers at the Institute.


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