Council Passes Gas Well Preparedness Plan Unanimously
By Office of Communication
Posted on March 07, 2012, March 07, 2012

The Arlington City Council unanimously passed a Natural Gas Well Preparedness and Response Plan at Tuesday evening's city council meeting.

The plan, which was first presented to the council on Feb. 7 by Fire Chief Don Crowson, calls for a system approach of three elements to be addressed: oversight, inspection, and response capacity. It also calls for a unified partnership between the departments of Fire, Community Development and Planning, Water, and Public Works and Transportation.

"I'm pleased with the City Council's decision," said Chief Crowson. "I believe that the Natural Gas industry is part of the solution and we will reach out to them just as we have discussed. We will work with the industry on communications, relationships, and together find appropriate solutions."

In the chief's previous briefings to council he explained a gas well preparedness and response plan was needed due to the unique challenges for public safety, the rapid growth of drill sites, and the fact that sites are located in urban settings near neighborhoods, schools, and businesses. The chief expressed the need for additional well oversight, and expertise and emergency response capacity.

The plan is expected to cost $781,450 in year one and be funded by a Natural Gas Well Operational Permit Fee, which is expected to be around $2,397 per well. The plan costs will include hiring a natural gas well program manager, a natural gas well site safety and security fire inspector, and six fire fighters assigned and specially trained to handle natural gas well incidents. The department will also assign another 42 firefighters at Fire Stations 1 and 9 to the mission.

The Chief said, "Through this program the Arlington Fire Department will be better prepared and the community will be safer."

By Michelle Rice


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