In Case of an Emergency
It is critical that you stay aware of your surroundings, including unusual sensations, smells, sounds and sights.
You need to take action if you notice:
- Sensation of grogginess or extreme light-headedness for no apparent reason
- Smell of oil, rotten eggs, smoke or any other offensive smell that you have not noticed before
- Sound of loud noises (explosions or rumblings)
- Sight of black, shiny substance in the grass, water or roadway
- Call 911 or the fire department. Do not walk towards the well to investigate. If there is hydrogen sulfide escaping, it can be deadly if inhaled at high enough concentrations. This gas is colorless, very poisonous, and flammable with a foul odor of rotten eggs at high concentrations.
- Notify your neighbors.Establish a Neighborhood Response for accidents relating to gas and oil wells. Designate a neighbor(s) to call surrounding homes to alert neighbors of the situation.
- Call an ODNR inspector. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has designated inspectors for each region. To find out the name of your inspector:
- Visit their website.
- Call ODNR Mineral Resource Management at (614) 265-6633.
- Call Cuyahoga County ODNR Inspector Ray Wallace at his office: (330) 896-0616.
- Call (800) 282-9378.
- Call Cuyahoga County District Chief Kurt Princic at (330)963-1204.
- For Ohio areas outside Cuyahoga County, visit the Ohio EPA website.
- Cleveland Department of Health, Division of Air Quality at (216) 664-2324.
- David Hearne, Chief Engineer at (216) 664-2297.
NOTE: ALWAYS SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION IF YOU HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO UNKNOWN GASES OR TOXINS.
Where do accidents at gas and oil wells begin?
- Drill pad
- Tank batteries containing crude oil, natural gas and brine.
What happens when gas leaks from a gas or oil well?
Fugitive emissions are unintentional leaks of gases. This may occur from breaks or small cracks in seals, tubing, valves or pipelines, as well when lids or caps on equipment or tanks have not been properly closed or tightened. When natural gas escapes via fugitive emissions, methane as well as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and any other contaminants in the gas (e.g. hydrogen sulfide) are released to the atmosphere.
Almost all references to the odor of raw or wellhead natural gas state that it, like methane, is odorless. The ODNR, however, advises landowners that one way to detect an abandoned oil or gas well on their property is if they smell “natural gas” odors coming from their tap water. So, in some cases, there may be a slight hydrocarbon odor associated with venting of natural gas.
If the concentration of hydrogen sulfide in the gas is high enough, there may also be a “rotten egg” odor associated with the gas.