An oil pumpjack on North Adrian Highway.

EPA finds air-quality violations at two Adrian-area oil sites

A little over a year after investigating odor complaints from area residents and finding vapor leaks at Adrian-area oil processing facilities, the Environmental Protection Agency has issued a notice of violation against Savoy Energy. The news was reported on Monday by the Adrian Oil and Gas blog, and then given wider circulation in this morning’s edition of The Daily Telegram. (The story is not yet online; I’ll link to it when it is.) Violations of the Clean Air Act were found at two facilities: one at M-52 and Howell Highway, and one in the area of Shepherd Road and Pentecost Highway. In a letter to Savoy dated May 29, George T. Czerniak of the EPA wrote: “Section 113 of the Clean Air Act gives us several enforcement options. These options include issuing an administrative compliance order, issuing an administrative penalty order and bringing a judicial civil or criminal action.” Continue Reading

A class 2 brine disposal well in western Louisiana near the Texas border in this photo from ProPublica.

An oil company wants to drill an injection well in Lenawee County. What does it mean?

So let’s say you’ve been drilling for oil and gas. You’ve been doing it for a while, and you have a whole lot of brine — that is, salty water that gets brought to the surface while you’re extracting your black gold from down below. So what do you do with it all? Well, typically, you inject it back into the ground. There are thousands of injection wells being used for byproduct disposal in the U.S., according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Continue Reading

An oil pumpjack on North Adrian Highway.

Town hall meeting on oil money set for Jan. 26

Citizens who would like to weigh in on how — or whether — Adrian should spend money from oil and gas royalties will have an opportunity later this month. A town hall meeting will take place at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 26, at the City Chambers Building, 159 E. Maumee St. Mayor Jim Berryman announced the date at tonight’s city commission meeting. Savoy Energy, based in Traverse City, has been paying the city royalties on oil extracted from underneath city-owned land. Continue Reading

An inspection earlier this year by the EPA found vapor leaks at Savoy Energy's oil processing location in Adrian.

EPA report: Inspectors found vapor leaks at Adrian oil facility

A federal inspection of an oil processing facility in Adrian this spring found several components that were leaking vapor, according to an Environmental Protection Agency report, but the EPA has not yet issued a determination of whether the Clean Air Act was violated. According to the report, which was first published on the Adrian Oil and Gas blog, the EPA inspected Savoy Energy’s facility on the north side of Adrian on April 28 in response to a citizen complaint of odor and adverse health effects. The report, written by EPA environmental scientist Natalie Topinka, states that the inspection found a few small leaks at the facility’s compressor, a leak from the pressure relief valve in the tanks’ vapor recovery system, and a leak from the “thief hatch” of another oil tank. (A thief hatch allows access to tanks for sampling purposes, and also acts as a safety valve in case of too much pressure.)

Leaks were also observed from the thief hatches of three out of four water tanks. According to the report, Topinka expressed concern to Savoy’s operations manager that “the pressure relief valves and thief hatches were not properly weighted.” Vapors should go first to the flare, she wrote, then to the pressure relief valves if there is too much pressure, and finally to the thief hatches. Continue Reading