Photographic Evidence from the Orangetree Well

On 27 December 2013 Paradise was alerted that a Baker-Hughes oil drilling convoy was headed south along I-10 and I-75, bound for Naples.  The likely target was the “Collier-Hogan” oil well just upstream of the Orangetree neighborhood of Naples.  Unable to find out what was going on there, on 2 April 2014 Paradise filed a formal Public Records Request with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.  This set in motion a chain of reluctant disclosures by the FDEP, including photographs obtained under the Paradise PRR and evidently taken by the FDEP during the fracking process. The following photos were taken at the Collier-Hogan 20-3H well site on 12/30/2013, 12/31/2013 and 1/1/2014.  The photographs were released to Paradise as jpeg files of the same dates.

Citizens and Collier County do not yet have a list of the chemicals used in what the FDEP called the “unauthorized activity” at the Orangetree well.  However, with the exception of Parasorb 5000, the chemicals in these photos all appear on the Baker-Hughes Arkansas Master Fracturing Chemicals List,  (Parasorb 5000 is apparently regularly used in unfracked wells as well as fracked wells.)  Thus these and other photos of the “unauthorized activity” clearly establish that the activity should have been called “hydraulic fracturing”.  (Preserve Our Paradise maintains a public archive of all documents and photographs released under our PRR at FDEP 4-2-14.)

The photos also establish that the FDEP in fact authorized the activity, albeit with a wink and a nod:  We have separately learned that FDEP personnel were at the well site on the days the activity occurred, and even if the digital photographs were not actually taken by the FDEP, the EXIF data matches the FDEP’s database dates, showing that the photographs were at least filed with the FDEP while the fracking operation was underway. (However, at some point before 2 July 2014 the FDEP  removed these photographs from its original ftp PRR release site.)  If the FDEP did not intend all along to authorize the “activity”, the FDEP could have sent in the State Police.

The chemicals identified in the above selected photographs are all hazardous, with XLW-30G and Parasorb labeled as carcinogenic. Per OSHA, crystalline silica (Asphaltsorb 1200) can lead to silicosis and lung cancer.  FRW-18 can be “fatal”.  BF-9L “may cause organ damage”.

On 1 July 2014 the FDEP issued a press release announcing that no contamination had occurred at  the Orangetree well .  This was no real surprise, because the fracking at the Orangetree well occurred some 12,000 feet deep, while the USDW — the geological boundary of the Orangetree Underground Source of Drinking Water–begins about 2,200 feet deep.  Since the six monitoring wells the FDEP drilled only went down thirteen feet, the testing would only have been adequate to establish that no significant surface spillage had occurred at the wellsite.  However we cannot even reach this conclusion because nearly six months have passed since the fracking operation took place. 



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