Gas From Old Well Closes Pawhuska School's Softball Field
PAWHUSKA, Oklahoma - A gas seep on the Pawhuska softball field has resurfaced forcing crews to reevaluate how they are going to plug an old well.
The well on the softball field was originally drilled over a century ago, it was first plugged in 1940 and since then, it has seeped gas and been re-plugged several times, but yet the gas continues to escape.
A large pile of dirt now sits on the Pawhuska softball field.
"Our softball team is doing a lot of traveling right now." Said Assistant Principal and Athletic Director Chris Walker.
He said the team does get to practice at home on the baseball field while crews work on their field to plug the well.
"The Osage mineral council is reassessing the situation with some other government agencies," Walker said.
Crews have poured cement down the well and dug a collection area to catch any seeping gas.
"The cement job that they just did, it's still venting a little bit of gas," Walker said.
Crews had previously plugged and vented another spot on school grounds, running a vent high above the field house.
The vent is being monitored by the OCC
The entire school grounds were checked by the EPA, Osage Nation, BIA and the state fire marshal before the district's doors were back open.
"They've already monitored the system before we allowed kids back in, but they will do continued monitoring," Walker said.
Once crews feel the seeping gas is under control they will give a monitoring system to the district so faculty can do daily checks.
Walker said they will “teach us how to evaluate it and make sure that it's safe for our students and our facility."
Until then, the only place kids aren't allowed to go is the softball field and that's only because there will be oil field machinery being used to plug the well.
The school grounds are safe and class will continue as normal while crews work to plug the well.