U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

HTTPS

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Fairmont Brine Site

 
Site Contact:
Cole Devine
On-Scene Coordinator

(devine.cole@epa.gov)

Site Location:
168 AFR Drive
Fairmont, WV 26554
response.epa.gov/fairmontbrine
NRC#: 138668

Site Overview

The Fairmont Brine Processing site is located at 168 AFR Drive in Fairmont West Virginia. The Brine processing facility was constructed between 2009 and 2010 by the AOP Clearwater LLC. The plant was acquired by Fairmont Brine Processing (FBP) in 2012. FBP began pre-treatment operations at the Site in 2013 and fully operated the plant in fall of 2014. FBP ceased operations at the site on or about March 1, 2018. 

 

The plant accepted flowback and produced fluids from the hydraulic fracturing process used to extract natural gas, otherwise known as "Brine".  FBP used chemical and carbon filter media, multiple-effect evaporation, and crystallization to treat and process the brine they received. This produced Sodium Chloride, Calcium Chloride, and Distilled water. By-products created from the process include wastewater treatment sludge and filter cake material. Produced fluids from fracking operations can contain Technically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials, known as "TENORM". Click here to learn more about TENORM.

 

On May 30, 2023, there was a fire and subsequent explosion at the Site damaging an above ground storage tank and the upper process building. Following the fire, elevated readings of TENORM radiation were found in several areas of the Site. Click here for general information about radiation sources and doses.

 

Updates

 

December 2023

 

West Virginia Department of Health [also known as WVDH (formerly known as WV DHHR)] has reviewed data from radiological testing which occurred in 2019 as part of routine compliance testing and also conducted new tests of both raw (untreated) and finished (treated) drinking water at the Morgantown Utility Board water treatment facility in October 2023. This facility is operated by the only West Virginia public water system downstream of the former Fairmont Brine along the Monongahela River. All testing results for regulated radionuclides are well below EPA drinking water standards. This data provides strong evidence that the radioactivity at the former Fairmont Brine site has had no effect on public drinking water supplies.

 

EPA mailed informational postcards to addresses within 1.5 miles of the site on 12/12/2023. The postcards provide resident's with current information regarding the site, and contact information to address potential concerns. A digital version of the postcard is uploaded in the documents section of this website. 

 

 

November 2023

Based on current radiological data obtained at the Fairmont Brine site, none of the data collected suggests that there are measurable health impacts to the public resulting from the May 2023 fire. Individuals that would like to discuss specific health concerns may reach out to the West Virginia Department of Health (WVDH), Bureau for Public Health's Office of Environmental Health Services Radiological Health Program at 304-558-2981.

 

The only verified assessments of the site at this time are those which have been undertaken by responding federal and state agencies. These assessments did confirm the presence of radioactivity originating from radium 226, with the highest dose rate at 3 mrem per hour in one location. This dose rate, although one of concern, would not cause immediate health effects. However, exposure over a lifetime to lower levels can cause an increase in cancer risk. For general information about relative doses from radiation sources, click here.

 

Current and future actions to restrict access to the site are also meant to mitigate long term exposures from radiation to trespassers, responders, and the public. By mid November a fence was erected as a safety protocol to ensure the areas in which the most elevated levels of radium 226 contamination were found remain undisturbed by preventing any unauthorized access. Click here to learn more about radiation contamination versus exposure.

 

September-October 2023

EPA and its contractors have posted "NO TRESPASSING" signs at the Site. Trespassers will be reported to law enforcement. EPA has established a public phoneline for additional questions and concerns pertaining to the site at (800) 438-2474. The phone line is staffed Monday - Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST. 

 

Click here to read the October 2023 press release with more information about the response and public resources.

 

May-August 2023

EPA is assisting the WV Department of Environmental Protection (WV DEP) with their response to the fire at FBP. EPA is coordinating with WV DEP, the WV Department of Health (WVDH), and Marion County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services to take actions to mitigate the release or potential release of hazardous substances from the facility. Click here for more information on how EPA responds to hazardous waste sites