Over Wyre brinewell blast: Report due

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THE results of the investigation into last month’s brinewell blast at Preesall should be known by the end of the month.

The incident has prompted renewed calls for US-financed landowner Halite Energy, to scrap its multi-million pound gas store plan for the nearby Wyre bank and estuary, though the company is pressing on with the scheme.

Commenting on its investigations into incident, Halite’s chief executive Mr Keith Budinger said: “During the past week we have been making good progress with our technical assessment which will determine the cause of the brine well incident.

“Following the reduction of air pressure within the wellhead, we have now been able to remove the well cover flange, giving us safe access to the casing so that a detailed investigation of the casing and cavern can be undertaken.

“A new wellhead has been installed and a palisade fence has now been erected around the wellhead to provide additional security.

“In conjunction with the Environment Agency we have been continuing to take samples of water and soil from the affected area. Once we have the results of these tests we will be discussing remediation options with the Environment Agency.

“We remain confident that we will establish the reasons behind this incident and will be making our report available to the local community and the 19 agencies that have been involved by the end of July.

“Once again I apologise for the worry and inconvenience this has caused and if anyone has any specific concerns they should contact our Kirkham office on 01772 672244 or email community@halite.net,” he said.

• Halite has confirmed its experts told a public meeting at Stalmine several weeks prior to the blast that the field affected by the incident was “safe.”

In a letter to a Preesall resident, seen by The Courier, Mr Budinger, says that view was based on Halite’s ongoing tests and monitoring.

He adds: “I cannot comment on the validity of these tests in relation to the failure of the brinewell until I have the findings of the technical assessment.”