Oklahoma Energy Resources Board begins construction on 16,000th well site

Oklahoma Energy Resources Board begins construction on 16,000th well site

STEPHENS COUNTY, OK (KSWO) -The Oklahoma Energy Resources Board has broken ground on their 16,000th well site restoration.

It happened Wednesday in Stephens County. The OERB cleans abandoned well sites across the state at no cost to landowners. They get their funding from Oklahoma's oil and natural gas industry.

"This milestone is important," said Steve Sowers, OERB Environmental Director. "We spend about $111 million in cleaning up orphaned or abandoned sites."

OERB works closely with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. They go out, evaluate the sites and then contact OERB to evaluate and hire contractors. These abandoned sites can also be very dangerous.

"You have just a lot of debris that is left for livestock that are going to be issues of them getting caught in, tracking into it," said Sowers. "There's potential issues with that. Really our mission is to put them back in a useful state so we take those, remove the hazard, remove the issues, take care of what is out there and put it back into a productive and useful state."

OERB has cleaned 592 sites in Stephens County at a cost of $3.9 million and 33 sites in Comanche County at a cost of $153,000.
Most of the time, they turn these well sites into ponds for landowners, especially the ones that have cattle.

"It's the right thing to do," said Sowers. "The producers today are taking care of issues that they did not cause. They are very conscious about taking care of the issues that are out there and getting it back to where it is. It's important that we have positive relations with landowners."

"I think it's a great thing because it didn't cost me a penny and they did a good job," said landowner Brent Morgan. "You can see this has got good removed grass on here right now where they sprayed the grass back and it's much better. It doesn't even look the same."

If you have an abandoned well site issue on your land, you can visit OERB's website at http://www.oerb.com/about/staff.

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