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Company protects ground from spills

Mid-Ark Utilities seals oil well drill sites after pad installed

November 12, 2012
Morning Journal News

SALEM - Containment.

That's job number one for Mid-Ark Utilities and Rig Services a company that seals the oil well drill site right after the pad is installed and protects the ground from any spillage after the rig is up.

Mid-Ark is based in the small industrial park on South Range Road, next to Quaker City Motorsports Park and Jay Larouche, the supervisor for the Pennsylvania and Ohio operations, has been in Ohio for about a year.

Article Photos

Dakotah Anthony, left, and Jay Larouche run the Mid-Ark Utilities and Rig Services operations in Salem. The company’s local headquarters is on South Range Road, next to Quaker City Motorsports Park. Larouche is the supervisor for Pennsylvania and Ohio operations while Anthony is his field supervisor. Ten employees work for Mid-Ark which moved onto the property owned by Dan Swindell in September of 2011. The Arkansas-based company places heavy duty spill containment plastic on the well sites. (Salem News photo by Larry Shields)

The company is headquartered in Heber Springs, Ark. There are 10 full-time "hands" at the Salem operations including Field Supervisor Dakotah Anthony. Together Larouche and Anthony oversee the crew leaders and 11 Mid-Ark vehicles that service Chesapeake Exploration drill sites. Chesapeake subcontracts the drilling to Patterson UTI and Nomac.

Mid-Ark goes "wherever Chesapeake wants us," Larouche said, "and right now Chesapeake seems to be hitting Carroll County pretty hard." He said people around here should be happy that Chesapeake is the company drilling

because its such a stickler on safety and spills.

Anthony said Chesapeake is so fussy it chewed out a truck driver for emptying a Mountain Dew can on the ground from the truck cab. "What we do is all environmental containment," Larouche said, "We do hot-shot and roust-about work but our focus in containment."

Once through the well-site gate, Mid-Ark measures the pad and lays out the plastic from huge rolls containing anywhere from 7,000 to 15,000 square feet. "It depends on the rig size," Larouche said and the type of plastic they want. "Generally it's anywhere from 35,000 to 50,000 square feet for primary containment," he said, explaining it takes four to five hands, using "special equipment" about four hours.

Anthony said that time can be cut with an experienced crew. The plastic is spliced (more like welded) together using high-temperature $10,000 DemTech machines equipped with rollers and $7,000 hand seamer that looks like a giant soldering iron. All the crewmembers know how to operate the equipment, Anthony said, adding that "once you get the first plastic section down, the others follow."

Right up until it is what they call "bermed off." He added, "It's no that hard to burn through the plastic, but everyone knows what to do. This company's been doing this for 10 years now."

Setting the rig is the biggest part, he said, adding that means secondary containment. Mid-Ark seals off the ground under any building and equipment that might leak.

"Right and tight," Anthony said, noting the two people who started the company were plumbers who know how to make things tight.

Larouche said Mid-Ark does whatever it takes to get the job done and that can mean working anywhere on the clock. "Our job isn't rocket science," Larouche said. "But the hours and the weather will get to you before anything."

Usually that means four to seven days on the drill site, four days for the double derricks and seven for the triples, or a Patterson rigs. Mid-Ark can set the rig containment within a day and Larouche said the company provides free daily containment inspections.

"We pretty much pride ourselves just on containment," he said, adding there are other services like transporting equipment (extra frack tanks) from rigs or roustabouting, which basically includes anything in the oil field.

"But we concentrate on containment," Larouche said.

In Pennsylvania, Larouche had 25 employees and in Arkansas it was upwards of 35. He expects to hire a few more people in the spring.

Dakotah said, "When I started I worked 100-hour weeks. How the job goes depends on the guys you have ... (with a good crew) you can get the job done more efficiently."

For more information, visit

Larry Shields can be reached at



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