Diesel fuel spill in Greene County spurs state investigation
The state is investigating a Pittsburgh-based Marcellus shale-drilling company's diesel fuel spill that flowed from a Greene County well into Patterson Run unbeknownst to local officials.
Downtown-based EQT Corp., the parent company of Equitable Gas Co., spilled 480 gallons of diesel in Center Township in December, according to John Poister, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection. The spill occurred when diesel fuel was being transferred out of a temporary fuel tank, he said.
The spill is coming to light nearly three months later because, Poister said, the DEP is not required to notify local municipalities or alert the public. The entity responsible for the spill in such cases is required to notify the DEP, which EQT did, Poister said.
"Apparently, a worker was emptying fuel from this tank into a smaller tank at night and didn't realize it was leaking," said Poister.
However, officials in Center and Morris, where Patterson Run is located, said they should have been notified by either the DEP or company.
"Absolutely ... the township and the fire department should have been notified of that in case it was a problem," said Edward "Butch" Deter, chairman of the township's board of supervisors, who is also president of the Center Township Volunteer Fire Department, Co. 91.
The DEP began its investigation Dec. 8, the day of the spill, and has issued the company a notice of violation. A fine likely will follow, Poister said.
Most of the spill was cleaned within 24 hours using soil excavation, liquid vacuuming and absorbent pads, EQT spokeswoman Karla Olsen said.
The company also notified the National Response Center, which is the federal point of contact for reporting oil and other chemical spills, and local landowners, Olsen said.
"Soil and stream sample results collected Dec. 9 indicated that no impacts remained in the excavated areas or the surface waters downstream from the spill location," she said.
The DEP has reviewed EQT's samples and will return to take more soil samples before the investigation is complete, Poister said.
Spills of this nature are not unusual, he said. But, "anytime there is a contamination of a high-quality waterway ... that's taken very, very seriously," he said.
EQT leases the Center property from a private owner, Deter said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Unsung backups provide boost for Steelers defensive line
- Penguins lose hard-fought game to Blue Jackets in overtime
- Former Pirates pitcher Happ agrees to $36 million, 3-year deal with Blue Jays
- Starkey: Flashback Friday for Pitt
- Puppy, pals come to rescue of Lower Burrell firefighters
- Body found in Allegheny River in Harrison
- Gilbert, son of ex-Pitt football standout, commits to Panthers
- Unabashed church pastors put politics front and center
- Pitt falls flat in finale loss to Miami
- Clairton among greatest WPIAL dynasties; Aliquippa, South Fayette close
- Contractor eyes early finish to work on New Stanton interchange of Interstate 70