Drilling leak leads to violation notice
A gas-drilling site leaked sediment above a drinking-water reservoir in Westmoreland County, leading state environmental regulators to issue a violation notice.
A solid, non-toxic substance seeped out of a hillside above Beaver Run Reservoir in Bell when drillers nearby bored through a previously unknown spring on July 21, officials at the Department of Environmental Protection and the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County said Wednesday. The substance was a grout that included the clay bentonite — a mix that drillers call liquid cement, officials said.
There were no signs that bentonite entered the drinking-water supply, according to testing done by the authority and a group the driller Consol Energy hired, said John Ashton, the authority's assistant manager. Consol officials told state inspectors they saw bentonite in the water, according to a preliminary report from the DEP, but state officials are reviewing the details, the department's regional spokesman John Poister said.
The company had workers dig a catch basin on the hillside and started pumping out the drainage within an hour after it noticed the problem, preventing impact on water supplies, Ashton said.
“What the public needs to know is that we're not worried about the water quality now,” Consol spokeswoman Lynn Seay said, calling the substance harmless. “We did everything we could to avert it” from entering the water supply.
Timothy Puko is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7991 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 â 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.