DEP investigating drilling wastewater leak in Washington County
Salts from fracking water that seeped into the ground at a Range Resources facility in Washington County will land the energy company a violation notice and possibly a fine, the Department of Environmental Protection said on Friday.
“We, of course, are investigating,” DEP spokesman John Poister said of the incident Range reported this week. “We are unsure when it occurred or how much water got out.”
Range officials on Wednesday reported the leak at the John Day wastewater impoundment in Amwell. The discovery occurred as company employees were preparing to replace a liner in the inactive impoundment, Range spokesman Matt Pitzarella said. White residue on a subliner prompted the company to test the soil, which showed higher than usual levels of salts, he said.
“It signaled there was some sort of discharge, either a leak or a spill,” Pitzarella said. “We don't know which yet. That is what we are investigating.”
Range and other companies are required to report spills of more than a gallon to the state, Pitzarella said.
He said the impoundment, built around 2008, has been out of use since being cleaned last summer. Wastewater typically contained in such impoundments is either treated or filtered and is similar in composition to brine used to melt snow and ice on roads during winter, he said,
There are no drinking water wells in the area, Pitzarella said.
“There's no reason to believe there is a notable threat to the environment and no threat to the community,” Pitzarella said. “We are not happy these things happen, but they are very rare when they do occur.”
A DEP inspector deemed the damage “significant,” Poister said. A meeting is scheduled between state and company officials, at which plans to prevent such a leak from happening again will be discussed — as will a potential fine, Poister said.
A notice of violation has been issued or soon will be, he said.
Jason Cato is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7936 or email@example.com.
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.
- Starkey: Hockey hypocrites, unite
- Prime time not kind to Heinz Field
- Steelers offense puts up gaudy numbers in season’s 1st half
- State police trooper seriously hurt when hit by vehicle in East Huntingdon
- Steelers notebook: Roethlisberger, offense must adjust with CB Smith out
- Apple CEO Tim Cook: ‘I’m proud to be gay’
- Penguins veteran defenseman Scuderi’s game looking up
- Lifesharing allows families to open homes, hearts to disabled
- Range Resources reports $146M in Q3 profits on record Marcellus production
- Ferrante murder trial heads into day 6 with testimony on cyanide, Web searches
- Kiski Valley-based ring charged with hundreds of thefts over 10 communities