Groundwater contaminated at vacant Range Resources facility in Washington County
A leak at a Range Resources facility in Washington County contaminated groundwater with low levels of chloride, likely leading to further citations against the energy company, the Department of Environmental Protection said on Wednesday.
“We need to do a lot more investigation to determine the extent of it,” said DEP spokesman John Poister. “Chloride is basically salt, which is corrosive. It kills vegetation, it kills other things. I wouldn't deem it as hazardous by itself, but nonetheless, it's something in the groundwater that doesn't belong there.”
Range spokesman Matt Pitzarella said the company is not concerned about the contamination at the inactive John Day impoundment in Amwell. No drinking water wells are in the area, he said.
“There's no reason to believe there is a notable threat to the environment, and (there's) no threat to the community,” Pitzarella said.
A monitor on Friday found the groundwater to be contaminated. Range Resources employees discovered the leak in April as they were getting ready to perform scheduled maintenance and upgrades. White residue on a subliner prompted the company to test the soil, which showed higher than usual levels of salts.
Crews removed 10,000 to 12,000 tons of soil, but Poister estimated the amount could reach 15,000 before clean soil is put down.
“We're juggling a lot of balls down there because we've got so much soil contamination,” Poister said.
The DEP has issued Range Resources a notice of violation of the Clean Streams Law and Solid Waste Management Act, Poister said. Additional citations and fines are likely, he said.
Though Poister said crews discovered a tear in the double-layer plastic liner that keeps the fracking brine above ground, Pitzarella said there was no evidence of a tear. Poister also said workers found the leak detection system crushed beneath the ground. Pitzarella said it was damaged as the soil was being removed.
Poister could not estimate when the cleanup will be finished. Rain — or the threat of rain — has slowed the process, he said.
The impoundment, built around 2008, has been out of use since being cleaned last summer.
State records show the DEP fined Range Resources $120,050 in 2013. Six other companies were fined more.
Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Hit sends Penguins’ Letang to hospital
- Veteran designation on Pennsylvania driver’s licenses loosely audited
- Downie’s goal, fight spark Penguins to win over Coyotes
- If you get this letter from the IRS, it’s legitimate
- Man rescued from sinkhole in McKeesport
- Lights go out for Earth Hour 2015
- Riverhounds win 1st season opener since 2008
- Pirates notebook: Polanco’s power outburst a matter of timing
- Starkey: Next frontier for Steelers offense
- Pitt’s Amara offers Vision of hope
- Matters of taste