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SHALE GAS DRILLING AROUND A
COUNTY PARK FISHING LAKE
Cross Creek Lake
Fracking issues around Cross Creek Lake, the premiere
Washington County, Pa. fishing lake


 

Cross Creek Lake vs. Fracking
Clearcut in Cross Creek Park for more Marcellus drilling
Trees were clear-cut for another Marcellus Shale well pad
in the park in August 2011. Six wells were later
drilled at this location in Hopewell Township.
This was one of the nicest mature stands of
timber in Cross Creek County Park.


December 2014 map
This map shows how much gas well development has occurred in and around Cross Creek County Park in the 10 years since the first surface gas lease was signed by Washington County Commissioners. By 2014, this development included six gas well pads inside the county park.


CROSS CREEK LAKE FISH KILLS

Fish Kill 2009
Loose bolts on two flanges of a pipeline carrying toxic flowback 3-1/2 miles to the Lowry wastewater impoundment allowed an estimated 4,200 gallons of fluid to escape causing a fish kill from the discharge of brine/wastewater into the waters of the Commonwealth. The operator also failed to immediately report the incident.

Pa DEP Fine

Permit Num: 125-23165
Municipality: Hopewell
County: Washington
Well Name: Cross Creek County Park 14H
Company: Range Resources
Incident Date: 5/27/2009
Inspection Date: 5/27/2009
Fine Date: 2009-10-28

Fine: $23,500
Group Fine: No 

Violation: Spill; a company contractor was walking along a pipeline that was conveying hydraulic fracturing flowback fluid from a well site located in Cross Creek County Park to a large impoundment when he noticed that couplings that held the pipeline together in two locations near the well site were leaking fluid onto the ground, down a hill and into an unnamed tributary of Cross Creek, a high quality watershed; an inspection found that the flowback fluid, as well as sediments that flowed with it, entered the creek and killed both invertebrates and fish along the length of the unnamed tributary; the company estimated that about 4,200 gallons of the flowback fluid spilled onto the ground and the creek; though the company contractor discovered the spill at 1:30 p.m., state personnel weren't called until 5:15 p.m., in violation of state law.
Response: Company said that the two couplings that leaked both had three bolts on them loosened, though the company could not say how or why; the company immediately tried to contain and recover as much of the spill as possible, setting up check dams in the unnamed tributary and sucking up what of the flowback fluid it could; impacted soil and sediment was excavated and disposed of in a landfill and the areas were later reseeded; because of this the company stopped using couplings on its pipelines, and inspections of pipelines were increased.

Lowry Centralized Impoundment:

Pa. Dept. of Environmental Protection documents:


Fish Kill 2015
Some blamed this event on spawning stress. The problem with that theory according to fish experts is that Crappies and Bass died in addition to Bluegills. Even though the timing of this fish kill was close to Bluegill spawning, Crappies spawn several weeks earlier.

 
Look for other reasons for fish kill

By George H. Block
Sunday Outdoors Column
Observer-Reporter
May 30, 2015

I, like many, read with interest the article about the dead fish found at Cross Creek Lake. It seems an angler found quite a few dead bluegill and crappie along the shoreline and reported it to the proper authorities.

Note: Photos provided by independent photographer who reported seeing hundreds of dead fish near the headwaters of the lake

As I understand after reading the Observer-Reporter, the cause was blamed on post-spawn stress, which I, along with many others, find hard to believe. I must say, in all honesty, I have never seen it, even though I am an avid fisherman.

Fish kill at Cross Creek County Park
Cross Creek Lake photo provided

I make it my business to fish many a small farm pond and all of them hold a good number of bluegill, and a few are also home to crappie. There are a few ponds I stocked with these fish that I caught in one local pond and released into another.

I am familiar with both of these panfish, and my first thought was the two don’t spawn at exactly the same time. I am not a biologist, though I have a grandson who is. Even a nonprofessional who spends a lot of time pursuing fish can have an opinion.

Crappie spawn when water temperatures reach 56 to 59 degrees. The bluegill require waters to reach slightly higher temperatures and spawn when waters reach 67 degrees.

Cross Creek Lake fish kill
Cross Creek Lake photo provided

These temperatures are what trigger the spawn and are far enough apart to spread spawn time to about three to four weeks in a normal season. With that spread, it seems unlikely both would die of post-spawn stress at the same time.

Also, the carcasses of dead fish can disappear pretty quickly as every local beast, fowl and crayfish gobble them up. Just maybe we should be looking in another direction for the cause of this fish kill.

As I said, it’s just an opinion.

Story

 
Pa DEP follow-up on 2015 Fish Kill
June 11, 2015 - Biologists and the water quality specialist from the Pa. Department of Environmental Protection Southwest Regional Office investigated the fish kill at Cross Creek Lake and conducted water testing at 10 locations. Dead bluegill and crappie were found at sites 1, 2, 3 & 4 near the headwaters of the lake. The pH was over 9 (very alkaline) at sites 8, 9 & 10, so the water quality specialist plans to investigate further.

Lake Surface Water Test Results:

Surface Site Temp (C⁰) Conductivity Dissolved Oxygen pH
1 21.52 345 10.85 8.6
2 21.39 346 10.94 8.27
3 21.07 347 10.78 8.18
4 21.66 341 10.81 7.68
5 21.67 337 10.88 8.02
6 22.03 335 10.76 8.04
7 21.93 334 10.78 8.07
8 21.89 340 10.43 9.3
9 22.02 339 10.54 9.59
10 22.11 338 10.64 9.11
Source: Pa. DEP

pH Scale:
Surface water tests results of 9.11, 9.3 and 9.59 (above) would put the pH of that "very alkaline" lake water pH somewhere between Baking Soda and Milk of Magnesia

Note: This pH chart is being provided to help understand the Pa. DEP water test results. The pH scale is logarithmic meaning pH 9 is 100-times more alkaline than pure water.

Acidic Times more acidic or
alkaline than pH7
pH Example
10,000,000 0 Battery Acid
1,000,000 1 Hydrochloric acid
100,000 2 Vinegar, Lemon Juice
10,000 3 Grapefruit, Orange Juice
1,000 4 Acid Rain, Tomato Juice
100 5 Black Coffee
10 6 Saliva, Urine

Neutral

-- 7 Pure Water
Alkaline 10 8 Sea Water, Saltwater
100 9 Baking Soda
1,000 10 Milk of Magnesia
10,000 11 Ammonia Solution
100,000 12 Soapy Water
1,000,000 13 Bleach, Oven Cleaner
10,000,000 14 Lye, Caustic Soda

  Lake Bottom Water Test Results:
 

Bottom Site Temp (C⁰) Conductivity Dissolved Oxygen /
Depth from initial site
pH
1 15.4 371 11.61 / 16 ft. 7.95
2 20.91 350 9.65 / 10 ft 8.02
3 - - Only surface -
4 21.56 342 10.47 / 10 ft 8.11
5 21.58 338 10.58 / -- 8.2
6 21.76 335 11.12 / -- 7.97
7 5.87 412 2.11 / -- 7.41
8 8.65 401 1.27 / -- 7.6
9 19.61 348 12.29 / -- 9.14
10 22.13 314 11.33 / -- 9.38
Source: Pa. DEP

  Map showing water test site locations:

 

 

 


 


 
ALTERNATIVE WASTE DISPOSAL
IN CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK

(aka 'the toxic teabag method')
was used on the Slush Pit for wells #6H & #8H
inside
Cross Creek County Park, as well
as other well pads in the park!

Below is part of the well completion report on file with the Pa. Department of Environmental Protection for Cross Creek County Park wells #6H & #8H:

March 10, 2003 Lease – Pages 35 & 36
Burial of a slush pit aka ‘Alternative Waste Disposal’
was a clear violation of the park's original lease:

“All trash, rubbish, or waste materials from each drilling site shall be removed and disposed of in a properly licensed solid waste site.  All pits shall be filled with earth and developed per County specifications at Lessee’s expense upon completion of each well.”

Cross Creek Park lease (3/10/03 PDF-99KB)
Cross Creek Park lease modification
(2/2/12 PDF-463KB)

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO COUNTY TAXPAYERS?
 

In the words of a professional hydrogeologist in September 2012:

1) Current oil and gas regulations permit on-site disposal, in pits, of wastes generated by the drilling or production of an oil or gas well that is located on the site where the waste is disposed (25 PA. Code 78.62).  In Pennsylvania this waste is designated as residual waste, which is a solid waste.

2) Residual waste is most commonly disposed of in permitted solid-waste landfills subject to operating and monitoring requirements consistent with those specified for Subtitle D facilities in regulations developed under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA); many/most States now have primacy over this portion of the RCRA regulations, and have developed their own solid waste regulations that meet RCRA requirements.

3) For the disposal of drilling wastes, the oil and gas companies are exempted from the RCRA regulations and, by that, also the State solid-waste regulations, and the current requirements applicable for the on-site disposal of drilling wastes would not meet the requirements specified under RCRA.

4) At well sites where residual wastes have been disposed in pits there is no current regulatory requirement that the location(s) of the buried wastes be permanently marked in the field.  Consequently, after sites have been “restored” (graded, seeded, etc.), the locations of the buried waste pits become forgotten.  In some cases land owners may not even be aware that wastes were buried on their property.

5) Requirements specified under Pa. Code 78.62(a)(16) state that “Puncturing or perforating of the liner [used to encapsulate the buried wastes] is prohibited”.  There is no timeframe attached to this regulatory provision, so it applies as long as the wastes remain buried at a site (in most cases, essentially forever).

6) Individuals intentionally, and possibly inadvertently, digging into the buried waste would be in violation of 78.62(a)(16) and potentially subject to enforcement actions by the PADEP.  Also, if a property on which wastes were buried were to be sold, there potentially is a legal issue relating to disclosure of the presence of buried wastes, which could affect both the value of the property (e.g., possibility of soil/water contamination) and the ability/cost to subsequently develop the property (e.g., possible necessity to remove and properly dispose of wastes prior to development).

7) Considering that wastes may be buried as shallow as 18 inches below land surface (78.62(a)(17)), the potential to dig or plow into a liner is substantive, especially since the exact location(s) of the buried waste pits may be unknown, or because future owners may have no knowledge that wastes were buried on the property that was acquired.  Once a buried liner is breached there arises the question of financial liability to repair same.

8) Owners of property on which drilling and waste disposal have occurred may not be aware that wastes were buried on site, as there is no requirement that the boundaries of buried waste pits be permanently marked, nor a specific requirement that property owners be informed of buried waste areas.  However, in the event of future problems/issues, it is likely that the burden of proof and financial liability will go to the property owner, especially if considerable time has passed since the wastes were buried.

9) A way to protect both property owners and prospective buyers from liabilities associated with buried wastes is by recording of Deed Restrictions or Environmental Covenants that clearly designate areas where wastes were disposed, the type(s) of material that was buried, and specific prohibitions on disturbances of the buried wastes.  There is a sound argument that such Deed Restrictions or Environmental Covenants should be retroactive, because wastes buried ten years ago have the same potential to cause problems as do wastes buried more recently.

Finally, the recording of Deed Restrictions or Environmental Covenants, noting the presence and locations of buried wastes, are about the only means to ensure enforcement the existing regulation prohibiting the puncturing or perforating of a buried liner (78.62(a)(16)), and the environmental protectiveness that this regulation is intended to provide, all be it minimal.  Else, it is likely that, at a majority of the properties where wastes have been buried, owners will not be aware of areas where digging is prohibited.  It also raises a question as to whether locations of buried wastes should be included in the inventories maintained in the Pa. One-Call system, through which buried utilities are identified prior to excavation.

Summary: The drilling fields in the State of Pennsylvania substantial volumes of waste material, not well characterized as to chemical make-up, have been buried at the drilling sites, with no subsequent monitoring to identify environmental impacts, no permanent field markers to delineate where wastes were buried, and no requirement that land deeds include a notice that wastes were buried on the property.  There is virtually no question that some number of these buried waste impoundments leak contaminants to the surrounding soil and groundwater.  However, because there is no regulatory requirement to monitor same, the scope/magnitude of environmental impacts is largely unknown.  If, in the future, environmental degradation is discovered, the burden of proof regarding cause and effect will very likely go to the property owner.

The technical information above was presented to the Washington County Commissioners on October 4, 2012 at their regular meeting. It was 2-1/2 years later when a response was finally issued: 

Excerpts from a June 12, 2015 letter from Scott H. Fergus, Director of Administration, Washington County, PA addressing the information provided by the professional hydrogeologist:

"Violation of the lease – There is no violation of the lease including the provision that covers the removal of trash, rubbish and waste. The lease does not, and for the reasons set forth below, cannot control the manner of gas development and production since that part of the permitting process is controlled by DEP."

"As it relates to specific questions, comments or concerns related to the responsible development of shale gas in the park, those are matters regulated by the state Department of Environmental Protection. Part of our due diligence in being responsible stewards of the park is to understand the process in place that properly and adequately regulate oil and natural gas. The issues raised and inspection and regulation of drilling has been preempted by the state legislature and assigned to DEP, and as such, even if we wanted, it is not a County function."

 
Cross Creek County Park Lease, Section 3.1


slush pit
 


This newspaper article gives us a clue as to why drillers might like to bury these Marcellus Shale slush pits all over Pennsylvania...

REJECTED WASTE TAKEN TO IDAHO
By Tara Kinsell, Observer-Reporter

July 11, 2013 - “Rice Energy has informed us that they have removed the roll-off boxes containing the TENORM material,” said John Poister, spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. “They have provided us documentation that the material was sent to a U.S. Ecology site in Idaho for proper disposal.” TENORM is an acronym for technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material. It occurs when the levels of radioactivity that are present naturally are increased by human activities. The Rice Energy truck carrying the drill cuttings from a Center Township (Greene County, PA) well site set off the radiation warning system on April 19 while entering Max Environmental. The truck was immediately quarantined and tested to determine what type of radiation it contained, according to Poister. It was determined that the drill cuttings contained Radium 226 at a level of 96 microrem (mrem).

MORE: Radioactive Marcellus Shale

VIDEO: Shale Gas & Oil Radioactive Wastes from the Marcellus and Utica Shales

What are they, how are they managed, and should we be concerned? (1:09:24)


September 19, 2014
Photos of another drilling pad inside the park
Cross Creek County Park gas well sign
 
Cross Creek County Park gas wells
 
Cross Creek County Park drilling pad
 
Cross Creek County Park no trespassing area
 
Cross Creek County Park Range Resources
 

 

May 19, 2014 Photos
 
 
 

Cross Creek Park chemicals for fracking
Cross Creek Park Frack Chemicals

 
 
 
 

- October 11, 2012 Update -
Aerial view of the entire 2,800 acre park
and 244 acre fishing lake with
gas drilling highlights

Cross Creek Park - Washington County Pa - Fall 2012
YouTube (9:43)

 
 
 

 
September 14, 2012
Video of the excavation work for the 2nd of 7
drilling pads to be excavated within 8 years

Drill Rigs replacing Trees
YouTube (3:52)
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cross Creek Lake dam
Breastworks of Cross Creek Lake
"
No fracturing of rock will be allowed within a 3,000 foot radius
of the dam, for all strata above the top of the Onondaga
Formation unless otherwise approved in writing."
From the original lease dated March 10, 2003
 
 
 
June 2011 photo
First of seven drilling pads will include 6 wells: 48H-53H
(Originally permitted as 35-39H)
 
 

    
CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK
WASHINGTON COUNTY

WELLS ARE LOCATED IN CROSS CREEK
TOWNSHIP & HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP

RANGE RESOURCES APPALACHIA, LLC

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK
 

PENNSYLVANIA DEP PERMITS:

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 5 OG WELL  125-22618  Hopewell Twp
Permitted 3-
7-07   GPS: 40.25072 -80.3786

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 6H OG WELL  125-22830  Cross Creek Twp
Permitted 8
-3-07   GPS: 40.26283 -80.3881

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 7H OG WELL  125-22861  Cross Creek Twp
Permitted 8-7-07   G
PS: 40.26091 -80.3906
11/24/09 Incident- Response to Accident or Event - No violations noted

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 8 OG WELL  125-22793  Cross Creek Twp
Permitted 7-25-0
7   GPS: 40.26283 -80.388

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 9H-A OG WELL  125-22668  Cross Creek Twp
Well Plugging Notice Intent to Plug Single Well
Permitted 7-2
5-07   GPS: 40.26102 -80.3907

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 10 OG WELL  125-22860  Cross Creek Twp
Permitted 8-31-07   GPS: -- --

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 14H OG WELL  125-23165  Hopewell Twp
Permitted 5-23-08   GP
S: 40.24666 -80.3813  PDF

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 15H OG WELL  125-23182  Hopewell Twp
Permitted 5-29-08   G
PS: 40.24666 -80.3813  PDF

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 16H OG WELL  125-23300  Hopewell Twp
Permitted
10-9-08   GPS: 40.24669 -80.3813  PDF

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 17H OG WELL  125-24743  Cross Creek Twp
Permitted 4-9-12   GPS: 40.263508 -80.408856

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 18H OG WELL  125-24744  Cross Creek Twp
Permitted 4-9-12   GPS: 40.263567 -80.408778

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 19H OG WELL  125-24754  Cross Creek Twp
Permitted 4-13-12   GPS: 40.263625 -80.408703

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 19H OG WELL  125-24054  Cross Creek Twp
Permitted 4-1
-10   (125-23631  3-23-09)   GPS: 40.26359 -80.4088

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 20H OG WELL  125-24055  Cross Creek Twp
Permitted 4-1-10   (125-23630  Permitted 2-4-09)   GPS: -- --

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 21H OG WELL  125-24056  Cross Creek Twp
Permitted 4-14-10   (125-23629  Permitted 3-23-09)   GPS: -- --

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 22H OG WELL  125-24057  Cross Creek Twp
Permitted 4-14-10   (125-23628  Permitted 3-19-09)   GPS: -- --

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 25H OG WELL  125-23859  Cross Creek Twp
Permitted 9-11-09  
GPS: 40.26106 -80.391
11/24/09 Incident- Response to Accident or Event - No violations noted

CROSS CREEK WELL SITE 35-39H  ESX10-125-0105  Hopewell Twp
Permitted 1-10-11 & 9-30-11

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 35H OG WELL  125-24404 Hopewell Twp
Permitted 4-13-2011  
GPS: 40.24378 -80.411

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 36H OG WELL  125-24405 Hopewell Twp
Permitted 4-13-2011  
GPS: 40.24385 -80.4111

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 39H OG WELL  125-24376  Hopewell Twp
Permitted 2-28-2011   G
PS: 40.24371 -80.411

CROSS CREEK WELL SITE  41-44H  ESX11-125-0078  Hopewell Twp
Permitted 1-7-13  GPS: 40.255872 -80.373256

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 41H OG WELL 125-26980  Hopewell Twp
Permitted 3-4-13  GPS: 40.254722 -80.378031

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 42H OG WELL 125-26928  Hopewell Twp
Permitted 1-7-13  GPS: 40.254772 -80.377906

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 43H OG WELL 125-26981  Hopewell Twp
Permitted 3-4-13  GPS: 40.254847 -80.377956

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 44H OG WELL 125-26982  Hopewell Twp
Permitted 3-4-13  GPS: 40.254919 -80.378003

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 45H OG WELL  125-24745  Cross Creek Twp
Permitted
4-13-12   GPS: 40.263433 -80.408753

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 46H OG WELL  125-24746  Cross Creek Twp
Permitted 4-13-12   GPS: 40.263489 -80.408678

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 47H OG WELL  125-24747  Cross Creek Twp
Permitted 4-13-12   GPS: 40.263547 -80.4086

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 48H OG WELL  125-24720  Hopewell Twp
Permitted 4-2-12   GPS:
40.243936 -80.411025

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 49H OG WELL  125-24721  Hopewell Twp
Permitted 4-2-12   GPS:
40.244006 -80.411081

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 50H OG WELL  125-24722  Hopewell Twp
Permitted 4-2-12   GPS:
40.243994 -80.410903

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 51H OG WELL  125-24723  Hopewell Twp
Permitted 4-2-12   GPS:
40.244078 -80.411139

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 52H OG WELL  125-24724  Hopewell Twp
Permitted 4-2-12   GPS:
40.244133 -80.411017

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 53H OG WELL  125-24725  Hopewell Twp
Permitted 4-2-12   GPS:
40.244064 -80.410958

More on Cross Creek Park

Original Cross Creek Park lease (PDF-99KB)
  

Marcellus well drilling activities
in Cross Creek Park during
2009 and 2010
Winter 2009-2010
Horizontal drilling of Marcellus wells in the park
  
Row of frack tanks in Cross Creek Park
Considerable acreage was removed from
public use by drilling activities
 
Marcellus drilling pad
Drilling pad with some of the
frack tanks remaining  
  
Well signs for 7H - 9H - 25H
  2010
No Trespassing signs were placed on access roads and well locations, removing a considerable amount of acreage from public access. No Trespassing signs were moved back closer to the well locations in 2011, but the access road gates remained locked.
 
Pig launcher
  'Pig launcher' and pipes near
7H-9H-25H and 6H-8H
 
July 2011
Tank battery and other gas production equipment
on the restored 7H-9H-25H location
 
Solar panels and concrete barriers
around the well heads
 
 
 

 

Cross Creek 14H - 15H - 16H
drilled in early 2009
Cross Creek 14H - 15H - 16H condensate tank battery
  
Cross Creek 14H - 15H - 16H well location after restoration
 
Cross Creek Park Marcellus wells 14H - 15H - 16H battery of tanks, pipes and solar panels
 
 
 
 
 
 
young lungs at play
Images above & below:
A TRUE PARODY!
No tobacco smoke but toxic flares are OK?
dirty flare polluting the air
 
 
 
MORE

Cross Creek Park gas wells

 

 
  

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