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Our look at
SEEPS, LEAKS & SPILLS

Some negatives of drilling for natural gas


MAJOR PA. INTERSTATE CLOSED DUE
TO FRACKING TANKER SPILL

July 21, 2013 - (PGH POST-GAZETTE)  Interstate 70 has reopened after a tanker spilled an unknown quantity of hydrochloric acid around 11:45 a.m., which prompted the voluntary evacuation of restaurants at the Smithton truck stop. The interstate was reopened about 4:14 p.m.
(Photo: Tanker truck like the one that CLOSED a major interstate for over 4 hours!)

Halliburton acid tanker

 

Yellow triangles with ! marks indicate violations
Source: FracTracker

 


DEP gas drilling violations database


List of some Pennsylvania incidents:

List of some West Virginia incidents:


   
Natural Gas, as an end fuel, may burn cleaner than coal, but don't let anyone tell you that drilling for natural gas isn't dirty and has its share of seeps, leaks and spills.
  
The air pollution from thousands of trips by heavy diesel trucks, the constant running of diesel-powered equipment and extensive travel by drilling personnel in full-size pick-up trucks, all add to the air pollution problem that already existed in Washington County, Pennsylvania before they got here. The main reason residents have to burn that special fuel every summer in their vehicles.
  
Just as gas drilling has created new problems with our drinking water, adding to our existing air pollution problem is yet another case of tipping the apple cart. Washington County and Allegheny County are two of worst 35 counties in the United States for air pollution. All this drilling activity seriously impacts an existing problem.
  
When you add to this all the water pollution caused by drilling activities, you begin to understand that you are looking at a heavy industry, with many of the traditional pollution problems, as well as many others you might never expect.
  
We'll call this Marcellus-Shale.us page Seeps, Leaks & Spills. Stuff you probably didn't see before, not even in the newspapers or on the TV news (..is anyone covering this story??).
  
Newcomers to Marcellus Shale from the gas drilling industry need to know that engaged citizens in Pennsylvania and other states are watching their every move, and that we demand accountability and responsibility. Nothing less will do.
  
If you aren't already an Engaged Citizen, become one now. Begin monitoring suspicious looking activity around drilling sites and streams. Report all suspicious incidents you see to 911 or the Pennsylvania DEP right away. Keep asking the right questions. Stay alert.
   
  

WETZEL COUNTY, WV
MOBLEY GAS PLANT
FEBRUARY 5, 2013 CONSENT ORDER

$306,210 penalty for water pollution in West Virginia
PDF of Consent Order
 
 

WASHINGTON COUNTY
OCTOBER 31, 2011
Hopewell Township, Washington County, Pa
Temporary wastewater line breaks, spills 16,800 gallons

 
 16,800 gallons of drilling water spills

Observer-Reporter
November 1, 2011

An estimated 400 barrels, equal to 16,800 gallons, of recycled water used for natural gas drilling spilled along Farrar School Road in Hopewell Township Monday. The company was moving the line for the next step in a nearby well completion. The contractor attempted to remove the line with his excavator, causing the pipe to break.

By afternoon, the company was removing contaminated soil from the site and had also installed filter socks along the stream bed and a boom across the stream to keep any mud from getting into the tributary.

(Newspaper story link was removed)

(Note: The broken temporary pipeline connects the Rush Impoundment to the Kearns site)
 

Sign next to spill site:
Range Resources
Rush to Kearns Temp Water Line
Permit No. 12033754
Twp. Hopewell     County Washington
 
 
Scene of the spill
 
 
Excavators and filter socks
 
 
Excavated pit to trap wastewater
 
 
Stream at base of hillside
 
 
Soil saturated with wastewater
 
 
'Clinging' bubbles downstream from spill
 
 
WASHINGTON COUNTY
May 9, 2011
March 4, 2011
Blaine Township, Washington County, Pa
Blowout and spill polluted a high quality stream

Foamy substance in Buffalo Creek still a mystery

Observer-Reporter
May 12, 2011  3:12pm Update

Investigators now say they have not determined the cause or contaminant involved in a 15-mile spill into Buffalo Creek near Taylorstown Monday that stretched into West Virginia. However, a smaller spill March 4 in that creek in Washington County was identified as drilling mud containing bentonite related to construction of a pipeline by MarkWest Energy Partners of Southpointe.

May 15, 2011 Photos
Buffalo Creek along Brush Run Road (PA Rte 331)
Approx. GPS Location  40.198806,-80.430565

Pipeline accident, rain cited in Buffalo Creek spill

By Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Thursday, May 12, 2011

A pipeline accident and heavy rains led to clay and foam polluting at least 25 miles of Buffalo Creek in Washington County stretching to the Ohio border, according to the Pennsylvania DEP.

MarkWest Energy Partners had an incident called a "frack out" that the company reported to the Pennsylvania DEP on March 9, the spokesman said on Wednesday. Workers on March 2 had used the clay bentonite and the unidentified foaming agent to help bore a hole for a pipeline under the creek near Route 231 in Blaine, Washington County. The two substances seeped up into the streambed and likely were stirred up later during heavy rains.

Emergency officials in Brooke County, W.Va., responded to reports of foaming on Monday night and traced it to the Pennsylvania state border, where firefighters traced it into Blaine.

May 15, 2011 Photos
Buffalo Creek along Brush Run Road (PA Rte 331)

May 15, 2011 Photos
Buffalo Creek along Brush Run Road (PA Rte 331)


 

 

Buffalo Creek tributary
File photo of the same Buffalo Creek tributary in Hopewell
Township where a 10,500 gallon gas drilling
wastewater spill occurred on Oct. 6, 2009
 

 
 
 

BRADFORD COUNTY
ATGAS 2H OG WELL
April 20, 2011
LeRoy Township, Bradford County, Pa
Chesapeake Appalachia gas well blow-out

PA DEP fines driller $1.1 million over contamination, fire

May 17, 2011
By Laura Olson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

HARRISBURG -- State environmental officials have issued a nearly $1.1 million fine against Chesapeake Energy for water contamination in Bradford County and a February fire at its Avella site. Another $188,000 was assessed for the Avella tank fire that injured three workers. Two of those workers, who suffered burns, have since sued Chesapeake and two other companies working at the site.

Full story >>

Chesapeake suspends well completion operations

By C.J. Marshall, Staff Writer
Scranton Times-Tribune
April 22, 2011

Rory Sweeney confirmed at the drill site Thursday that Chesapeake has halted well completion operations in Pennsylvania and West Virginia until it can more fully assess the situation in Leroy Twp. DEP has been testing the water in Towanda Creek and an adjacent tributary, looking for such chemicals as chloride, sulfate, arsenic, barium, iron, magnesium, and strontium. Mr. Sweeney said Chesapeake will continue to drill wells in the eastern division, but seven crews responsible for the company's well completion operations have been put on stand-down status. He could not provide an exact number of wells affected by the decision, but explained that operations after the drilling - which includes the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, process - have been halted.

Full story >>

Chesapeake Hydrofracking Disclosure

ProPublica

List >>


Pennsylvania DEP Information:

ATGAS 2H OG WELL     SITE ID: 738481
Permit 015-21237 issued 9/30/10

CHESAPEAKE APPALACHIA LLC
PO BOX 18496
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK  73154

LOCATION
LEROY TOWNSHIP, BRADFORD COUNTY, PA



Chesapeake's Atgas 2H drilling pad in Bradford County
 

Vacuum tanker trucks parked onsite for spill clean-up
 

Two workers with hoses stretched from tanker trucks
 

This accident comes on the one year anniversary
of the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon
oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico

 

DEP tested the water in a tributary and Towanda Creek
for chemicals such as chloride, sulfate, arsenic, barium,
iron, magnesium, and strontium
 
 
 

WASHINGTON COUNTY
AVELLA, PA FIRE
February 23, 2011
Independence Township, Washington County, Pa
Chesapeake flowback tanks ignited injuring 3 workers
 

PA DEP fines driller $1.1 million over contamination, fire

May 17, 2011
By Laura Olson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

HARRISBURG -- State environmental officials have issued a nearly $1.1 million fine against Chesapeake Energy for water contamination in Bradford County and a February fire at its Avella site. Another $188,000 was assessed for the Avella tank fire that injured three workers. Two of those workers, who suffered burns, have since sued Chesapeake and two other companies working at the site.

Full story >>

 
Original KDKA-TV News Story & Video
 
 
 
 
 

WASHINGTON COUNTY
PLUM RUN ROAD
October 20, 2010
Chartiers Township, Washington County, Pa
DEP and others responded to a tanker truck
wreck and wastewater spill.

Fracking truck runs off road; contents spill

By Kathie O. Warco, Staff writer
Observer-Reporter
October 21, 2010


The driver of a tanker truck hauling liquid used in the Marcellus Shale hydraulic fracturing process was forced off a rural Chartiers Township road Wednesday morning and rolled down an embankment, spilling much of the 5,000 gallons in the tank.

Joshua M. Duell, 28, of Johnstown, was driving north about 6:45 a.m. on Plum Run Road about a mile from Brigich Road when he was reportedly forced off the road by a speeding Jeep traveling in the opposite direction, said Officer Rob Sumney. The other vehicle, driven by a woman, did not stop. Police were notified about 45 minutes after the crash occurred.

"Once the wheels went off the right side of the road, the tanker rolled down the embankment and emptied its contents into the field," Sumney said. "The side of the road gave way. There is no question he was forced off the road."

Duell was driving the tanker for Highland Trucking of Somerset. Representatives of the state Department of Environmental Protection, along with Weavertown Environmental Group and Range Resources, responded. Sumney said the fracking material was being hauled from a Range Resources site.

Responders quickly built a dam and put down booms about a mile downstream in Plum Run to catch the leaking substance, also known as flowback, said Katy Gresh, DEP spokeswoman.

The substance is used for fracking wells. Water and chemicals are mixed together for the fracking process, in which the liquid is forced at high pressure into wells drilled into the Marcellus, Gresh said. About 10 to 30 percent of it flows back out of the well and into a fracking pit where minimal treatment is done and then hauled to another site, where it is reused.

Vacuum trucks also were being used to remove some of the liquid. Gresh said the DEP is waiting for a report from the trucking company to determine how much of the liquid leaked from the tank, but a representative at the scene believed that much of the contents leaked out.

Several dead minnows were spotted in the creek. Gresh said a DEP biologist will assess the effects of the spill on the stream today. Samples will be taken before determining appropriate enforcement action.

Sumney asks that anyone who might have information on the other driver call police at 724-745-8030.

 
 
Plum Run spill site being cleaned up
 
 
White absorbent materials scattered about
 
 
Excavated soil in spill area
 
 
More absorbent roping near stream along with
a vaccuum hose from nearby tanker truck
 
 
Spill workers shoo cattle away from contaminated stream
 
 
Spill workers herding cattle away from the stream since
cattle like to drink salty brine wastewater
 
 
Highland Environmental vacuum truck removing
spilled fluids near a bridge further downstream
 
 
  Two more vacuum tanker trucks and a Weavertown Environmental
truck with a tarped dumpster near the clean-up activities
 
 
ALLEGHENY COUNTY
INDIANA TWP FIRE

July 23, 2010
Two fatalities in shallow gas well fire
 
 
 
 
 
     
WASHINGTON COUNTY
BRUSH RUN FISH KILL
OCTOBER 6, 2009
Hopewell Township, Washington County, Pa
  

  
October 10, 2009
OBSERVER-REPORTER

Range Resources said Friday that a temporary above-ground water transfer line connection failed Tuesday night and discharged about 250 barrels (10,500 gallons) of partially recycled flowback and fresh water into a small, unnamed tributary to Brush Run on private property in Hopewell Township.

The company said the water, which contained about 1 percent chloride salt, killed between 200 and 300 minnows but other aquatic species living in the tributary survived. Helen Humphreys, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Protection, said species including crawfish and frogs also were observed to be impaired or dying.

DEP officials inspected about four-tenths of a mile of Brush Run in the area of the spill. Brush Run is a high-quality stream under Pennsylvania law, meaning it meets standards of chemical and biological makeup that warrant special protection.

Documentation (PDF files from DEP)
Brush Run Creek - DEP Spill-Fish Kill Report
Brush Run Creek - DEP Lab Water Analysis
  

  
  
 
  
  
  
  
 
  

DEP Penalizes Range Resources $141,175 for Spill in High Quality Waterway

PITTSBURGH -- The Department of Environmental Protection has fined Range Resources $141,175 for an Oct. 6, 2009, spill of fluids from a gas drilling operation that killed fish and aquatic life in a high-quality waterway in Hopewell Township, Washington County. 

Approximately 250 barrels of diluted frac fluids were released from a broken joint in a transmission line and flowed into an unnamed tributary of Brush Run.  At least 168 small fish, primarily creek chubs and blacknose dace, and some salamanders and frogs were killed. 

Brush Run is designated as a high-quality, warmwater fishery under the state’s special protection waters program, which protects waterways that feature a rich and diverse aquatic life population due to the quality of the water.

In addition, Range Resources did not immediately notify DEP of the spill, a violation of its pollution, prevention and contingency Plan. 
  

  
  
 
 
 
  
DUNKARD CREEK FISH KILL
SEPTEMBER 1, 2009
Dunkard Creek, Mason-Dixon Line
Greene County, Pa & West Virginia
  

Click photo to view web page
  
  
  
 
 
  
WASHINGTON COUNTY
CHARTIERS RUN & ULLOM ROAD SPILL
AUGUST 13, 2009
Chartiers Township, Washington County, Pa
  
Ullom Road near Route 519
  
  
Temporary fluid line appears to be leaking... what is it carrying?
  
  
This vehicle was parked in the same area and carries a fuel tank in back
  
  
Weavertown Environmental Group (WEG) vehicles handling the spill
  
  
Absorbent material placed on the surface of the polluted stream
  
  
Plastic-lined dumpster onsite to collect the cleaned-up hazardous materials
  
 
Absorbent material along side of Ullom Road
 
  
The red color could indicate diesel fuel... from where?
Clean-up personnel weren't even sure when they were asked.
  
 
More of the weird looking mud you see near other local gas drilling sites
  
  
Rainbow-colored water a few hundred feet downstream from the spill
  
  
Weavertown Environmental Group crew scans the stream in front of the Washington County Firefighter Academy for signs of pollution from the spill downsteam
  
  
The crew won't have to look very far... this polluted water is just upstream from where the environmental clean-up crew is looking
  
 

WEG dumpster loaded and tarped
  
  
 
 
  
WASHINGTON COUNTY
CROSS CREEK LAKE FISH KILL
MAY 26, 2009
Hopewell Township, Washington County, Pa
  
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE

Waste from Marcellus shale drilling in Cross Creek Park kills fish

June 5, 2009
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  
A leaking waste water pipe from a Range Resources Marcellus shale gas well drilled in Washington County's Cross Creek Park has polluted an unnamed tributary of Cross Creek Lake, killing fish, salamanders, crayfish and aquatic insect life in approximately three-quarters of a mile of the stream.
  
The state Department of Environmental Protection said Range Resources reported the May 26 waste water discharge from a coupling on a 6-inch pipe running from a recently drilled well to a waste water impoundment.
  

 
 
Great Lakes is now Range Resources but the old sign hasn't been changed. These three horizontal wells are on the same drilling pad in this Washington County Park.
  
 
Cross Creek County Park
Washington County Parks & Recreation
  
  
Cross Creek Lake is the premier fishing lake in Washington County
  
  
When these three gas wells were being hydraulically fractured, a spill of "a couple thousand gallons" killed fish and aquatic life in Cross Creek Lake.
 
  
October 9, 2008 letter from the DEP reminding Range Resources they were drilling in a Special Protection Watershed before the drilling and fracing began.
  
  
  
Range Resources Consent of Civil Penalty (CACP) New!
(October 28, 2009 - PDF - 587KB)
  
DEP Inspection Report on Spill
(May 27, 2009 - PDF - 463KB)
  
Range Resources Incident Report on Spill
(June 3, 2009 - PDF - 650KB)
  
Spilled Pit Water DEP Analytical Report
(May 27, 2009 - PDF - 463KB)
 
 
 
 
     
WASHINGTON COUNTY
ULLOM ROAD POND
APRIL 20, 2009
Chartiers Township
Washington County, Pa
  
  
Below are three photos taken of a run-off area beside Ullom Road, just off Route 519, between Houston and Westland Pennsylvania. A new gas well was fracked 100 to 200 yards upstream from these marshy areas in the weeks just prior to when these photos were taken.
  
Vegetation Kill
Vegetation was killed in the run-off area of this marsh
  
  
Painted Black
Notice the black oily substance along the shoreline
  
  
Dead run-off area
This has the same appearance of vegetation
sprayed with a non-selective herbicide
  
  

 
 
    

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