Drilling wastewater spill results in fine for Atlas Resources

Sponsored by

PITTSBURGH, PA, Aug. 17, 2010 -- The Department of Environmental Protection has fined Atlas Resources LLC $97,350 for allowing used hydraulic fracturing fluids to overfill a wastewater pit and contaminate a high-quality watershed in Hopewell Township, Washington County.

The violations were discovered on Dec. 5 and 6, 2009, at the Cowden 17 gas well on Old Trail Road off Route 844. Once the unknown quantity of fluid overflowed the impoundment's banks, it ran over the ground and into a tributary of Dunkle Run.

"It is unacceptable for drilling companies in Pennsylvania to threaten public safety or harm the environment through careless acts, such as this," DEP Southwest Regional Director George Jugovic Jr. said. "The Marcellus Shale offers significant economic opportunities for Pennsylvania, but these companies must adopt operating standards that prevent these sorts of accidents and they must make protecting our water resources a top priority."

This spill violated Pennsylvania's Oil and Gas Act and Solid Waste Management Act, as well as the state's Clean Streams Law. Atlas corrected the problem once it was discovered, but failed to report it to DEP.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a process during which liquid is pumped under high pressure down a well and into a rock formation. This causes the formation to crack open and form passages through which natural gas can flow into the borehole.

Properly cased and cemented wells prevent the fluid from entering ground water supplies. Diluted frack fluids are classified as residual waste under Pennsylvania's Solid Waste Management Act and industrial waste under the state Clean Streams Law.

###

Sponsored by

TODAY'S HEADLINES

Maryland WWTP's new solar array to serve as state's largest municipally-owned system

Standard Solar is set to install a 2.1-megawatt ground-mount solar system in Pocomoke City, Md., at the city's wastewater treatment facility. Once completed this December, it will be the largest municipally-owned system in the state.

Major Texas company to pay $1.6M civil penalty for CWA oil spill violations

The Department of Justice and the EPA have announced that Superior Crude Gathering has agreed to pay a civil penalty for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act stemming from a crude oil spill in 2010 from tanks at the company's oil storage facility in the town of Ingleside, Texas.

Bureau of Reclamation makes WaterSMART grants available to improve water, energy conservation

The Bureau of Reclamation is inviting states, tribes, water and irrigation districts, and other water- and power-related organizations to apply for funding to cost-share on projects that conserve and use water more efficiently, increase renewable energy use and improve energy efficiency.

Three major CA airports to receive new stormwater monitoring services, equipment under contract

Los Angeles World Airports has awarded a contract to Alta Environmental for consulting services up to $5 million for three years on an as-needed basis to improve stormwater monitoring for Los Angeles International Airport, Ontario International Airport and Van Nuys Airport.

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA