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

Local orgs praise EPA for advancing affordability framework for municipal CWA requirements

The EPA released a "Financial Capability Assessment Framework for Municipal Clean Water Act Requirements," which was the result of nearly two years of discussions with representatives of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, National League of Cities and National Association of Counties.

New Zealand farms improve demanding effluent transfers with progressing cavity pump

NOV Mono has provided a Mono progressing cavity pump to replace a number of centrifugal pumps at Castle Glen Farms in the town of Foxton, New Zealand, in an effort to transfer animal effluent over considerable distances.  

Dutch water company to generate 2MW after sludge pre-treatment upgrade

Waterboard Vechtstromen has awarded Cambi a contract to construct a new Thermal Hydrolysis Process plant in the city of Hengelo, the Netherlands.

Time to end the UK water “postcode lottery”, says the Labour Party

Shadow environment secretary Maria Eagle will announce Labour’s plans to introduce a mandatory ‘National Affordability Scheme’, should they be elected next May...

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA