The Department of Environmental Protection Monday announced WPX Energy Appalachia has agreed to a $1.2 million civil penalty for oil and gas violations that affected groundwater and private water supplies in Westmoreland County.
“One of DEP’s top priorities is to ensure that natural gas development does not have a detrimental impact on water resources in Pennsylvania,” said Acting DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “When leaks and other impacts do occur, the responsible party must remediate the damage and restore the resource.”
In September 2012, testing of five private water supplies indicated that they were impacted by a leak from an on-site impoundment into the groundwater at the Kalp wellsite in Donegal Township, Westmoreland County.
The impoundment was drained within a week of the leak being discovered. Affected households were provided bottled water and treatment systems have been installed. DEP is regularly evaluating those systems to ensure they are providing safe drinking water.
Marking the culmination of an investigation by DEP, the $1.2 million penalty has been paid to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Well Plugging Fund and is based on the impacts to the water supplies and the severity of the leak.In addition to the civil penalty, WPX is required to conclude the investigation into the extent of the impacts and remediate the site in accordance with Pennsylvania’s Land Recycling and Environmental Remediation Standards Act. This will include remediation of the soil, groundwater, and any surface waters impacted by the leak.
Drilling Pays $1.2 Million Following Water Contamination In Westmoreland