Monday, November 23, 2015

DEP: Chesapeake Appalachia Fined $1.4 M Drill Pad Landslide In Greene County

The Department of Environmental Protection Monday announced Chesapeake Appalachia, LLC has agreed to a Consent Order and Agreement and will pay a fine of $1.4 million for violations of Pennsylvania’s Oil and Gas Act, Clean Streams Law and Dam Safety and Encroachments Act.  
As a result of the settlement, the company will restore waterways affected by the slide.
The violations stem from a landslide that occurred at the Stinger 8H gas well located in Aleppo Township Greene County at the well pad on September 15, 2011. The slide impacted seven unnamed tributaries of Harts Run.  Sediment from the slide filled more than a quarter-mile of streams below the well pad.
“DEP expects oil and gas operators to make all possible efforts to prevent violations from occurring and, if they do occur, to make timely efforts to restore all impacted resources,” said John Ryder, DEP’s Director for Oil and Gas Operations. “Washington and Greene Counties are within one of the most landslide-prone areas in the nation and this landslide resulted in a significant impact to habitat and impairment of our waterways.  Oil and gas operators must understand the landslide potential and exercise proper oversight in the design and construction of well sites to prevent slides from occurring.”
Although CALLC immediately began efforts to temporarily stabilize the site, the company was not able to complete permanent stabilization until July 26, 2014. DEP closely monitored the company’s efforts.  
However, the agency and the company initially could not agree on actions needed to permanently restore the streams impacted by the slide.
Through this agreement, DEP and CALLC have a permanent plan and schedule for the company to complete restoration work on the impacted waterways.
Beginning in March 2012, CALLC began to address the issues at the site, first by filing a plan to clean up the impacted streams, then to permanently stabilize the well pad slide area.  The stabilization plan was accepted by DEP, and in September 2013 work began on the permanent stabilization project.
While much of the work has been completed at the site, the COA stipulates that CALLC must remove the remaining sediment and stabilize the banks of the headwater tributaries to Harts Run by December 31, 2015.  
The company has until September 30, 2016 to complete restoration work of the Harts Run tributaries and improvements to an off-site stream.  If CALLC fails to comply with the stream restoration schedules, additional penalties will be assessed.
CALLC no longer operates the Stinger 8H well.  It is now under the control of Rice Drilling B, LLC.

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