Tuesday, June 1, 2021

DEP: Olympus Energy Natural Gas Driller Fined $175,000 For Water Quality Violations In Allegheny County

On June 1, the Department of Environmental Protection announced it has executed a
consent assessment of civil penalty (CACP) with Olympus Energy, LLC for erosion and sedimentation violations that occurred in 2019 at the operator’s Plutus well pad and Ceto tank pad located in Elizabeth Township, Allegheny County. 

DEP assessed and collected a $175,000 civil penalty. 

On March 22, 2019, during construction of the site, sediment laden water flowed past erosion and sedimentation control best management practices (BMPs), outside the permitted limit of earth disturbance, and into an unnamed tributary to the Youghiogheny River. 

Numerous erosion and sedimentation BMPs were improperly implemented and/or maintained and some BMPs were not constructed in accordance with the operator’s erosion and sedimentation control general permit authorization for earth disturbance associated with oil and gas exploration, production, processing, or treatment operations or transmission facilities (ESCGP-2). 

On several occasions from April 2019 to September 2019, areas of the site were not temporarily stabilized, additional erosion and sedimentation BMP failures caused accelerated erosion and sedimentation on the site, sediment from the site was deposited outside the permit boundary, and sediment laden water overtopped a BMP and entered an unnamed tributary to the Youghiogheny River. 

Additionally, some required signage was missing, and some signage installed at the site did not contain all the required information. 

During this same timeframe, Olympus removed sediment and repaired or replaced the site’s erosion and sedimentation BMPs that were not functioning as required. 

On March 16, 2020, DEP approved a modification to the Plutus ESCGP-2 allowing Olympus to complete the remaining repairs at the site. 

As of June 16, 2020, all work was finished in accordance with the modified permit, and DEP found that all violations had been corrected. 

Olympus has paid a $175,000 civil penalty into the Oil and Gas Program Fund. 

Click Here for a copy of the agreement.

Media questions should be directed to Lauren Fraley, DEP Southwest Regional Office, 412-442-4203 or send email to: lfraley@pa.gov

[Posted: June 1, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

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