Wednesday, July 28, 2021

FracTracker Alliance Releases Digital Atlas Showing The Impacts Of Natural Gas Development In Lycoming Creek Watershed

FracTracker Alliance has released a digital atlas showing the impacts of natural gas development in the Lycoming Creek Watershed located primarily in Lycoming County.

The Lycoming Creek watershed is part of a densely drilled cluster of unconventional natural gas wells in north central Pennsylvania.

The atlas includes a review of DEP's records as well as field work done by a group of 11 FracTracker staff and volunteers this past May presented in interactive maps, tables and narrative.

The digital atlas shows the location of 592 unconventional wells and proposed locations, compressor stations, water impoundments, surface water withdrawal sites, waste sites and the locations of violations.

The atlas also has a tool to compare these features between June 2014 and June 2021 that shows the build out of the natural gas industry.

FracTracker reports unconventional wells and well pads in the watershed were issued 634 violations between 2008 and June 28, 2021.

Most of the violations-- 545, or 86 percent are considered to negatively impact environmental health and safety, with the remaining 89 or 14 percent were assessed for administrative infractions.

Of the 634 total citations associated with unconventional wells and well pads: 41 (six percent) related to erosion and sedimentation concerns, which could harm aquatic life; 379 (60 percent) citations were for spills, leaks, or pollution discharges that degraded surface or groundwater; and 41 (six percent) were for other water issues. The remaining 173 (27 percent) violations were for various other shortcomings—most issued for improper handling of waste materials.

For these 634 violations, DEP collected fines totaling $2,460,700 from four operators. Range Resources leads the way with $1,461,000 in fines, followed by Seneca Resources with $600,000, East Resources with $380,700, and Chief Oil & Gas with $19,000. 

Overall, 259 wells reported using between 891,900 and 33,193,599 gallons of water as a base for their fracking chemical cocktail. 

Based on average water use and permit signs about 716 billion gallons of permitted water consumption for the 94 well pads in the watershed that have at least one well with an active, regulatory inactive, or plugged well status.

These numbers only represent the water consumed for hydraulic fracturing and don’t include any water used for pipeline hydrostatic testing, dust suppression on dirt and gravel roads, or any other purpose.

DEP reported 18 incidents where the agency determined there was a loss of water quality and quantity in private water supplies because of oil and gas activities in the municipalities in the Watershed.

Oil and gas drillers reported generating 9,064,377 barrels (380.7 million gallons) of liquid waste and 416,248 tons of solid waste were generated in the drainage between January 2011 and April 2021.

There is record of 124 waste facilities in the Lycoming Creek watershed, including 121 well pads, one landfill, one residual waste processing facility, and one temporary storage site, pending future reuse or disposal.

The atlas contains a wealth of detailed information not summarized here.

Click Here to view the atlas.

For a wealth of information on oil and gas drilling, pipelines and related infrastructure, visit the FracTracker Alliance website.

(Photo: The symbols on the map show oil and gas drilling-related well pads and facilities in the Lycoming Creek Watershed.)
[Posted: July 28, 2021] 
PA Environment Digest

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