Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Conventional Oil & Gas Drillers Reported Spreading 977,671 Gallons Of Untreated Drilling Wastewater On PA Roads In 2021

More complete DEP records now show conventional oil and gas drillers reported spreading 977,671 gallons of untreated drilling wastewater on Pennsylvania's roads in 2021, according to an updated report by the
Better Path Coalition released Wednesday.

This brings the total of untreated wastewater reported spread on roads by conventional operators from 2018 through 2021 to 3,259,405 gallons.

A study released in May by Penn State University analyzed conventional drilling wastewater spread on roads for 31 chemicals and pollutants and found 25 of the parameters exceed, and in many instances far exceed, established health or environmental standards.  Read more here.

These parameters include harmful pollutants like barium, strontium, lithium, iron, manganese, Total Dissolved Solids and radioactive radium.

In December, the Department of Environmental Protection determined the road dumping of untreated conventional drilling wastewater did not meet state Residual Waste regulations for co-products and was therefore being done illegally, although it is still being done according to reports from the field.  Read more here.

The updated Moratorium Morass briefing report released by the Better Path Coalition found eight more companies were added to the list of operators spreading wastewater.

The companies that reported road dumping wastewater in 2021 include: Anderson Energy Sources, Cameron Energy, Crowley Oil, DJR Well Services, Inc, Elder Oil & Gas, Energy Resources of America, Fork Run Oil and Gas, Howard Drilling, JMG Energy, LHS Production, McComb Oil, Medina Res Dev, Millennium Oil & Gas, Missing Moon Oil, PennField Energy, River Ridge Gravel, Stedman Energy, SLT Production, Tachoir Resources, Titusville Oil & Gas Assoc and VISTA OPR, according to DEP’s records.

These companies reported road dumping their drilling wastewater in Butler, Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Forest, McKean, Mercer, Venango and Warren counties.

“The continued abuse of the Coproduct Determination program signals the need to outlaw road spreading once and for all,” said Karen Feridun, Co-founder of the Better Path Coalition. “The DEP continues to make an artificial distinction between unconventional drillers who have been barred from spreading fracking waste for years and conventional drillers, when the conventional drilling industry openly admits that most operators today frack. There’s no difference. Fracking waste is fracking waste. Period.”

Under the Coproduct Determination program, owners of waste can determine whether or not their waste is equivalent to a commercial product. If they assess that it is, they can start using or selling their product without having to notify the Bureau of Waste Management. The assessment should be written in a report that can be turned over to the Bureau upon request.  Read more here.

In 2021, the Bureau began reaching out to drillers to request determinations. Some never responded and two requested more time. The determinations submitted by those who did respond did not conform to the program’s regulatory requirements.  Read more here.

In May, the Department of Environmental Protection sent letters to 18 municipalities informing them that 10 drilling companies had spread waste illegally.   Read more here.

One of them, Energy Resources of America, Inc., had not responded to the agency’s outreach as of December of 2021. 

It was among the six companies identified in the letters that continued spreading waste on roads in 2021 and the only to report spreading more waste last year than it did in 2020. The six companies are responsible for roughly 43% of the waste spread in 2021.

The coalition is submitting the report to Governor Wolf who ordered DEP to review compliance records of conventional drillers and report the results by September 1 in hopes that our report will assist him in his own review of the data.  Read more here.

For more information, read the updated Moratorium Morass briefing report by Better Path Coalition.

Related Article This Week:

-- Only 15 Out Of 256 Conventional Oil & Gas Operators Who Abandoned Wells Without Plugging Them Were Fined By DEP; Small Penalties No Deterrent To Future Abandonments  [8.30.22]

Related Articles:

-- Millions Of Gallons Of Conventional Oil & Gas Wastewater Spread Illegally On Dirt Roads, Companies Fail To Comply With DEP Waste Regulations  [12.13.21]

-- Penn State Study: Potential Pollution Caused By Road Dumping Conventional Oil & Gas Wastewater Makes It Unsuitable For A Dust Suppressant, Washes Right Off The Road Into The Ditch  [7.26.22]

-- Better Path Coalition Report: How To Close The Loophole Allowing Uncontrolled Road Spreading Of Conventional Oil & Gas Wastewater & Fix Oil and Gas Waste Reporting System [12.13.21]

-- Creating New Brownfields: Oil & Gas Well Drillers Notified DEP They Are Cleaning Up Soil & Water Contaminated With Chemicals Harmful To Human Health, Aquatic Life At 272 Locations In PA  [8.24.22]

-- DEP Lists 84 Townships As ‘Waste Facilities’ Where Conventional Oil & Gas Wastewater Has Been Disposed Of By Road Spreading; Municipalities Need To Do Their Due Diligence [12.27.21]

-- Conventional Oil & Natural Gas Drilling: An Industrial Machine Moving Across The PA Countryside Leaving Behind Big Liabilities & Spreading Pollution Everywhere It Goes  [8.3.22]

-- Conventional Oil & Gas Drillers Want To Rewrite Penn State Study Showing Their Drilling Wastewater Dumped On Roads Is Bad For Human Health, Environment [8.19.22]

-- Gov. Wolf Announces Evaluation Of How DEP Regulates Conventional Oil & Gas Drilling & The Industry’s Compliance With Environmental Safeguards [7.29.22]

[Posted: August 31, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

No comments :

Post a Comment

Subscribe To Receive Updates:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner