Thursday, November 17, 2022

DEP Assesses $200,000 In Penalties For Drilling Wastewater Spills By CNX In Greene County

On November 17, the Department of Environmental Protection announced CNX Gas Company LLC has paid two civil penalty assessments totaling $200,000 for violations at well sites in Richhill Township, Greene County.  
[Note: Conventional oil and gas drillers reported illegally spreading 977,671 gallons of untreated drilling wastewater on Pennsylvania roads in 2021.  DEP did not penalize one.  Read more here.]

On September 18, 2019, approximately 40 barrels, or 1,680 gallons, of production fluid breached secondary containment and discharged onto the ground at CNX’s RHL 71 and RHL 87 well site. 

CNX attempted to make repairs to the containment, removed any fluids it had access to, and established a plan to monitor for offsite impacts. However, CNX postponed full remediation nearly 70 days due to its ongoing hydraulic fracturing activities. 

Remediation included removal of spilled fluids and nearly 1,400 tons of contaminated soil underneath the containment and hydraulic fracturing equipment.  

On January 23, 2021, approximately 10 barrels, or 420 gallons, of production fluid discharged onto the ground due to an equipment failure. 

And on April 22, 2021, another equipment failure led to the discharge of 40 gallons of production fluid onto the ground. 

By March 18, 2021, CNX had removed standing fluids and contaminated soil caused by the two incidents. 

On December 2, 2019, approximately 30 gallons of production fluid breached secondary containment and flowed into a sediment basin during hydraulic fracturing operations at CNX’s RHL 4 well pad. 

CNX postponed removal of contaminated soil until hydraulic fracturing was completed, and the discharge continued for days. 

As of January 17, 2020, CNX had removed nearly 2,000 tons of contaminated soil from the site.  

“Delays like these are unacceptable. DEP expects, and the regulations require, prompt reporting and cleanup of spills and that operators will take measures to prevent future incidents,” said DEP southwest district oil and gas manager Dan Counahan.  

CNX violated state laws and regulations by failing to control and properly dispose of production fluids and by allowing unauthorized discharge of those fluids onto the ground and into waters of the commonwealth.   

DEP assessed and CNX paid a $125,000 civil penalty assessment for violations at the RHL 71 and RHL 87 well site and a $75,000 civil penalty assessment for violations at the RHL 4 well pad site into the Well Plugging Fund. 

Related Articles This Week:

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-- Center For Coalfield Justice Holds First Water Distribution Day Nov. 19 To Help Provide Families Drinking Water In Greene County Following Alleged ‘Frack-Out’ At Natural Gas Well Site In June  [PaEN]

-- Post-Gazette: Efforts To Stop A Natural Gas Leak For The Last 12 Days At A Cambria County Underground Gas Storage Area Have Failed, Gas Is Again Escaping  [PaEN]

-- Pittsburgh Business Times: Natural Gas Drilling Ban Supporters See Wider Effort In Allegheny County Towns 

-- Post-Gazette - Anya Litvak: Massive Natural Gas Leak In Cambria County Remains Uncontrolled At Gas Storage Area  [100 Million Cubic Feet A Day Escaping] 

-- Shale Gas & Public Health Conference: We've Got Enough Compelling Evidence To Enact Health Protective Policies For Families Now - By Edward C. Ketyer, M.D., President, Physicians for Social Responsibility Pennsylvania  [PaEN]

-- Shale Gas & Public Health Conference: When It Started, It Was Kind Of Nice, But What Happened Afterwards Really Kind Of Devastated Our Community - By Rev. Wesley Silva, former Council President Marianna Borough, Washington County  [PaEN]

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-- Shale Gas & Public Health Conference: Economically, Socially Deprived Areas In PA Have A Much Greater Chance Of Having Oil & Gas Waste Disposed In Their Communities - By Joan Casey, PhD, Assistant Professor of Environmental Health Sciences, Columbia Mailman School of Public Health  [PaEN]

-- YaleEnvironment360 - Jon Hurdle: As Evidence Mounts, New Concerns About Fracking And Health

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Related Articles - Major Oil & Gas Criminal/Monetary Penalties Last 2 Years:

-- House Committee Fails To Address $70 Million In Penalties On Natural Gas Pipelines Or Real Concerns Of People Living Near Gas Production & Distribution Facilities

-- AG Shapiro: Energy Transfer/Sunoco Convicted Of Criminal Charges Related To Construction Of Mariner East 2 & Revolution Natural Gas/Liquids Pipelines In PA

-- Sunoco/Mariner East Pipeline To Pay $4 Million In Damages And Restore Lake At Marsh Creek State Park Polluted By A Spill In Chester County

-- Federal Court Approves DEP, EPA, DOJ Settlement With Chesapeake Appalachia For Failure To Identify, Protect Wetlands At 76 Gas Well Drilling Sites, $1.9 Million Penalty

-- PUC Imposes $1 Million Penalty On Energy Transfer Company For 2018 Revolution Pipeline Explosion In Beaver County

-- DEP Collects $497,000, Fish & Boat Commission Collects $25,855 In Penalties For Latest Violations Involving Mariner East 2 Pipeline Construction In Lebanon County

-- DEP: Range Resources Pays $294,000 Penalty For Delaying The Plugging Of 42 Conventional Oil & Gas Wells In 8 Counties

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

-- DEP Collects $147,250 Penalty From Rice Drilling B LLC For Erosion & Sedimentation Violations In Greene County; DEP Found Rice Had Hundreds Of Other Violations, Including Abandoning Wells Without Plugging Them

-- DEP Collects $140,000 Penalty From ETC Northeast Field Services For Pipeline Construction Violations In Beaver County

-- DEP Order Requires Payment Of $125,000 Penalty For Latest Revolution Natural Gas Pipeline Construction Violations In Beaver County

-- DEP Collects $85,000 Penalty For Mariner East 2 Pipeline Construction Violations In Blair, Cumberland, Juniata, Lebanon Counties

-- AP: PUC Judge: Sunoco/Energy Transfer Failed To Protect Delaware County Community During Construction Of Mariner East Pipeline, $51,000 Penalty Proposed

-- AG Shapiro: Southeast Directional Drilling Pleads Guilty To Contaminating Water Supply In Washington County, To Pay $15,000 Fine

[Posted: November 17, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

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