Friday, June 16, 2023

Robinson Twp., Washington County Seeks Answers To Cleanup Of MarkWest Liberty Midstream 10,000 Gallon Spill Of Natural Gas Condensates After Company Sends Notice To Wrong Municipality

At a June 12 meeting, Robinson Township Supervisors in Washington County were trying to get more information from MarkWest Liberty Midstream & Resources LLC about a 10,000 gallon spill of natural gas condensate that occurred at the Imperial Compressor Station and was the subject of a PA Bulletin Act 2 cleanup Notice of Intent published on June 10, according to Cathy Lodge a township resident who attended the meeting. 
Read more here.

It was disclosed at the Township meeting MarkWest sent the notice of the new brownfield cleanup required by Act 2 to the wrong township.  

MarkWest’s consultant Tetra Tech sent the notice to Robinson Township, Allegheny County, not where the spill was located-- Robinson Township, Washington County.

The only way the right Robinson Township was aware of the required Act 2 notice was because the wrong Robinson Township forwarded it.

The Tetra Tech notice was dated May 9, 2023.  The wrong Robinson Township mailed it to the right Robinson Township May 11, 2023.  

The right Robinson Township received the notice on or about May 23, 2023 and the Township Board of Supervisors and the public did not get a copy until the June 12 township meeting.

The public comment period from the notice sent to the wrong township expired on June 14.

3 Major Natural Gas Infrastructure Failures In Washington County

There were a total of three major natural gas infrastructure failures in Washington County in December, all in the space of a few days-- that we know of.

Here are the other two--

-- December 25 Christmas Day Explosion: Energy Transfer reported a nine and a half hour uncontrolled release of ethane and other vapors from its Revolution Cryogenic Natural Gas Processing Plant in Smith Township, Washington County during a Christmas Day explosion and fire at the plant.

The company reported ethane and other vapors began to leak at about 7:20 a.m. on December 25 and ceased as of 4:59 p.m. the same day.  Read more here.

The Observer-Reporter newspaper said the fire burned for 11 hours.  Read more here.

-- December 27 Release Of 1.1 Million Cubic Feet Of Gas From Pigging Facility: On December 27, a malfunction at the CNX Oak Springs Natural Gas Pipeline Pigging Station in South Franklin Township, Washington County resulted in the release of an estimated 1.1 million cubic feet of natural gas and hazardous air pollutants.

This same Station plagued the community with blowdowns releasing natural gas and liquid chemicals three times a day, seven days a week for nearly 10 years before Attorney General Shapiro brought criminal charges against CNX.

The blowdowns were documented in hundreds of videos and photos by the nearby Borello Family.  Read more here.

10,000 Gallon Spill

David Ettore, MarkWest Environmental Compliance Officer, said at the June 12 Township meeting contamination from a 10,000 gallon spill of natural gas condensates happened on or about December 26, 2022.  

Ettore explained there were two areas of contamination from the spill, one a spill of natural gas condensate at the “slug catcher” on the Imperial Compressor Station site.  The second was when they found seepage of spill material off the site along Quicksilver Road.

The company said the spill was the result of Winter Storm Elliot in December in the June 10 PA Bulletin notice.  Read more here.

The Notice of Intent said MarkWest would clean up the 10,000 gallon spill to the statewide health standard under the Act 2 Land Recycling Program.

The list of known contaminants listed in the full Notice of Intent in the soil and groundwater were benzene, cumene, cyclohexane, ethylbenzene, naphthalene, toluene, 1,2,4, Trimethylbenzene, 1,3,5 Trimethylbenzen and xylene.

Click Here for a copy of the Notice of Intent made available by Robinson Township.

Confusion Over Compressor Sites

There was confusion over where the spills actually occurred in the various notices published and at the meeting.

There are two large natural gas compressor stations located side-by-side in Robinson Township--  the Imperial Compressor Station (eFACTS Facility #866930) with addresses listed as 2213 Quicksilver Road, Midway, PA and 2199 Quicksilver Road, McDonald and the Cibus Ranch Compressor Station (eFACTS Facility #867185) with addresses listed as 2199 Quicksilver Road, McDonald, PA or 2205 Quicksilver Road, McDonald on DEP’s eFACTS system and various documents.

At the June 12 meeting, David Ettore said the spill was at the Imperial Compressor Station site at 2199 Quicksilver Road, the compressor station closer to Quicksilver Road.

Returning At Next Meeting

David Ettore told the Robinson Township Supervisors on June 12 he would return at their next meeting in July, after he was unable to answer questions the Supervisors had and questions from the public, according to Cathy Lodge, township resident.

Robinson Township supervisors are also looking at the issue of whether local permits are required for the earth disturbance that will occur during spill cleanup.

MarkWest has applied for a new DEP NPDES Stormwater Industrial Site Runoff permit, but for the Cibus Ranch Compressor Station site next to the Imperial Compressor Station.  DEP determined the application was complete on June 7, 2023.

The address listed for the Cibus Ranch Compression Station was yet another address-- 2205 Quicksilver Road, McDonald, PA-- different from the two other addresses for the compressor stations at this location.

Advising DEP

On June 14, Cathy Lodge emailed a letter to DEP’s Southwest Regional Office Environmental Cleanup and Brownfield Program, the related Bureau in Harrisburg and DEP’s Office of Environmental Justice advising them of the confusion and inaccuracies related to the 10,000 gallon spill she said were in the notices published by MarkWest’s consultant and DEP in the PA Bulletin.

In addition, Lodge asked DEP--

-- Was the agency notified of the two areas of spill impact, have they inspected the facilities for spill impacts and has DEP taken any enforcement actions related to the spills because she found no information in the eFACTS database on inspections, NOVs or other actions.

-- She asked if DEP would be requiring a new erosion and sedimentation permit for the large amount of earthmoving associated with the cleanup of the larger spill.

-- She asked DEP to clear up the confusion over where the spills occurred and to require the re-publication of public and municipal notices with the correct information so the public is aware.

“It is only after acquiring all the information from MarkWest and PADEP that reasonable and intelligent comments to the NIR [Act 2 Notice of Intent] could be crafted and sent to PADEP,” said Lodge.

“Please grant at least a 30-day extension to allow for meaningful comments.

“At the very least, please require MarkWest to comply with Act 2 and provide corrected notices to the municipality and the public so as not to mislead the public and PADEP.”

Click Here for a copy of Lodge’s letter to DEP.

It should be noted, the only way Cathy Lodge knew about the pending Act 2 cleanup and the large spill was through the notice published by DEP in the June 10 PA Bulletin (page 3132).  

After she saw that, she followed up with her local township officials and found out more.

Resource Link:

-- Environmental Health Project: Natural Gas Compressor Stations In The Northeast: A Guide To Protecting Your Health And The Environment

Related Article:

-- MarkWest Liberty Midstream Files To Clean Up 10,000 Gallon Natural Gas Condensate Spill Caused By December’s Winter Storm Elliot Freeze In Washington County  [PaEN]

PA Oil & Gas Public Notice Dashboards:

-- Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Weekly Compliance Dashboard - June 10 to 16 -- Leaking Conventional Wells; 5 More Abandoned Conventional Wells; Using Tape To Repair Containment Liner [PaEN]

-- DEP Finds PA General Energy Installed Its Shawnee Water Withdrawal On The Exceptional Value Loyalsock Creek At Sizes Larger Than Authorized By Its SRBC, DEP Permits  [PaEN] 

-- PA Oil & Gas Industrial Facilities: Permit Notices/Opportunities To Comment - June 17  [PaEN] 

-- DEP Posts 69 Pages Of Permit-Related Notices In June 17 PA Bulletin  [PaEN]  

Related Articles This Week:

-- Robinson Twp., Washington County Seeks Answers To Cleanup Of MarkWest Liberty Midstream 10,000 Gallon Spill Of Natural Gas Condensates After Company Sends Notice To Wrong Municipality  [PaEN] 

-- DEP Invites Comments On MarkWest Liberty Midstream Project To Expose 1 Mile+ Of 2 Natural Gas Pipelines To Prevent Longwall Coal Mining Damage In Washington County  [PaEN]

-- DEP Posts Solicitation For Bids To Plug 23 Abandoned Conventional Oil & Gas Waste Injection Wells Owned By ARG Resources, Inc. And Pennzoil Company In Elk County  [PaEN] 

-- Casey, Fetterman Announce $5.5 Million In Federal Funding To Plug Abandoned Conventional Oil/Gas Wells In The Allegheny National Forest  [PaEN]

-- Bay Journal: Satellites, Drones, Special Cameras Join The Fight Against Methane/VOC Pollution From Oil/Gas Wells, Petrochemical Plants, Landfills, Coal Mines In Pennsylvania - By Ad Crable, Chesapeake Bay Journal  [PaEN] 

-- PUC Vice Chairman: During Winter Storm Elliot We Learned Natural Gas Can Be An Intermittent Generator Of Electricity Just Like Renewables  [PaEN] 

-- S&P Global: Federal Inquiry Finds Same 3 Causes Driving U.S. Generate Outages In Extreme Cold - Reliability Of Natural Gas System Remains A Concern  [PaEN]   

[Posted: June 16, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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