Friday, March 1, 2024

DEP: Clay-Like Material Polluting Marsh Creek Is Not Bentonite From Mariner East Pipeline Construction, But Naturally-Occuring; Sunoco Cleanup Operation Finished

On February 29, DEP reported the clay-like material polluting Marsh Creek is not bentonite from the Mariner East Pipeline construction, but a naturally-occurring substance and Sunoco/Energy Transfer has completed its remediation of the stream leading to Marsh Creek State Park in Chester County.

DEP updated the public in response to a question from Sen. Carolyn Comitta (D-Chester), Minority Chair of the Senate Environmental Committee, at the Senate hearing on DEP’s budget request.

Ramez Ziadeh, P.E., Acting DEP Executive Deputy Secretary, told the Committee, “As of this morning, we received back the sample results. There was some water testing done to identify the type of material that leaked into Marsh Creek Lake. That was not bentonite, so it was naturally-occurring material that leaked, based on those test results, and I just got those results this morning. The area was remediated completely and cleaned up.”

A citizen complaint on February 15 led to a DEP inspection of a tributary leading to Marsh Creek State Park lake and the discovery of a clay-like material contaminating the stream and a portion of the nearby wetlands.

DEP’s February 16 inspection report said the area is the same location where a sinkhole developed and an “inadvertent return” of drilling mud used in the construction of the Energy Transfer/Sunoco Mariner East Pipeline occurred in August 2020.

DEP’s report added, “It is possible that remaining bentonite in the soil column at this previous inadvertent return location has been pushed to the surface by the rising water table.”

On February 22, DEP Press Secretary Neil Shader said, “The samples collected by DEP are being analyzed by Sunoco Pipeline, L.P. (SPLP), a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners.”

Sunoco Pipeline, L.P. “applied for and received an emergency Chapter 105 permit to conduct cleanup operations,” according to Shader.

Sunoco removed the material from the tributary by hand and DEP inspectors were onsite daily.

A similar incident was reported to DEP in April of 2021 by the Fish and Boat Commission when an unknown substance was found on the banks of the lake at Marsh Creek State Park.

Follow-up sample results found the material was not bentonite, but other naturally-occurring substances.  Read more here.

Visit DEP’s Marsh Creek Lake Community Information webpage for additional inspection reports and background on the 2021 spill incident.

Resource Links - Marsh Creek:

-- Citizen Complaint Leads DEP To Breakout Of Mariner East Pipeline Drilling Mud That Contaminated The Lake At Marsh Creek State Park, Chester County; Sunoco Pipeline Starts Cleanup [PaEN] 

-- 2.23.24: Drone Video Of Mariner East Pipeline Spill Remediation In Marsh Creek Watershed, Chester County by Christina Digiulio, Physicians for Social Responsibility of Pennsylvania

-- 2.25.24: Drove Video of spill area by Christina Digiulio, Physicians for Social Responsibility of Pennsylvania

PA Oil & Gas Industry Public Notice Dashboards:

-- PA Oil & Gas Weekly Compliance Dashboard - Feb. 24 to March 1 - 11 More Abandoned Conventional Wells; Field Of Leaking Wells; Voluntary Plugging; No Cleanup Progress In Reno Spill [PaEN]

-- Latest DEP Inspection Shows No Progress By Petro Erie In Cleaning Up The Conventional Oil Well Wastewater Spill That Contaminated The Village Of Reno’s Water Supply In Venango County 6 Months Ago  [PaEN] 

-- DEP: Clay-Like Material Polluting Marsh Creek Is Not Bentonite From Mariner East Pipeline Construction, But Naturally Occuring; Sunoco Cleanup Operation Finished  [PaEN]

-- PA Oil & Gas Industrial Facilities: Permit Notices/Opportunities To Comment - March 2 [PaEN]

-- 40 Individuals File Appeals, Most Handwritten, Of DEP’s Permit For Catalyst Energy Oil & Gas Wastewater Injection Well In McKean County  [PaEN]

-- EPA Appeals Board Allows Protect PT, Three Rivers Waterkeeper Appeal Of Penneco Oil & Gas Wastewater Injection Well Permit In Allegheny County To Move Forward  [PaEN]

-- Incomplete Application For CNX Midstream Slickville Fracking Wastewater, Natural Gas Pipelines Project In Westmoreland County Withdrawn By DEP  [PaEN] 

-- DEP Posted 64 Pages Of Permit-Related Notices In March 2 PA Bulletin  [PaEN]

Related Articles This Week - Gas:

-- DEP: Oil & Gas Regulatory Program Will Be In The Red By Fall; All Sectors Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program No Go; Update On Permitting Reform  [PaEN]

-- PA Utility Law Project March 15 Webinar On Impacts Of LNG Gas Exports On Energy Costs For Pennsylvania Families; LNG Export Capacity To Double, Even With Permit Pause  [PaEN] 

-- Bloomberg: Gov. Shapiro Calls On Biden To Keep Pause On Permits For New LNG Gas Export Facilities Short  [PaEN] 

-- PA Environmental Groups: New PUC Rules, DEP Guidance Victory For Increased Safety In Pipeline Construction And Operation  [PaEN]

-- Chemstream Chemical Maker Agrees To Disclose Information About Its Proprietary Chemicals Used In Natural Gas Drilling  [PaEN]

-- IFO Reports 2023 PA Natural Gas Production Up 1.0% Over 2022, Thanks To Strong Q4 Production; Fewest New Wells Drilled In Last Decade  [PaEN]


-- Spotlight PA: Federal Money Supercharged PA’s Plugging Of Dangerous Conventional Oil & Gas Wells, But Critics Want More Oversight

-- Guest Essay: The Conventional Oil And Gas Industry Isn't Taking Responsibility For Their Wells - By Rep. Greg Vitali, Majority Chair, House Environmental Committee  [PaEN]

-- Q/A With House Environmental Committee Majority Chair Greg Vitali

-- Q/A With Senate Environmental Committee Majority Chair Gene Yaw

-- WESA: Republican US Senate Candidate Says Less Red Tape, More Natural Gas Are Key To PA’s Economic Future

-- Q&A With Michael Huwar, Peoples Gas - ‘Regulatory And Legislative Efforts Must Support The Natural Gas Industry

-- The Allegheny Front - Reid Frazier: Permit Application For CNX Pipeline Project In Westmoreland County Withdrawn, Lacked Wildlife Permits

-- PA Business Report: Chemstream Announces Radical Transparency Fracking Chemical Compliance Initiative

-- TribLive: Murrysville Officials OK Olympus Energy Project For 2 Fracking Water Pipelines, 2 Natural Gas Pipelines In Westmoreland 

-- MCall: Gas Leak Reported In Hellertown, Northampton County Prompting Evacuations  

-- PUC Reminder Of Opportunities To Comment On Proposed 18.7% Peoples Natural Gas Rate Increase 

-- Pittsburgh Business Times: Panel: Washington County State Of The Economy Explores Impacts Of ARCH2 Hydrogen Projects

-- Reuters: European Union Receives Bids For Nearly 3 Times The Volume Of Gas They Need 

-- Bloomberg: Qatar Has Eyes On More Long-Term Deals As It Bets Big On LNG Gas

-- Financial Times: Oil And Gas Industry Profits Triple Under Biden, Even As Industry Decries Him

[Posted: March 1, 2024]  PA Environment Digest

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