DEP Seeks Record Fine Against Gas Driller as AG Files Criminal Charges

  • A drilling rig on a Marcellus shale well pad near a Butler County, Pa. farm in April, 2014. Photo: Reid R. Frazier

October 7, 2014
By Katie Colaneri

Pennsylvania regulators are seeking a record $4.5 million fine against EQT Corp. for a major leak from an impoundment pond in Tioga County, the Department of Environmental Protection said Tuesday in a news release. The announcement comes one week after the state Attorney General’s office filed criminal charges against the company for the same incident.

In May 2012, between 300 and 500 gallons of “flowback fluid”–the liquid the comes back out of the ground after a well has been fracked–seeped out of an impoundment pond at a well site in Duncan Township. Flowback contains high levels of salts, heavy metals and some naturally occurring radioactive materials.

DEP inspectors found the fluid had polluted nearby groundwater seeps and waterways, including Rock Run–a high quality, wild trout stream. Trees and shrubs along the path of the spill were also damaged.

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