Fracking News: Treatment Plant Lawsuit, New Well Inspections

  • A natural gas rig in Washington County, Pa. Photo: Reid R. Frazier

November 15, 2013

Keeping polluted fracking wastewater out of the Allegheny River is one of the Marcellus Shale topics award-winning energy reporter Laura Legere's been keeping an eye on. She's also looking into new Pennsylvania shale gas well inspections.  Her writing for StateImpact Pennsylvania and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on these topics is excerpted below.  

From StateImpact Pennsylvania: 

Environmental regulators and a Warren County wastewater treatment plant are working toward a legal agreement to address harmful flows from the plant entering the Allegheny River.

Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Gary Clark said the agency is working with Waste Treatment Corp. on a consent decree that will bring the plant into compliance with state laws after DEP initiated a lawsuit against the company in Commonwealth Court last month.

Both DEP and Waste Treatment Corp. responded to questions the day after the environmental organization Clean Water Action filed a federal lawsuit against the company claiming the plant is discharging improperly treated oil and gas wastewater into the river.

Michael Arnold, Waste Treatment’s vice president of operations, said the plant has had several significant upgrades in recent years and the company intends to make more improvements as part of the consent decree with DEP.

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Oil and gas drillers are beginning state-mandated inspections of all of their working wells this fall, more than two and a half years after the requirement was adopted but not implemented.

The rule added to Pennsylvania's oil and gas regulations in February 2011 requires companies to inspect all of their operating wells for signs of leaks and corrosion four times a year and submit the results to the state annually. When the regulations were published, the state touted the quarterly inspections as a vital tool for detecting potential safety or environmental impacts.