(Impoundments are used to store the water utilized during the fracking process)
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection spokesman John Poister on Thursday afternoon confirmed that a notice of violation would be issued to Marcellus Shale drilling company Range Resources for what he said was a “significant leak” at the John Day Impoundment in Amwell Township, Washington County.
Poister said Range Reported reported the spill Wednesday, and that the company hired a consultant to help determine what remediation steps are necessary. A DEP inspector is also on scene.
Poister said the notice of violation would go out “very soon” for the leak, which Range Resources officials told DEP was detected during an inspection. Salt was found in the soil, Poister indicated.
He said Range Resources would have to remove a “significant amount of soil” because of the leak.
The DEP will be working with the Southpointe-based company, he said, to ensure the site is completely remediated, and to ensure corrections are made to prevent similar incidents in the future.
He said the notice of violation will also include a civil penalty.
“I can’t tell you right now what the extent of that penalty would be,” Poister said Thursday.
A Range Resources public relations spokeswoman did not immediately return a voice mail seeking more information on the leak.
Centralized impoundments are used to store millions of gallons of water used during the hydraulic fracturing process.
Range Resources impoundments in Washington County have been the subject of both controversy and national headlines this past year – mostly over questions about what exactly is in the water stored at the sites.
Critics have long maintained that impoundments, sometimes called frack pits, are not an industry best practice, and have pushed for safer storage methods, such as closed-loop systems.