Range Resources Issued Notice of Violation Over “Significant Leak” at Washington Co. Impoundment

By Amanda Gillooly

(PHOTO CREDIT: ROBERT DONNAN) Stock Photo of the John Day Impoundment

(PHOTO CREDIT: ROBERT DONNAN)
Stock Photo of the John Day Impoundment

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection issued a Notice of Violation on Friday to Range Resources over what it is calling a “significant leak” at a Washington County impoundment.

DEP spokesman John Poister said the Southpointe-based Marcellus Shale drilling company was cited under the Clean Streams Act for failure to contain pollutants and failure to contain production fluids.

He said a civil penalty has not yet been assessed, and added that is the final step in the process of issuing a Notice of Violation.

“We are waiting for completion of the cleanup,” Poister said.

Asked how long the cleanup would take, he said, “I don’t know right now.”

Poister also clarified information issued last week by the department regarding contaminated soil that has been trucked out of the John Day impoundment.

He said Range Resources has been trucking 128 tons of contaminated soil out of the Amwell Township impoundment and into three area landfills – the Arden landfill in Chartiers, the Imperial landfill and the Territa landfill in Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County.

Last week, Poister said the soil was being taken solely to the Arden landfill.

Last week the DEP also indicated that the old permit, also known as a Form U, was being used until the driller could obtain a new one.

On Monday, Poister said that the company cleaning up the leak, Weavertown Environmental, was actually applying for the new permit.

That permit, Poister said, was still pending.

Range Resources spokesman Matt Pitzarella did not return an email seeking more information.

Editor’s Note: The information in this story reflects a phone conversation with Poister at 11 a.m. Monday.

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Range Resources Issued Notice of Violation Over “Significant Leak” at Washington Co. Impoundment

  1. V Appalachia says:

    Great reporting, once again, Amanda!

    Interestingly, the Tervita and Imperial Landfills in Rostraver Township (Belle Vernon, PA) both come up as the same place when I searched. I drive past Tervita’s MASSIVE, hilltop landfill several times a month and always wondered what was being dumped there. Now we know about some of it.

    The landfill sits on a tall bluff directly above the Monongahela River downstream of the town of Monessen, but upstream of Donora and Monongahela—and whatever public water intakes are operating between Donora and the City of Pittsburgh.

    A surface spill or leaching substances at this landfill could result in waste from the Day Impoundment going directly into the “Mon.” Wondering how comfortable DEP feels with that reality?

    It’s especially concerning when we see what is happening with radioactive frack waste leaching out of landfills for neighbors in West Virginia:

    http://www.publicnewsservice.org/2014-04-21/environment/marcellus-waste-radioactivity-in-water-leaching-from-landfills/a38864-1

    Bill Hughes, chair, Wetzel County Solid Waste Authority, said tests on water leaching from the Meadowfill landfill near Bridgeport show widely varying levels of radioactivity, sometimes spiking to 40 times the clean drinking water standard. The radioactivity occurs naturally in the drill cuttings and brine that come from Marcellus gas wells, he said, so it is in the waste dumped in Meadowfill and other landfills. “We are putting radioactive waste in a bunch of landfills in large quantities, and we don’t yet know the long-term danger of doing this,” Hughes said.
    Water leaching from Meadowfill averaged 250 picocuries per liter last year. The clean drinking water standard is 50, Hughes explained, adding that at times Meadowfill spiked as high as 2,000 picocuries or dropped below 40. Wetzel – the other landfill taking large amounts of the waste – also showed radioactivity.

  2. Thank you so much for the information!!

    • V Appalachia says:

      Hope it helps! I have grave concerns for those getting their water from the Monongahela and the Youghiogheny between the Mason-Dixon line and Pittsburgh.

      Is anyone really accounting for where all the waste is going, DEP? It’s gotta go somewhere, and there doesn’t seem to be a watchdog.

  3. […] Centralized impoundments have become a controversial issue in western Pennsylvania, with news earlier this month that there was a “significant leak” at a Range Resources pit in Amwell Township, Washington County. The DEP said hundreds of tons of contaminated soil has already been removed, and a source says thousands of tons more may follow suit. The incident spurred the DEP to issue notices of violation to the Southpointe-based Marcellus Shale … […]

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