(This photo of the John Day impoundment in Amwell Township as of earlier this month. Photo Courtesy of Robert M. Donnan.)
An environmental reclamation company is working this week to haul out the remaining 1,000 tons of contaminated soil from a Washington County impoundment operated by Southpointe-based Marcellus Shale drilling company Range Resources, a state Department of Environmental Protection spokesman said Tuesday.
The spokesman, John Poister, said the company, Weavertown Environmental, had been waiting to receive the proper documentation called a Form U in order to transport the remaining soil effected by what DEP has described as a “significant leak” at the Amwell Township impoundment.
Poister said more than 2,000 tons of soil will have been removed from the impoundment and into area landfills when the cleanup at the site is complete.
While DEP last month issued a notice of violation to Range Resources for the leak, no civil penalty has yet been assessed. Poister said that remains a possibility, and indicated that an investigation is ongoing into how the pit’s leak detection system “failed miserably” – and how the leak, reported April 16, had gone unnoticed by Range Resources officials.
The results of a soil analysis were not immediately available, but Poister said initial tests indicate that salt is the primary contaminant.
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.
Editor’s Note: I wanted to thank Robert M. Donnan for kindly allowing me to publish his photo of the John Day impoundment – it is greatly appreciated!