(This photo of the John Day impoundment was taken in May by Robert Donnan, who graciously allowed me to use it.)
The amount of contaminated soil that will need to be removed from a Washington County centralized impoundment operated by Range Resources will be “even more” than the state Department of Environmental Protection had previously estimated, a spokesman confirmed Monday.
While DEP spokesman John Poister last month told the Observer-Reporter that as many as 10,000 tons would need to be excavated and hauled out of the Amwell Township site and into area landfills, on Monday he said it could actually be as much as 15,000 tons.
And Poister also confirmed that the “major leak” there has had some effect on the groundwater.
He said one ground well monitor showed chloride in the water there, Poister said.
DEP is still investigating, and said an inspector has been on scene at the impoundment almost every other day.
DEP issued a notice of violation to Range Resources, and Poister said additional citations related to the leak are likely. A civil penalty may also be assessed, he said.
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.
Range Resources spokesman Matt Pitzarella did not immediately return an email seeking further information.