The state Department of Environmental Protection has issued notices of violation to Marcellus Shale drilling company Range Resources over issues at its Yeager centralized waste water impoundment on McAdams Road in Amwell Township, Washington County including holes in the liner and elevated chloride levels.
Range Resources violated sections of the Oil and Gas Act, the Clean Streams Act, the Dam Safety and Encroachment Act, and the Solid Waste Management, Act 35.
In the letter from DEP to Range Resources dated July 24, department Water Quality Specialist Supervisor John M. Carson wrote that during the operation of the centralized impoundment, “flow was often detected at the leak detection zone, but Range did not satisfy the permit’s weekly chlorides testing requirements” for it.
The letter goes on to explain that, in a Mary 14 assessment report Range Resources sent to the department, the company indicated that “a hole penetrated the top and bottom liners of the centralized impoundment” on its northeast side directly to the east of the sump area.
The assessment also detailed “holes found during earlier Range inspections,” according to the letter.
That same report also identified five areas of the impoundment site where there were elevated levels of chlorides.
“These areas are near where Range found liner holes. Chlorides as reflected in the permit, typically indicate a flowback or frack fluids release to soil. The presence of liner holes and corresponding elected chlorides indicate fluids in the impoundment leaked.”
DEP also said:
- Range Resources did not monitor chlorides as stated in its application and required by its permit
- Range Resources did not submit an “as built” plans as required. Those plans would have shown department-approved changes to the original plan.
- Range Resources violated the Dam Safety and Encroachment Act, which states that owners of dams, water obstructions or encroachments are required to “monitor, operate and maintain the facility in a safe condition.”
- That centralized impoundment fluids “escaped containment,” which is in violation of the Oil and Gas Act and the Solid Waste Management Act
Range Resources has until Aug. 8 to respond to the NOV, according to the letter.
The letter indicates that enforcement action could include civil or criminal proceedings, as well as civil penalties.
Range Resources spokesman Matt Pitzarella did not immediately return an email seeking further details.
The Yeager impoundment is the second Range Resources pit in Washington County to garner notices of violation. Notices were also sent out for its Jon Day impoundment, also located in Amwell Township, where 15,000 tons of contaminated soil are being removed following a “significant” leak.
Range recently sought to close the Yeager impoundment, which is the subject of several lawsuits as well as a federal probe.
Soil analysis is being conducted at a third Range Resources pit known as Cecil 23 impoundment, formerly known as the Worstell impoundment in Cecil Township. Municipal officials last week hand-delivered letters to nearby residents warning them of potential contamination.