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Warren Company Agrees to Pay $25,000 Settlement

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2010/1/2 14:53
From on elk creek fishing
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Anyone else see this posted yeaterday?



Warren Company Agrees to Pay $25,000 Settlement
for Unpermitted Discharge into Lycoming County’s Pine Creek

Harrisburg, PA – A Warren, Pa., company has agreed to pay a $25,000 settlement in lieu of fines and civil damages to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) as a result of the company’s unpermitted discharge of a chemical product into Lycoming County’s Pine Creek last spring.

Pennsylvania General Energy Co. LLC (PGE) agreed to pay the settlement following an investigation by PFBC waterways conservation officers and the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) into the incident, which was first observed on March 15, 2010.

“Fortunately, Pine Creek water flows were very high during this time and diluted the discharge to a point where it was not considered harmful,” said PFBC Executive Director John Arway, who noted that PGE responded to the incident and cooperated with the PFBC and DEP. “However, the multiple illegal discharges still violate the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Code, the Clean Streams Law, the Solid Waste Management Act and DEP's oil and gas regulations.”

Pine Creek is nationally famous as a high quality stocked trout water. It also is a heavily used recreational fishing and kayaking waterway. It is commonly referred to as the “Pennsylvania Grand Canyon.”

On March 15, 2010, a mountainside stream flowing from a spring above state Route 44 was observed running white and foamy as it cascaded down the mountainside prior to emptying into Pine Creek in Cummings Township. The discharge, fueled by spring rains, continued for several days.

A subsequent investigation by PFBC law enforcement officers and DEP determined that the contaminate material was Airfoam HB, a chemical wetting agent, and that the source was a PGE Marcellus gas well site situated above the spring discharge, on the mountainside approximately 2,000 feet away. Natural gas well drillers mix wetting agents, commonly called surfactants, with water to create soapy foam that reduces surface tension and aids in the drilling process. Airfoam HB has been approved by DEP for use by the industry.

PFBC investigators determined that the surfactant was pumped down the well during the drilling process and, in all probability, accumulated in a void in the sedimentary rock layers. The surfactant was then flushed laterally through the underground rock strata by heavy rain runoff before emerging as a soapy discharge at the spring.

The mission of the Fish and Boat Commission is to protect, conserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s aquatic resources and provide fishing and boating opportunities. For more information about fishing and boating in Pennsylvania, please visit our website at www.fishandboat.com.

Media Contact– Eric Levis, 717.705.7806 or elevis@state.pa.us

Posted on: 2011/2/25 7:34


Re: Warren Company Agrees to Pay $25,000 Settlement

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Yeah, I heard about it.

Despite there being no damage, the fine is way too small IMO.

Not that surfactants are the worst thing on earth, its basically dishwashing detergent, and does break down naturally within a few days in soil. Still, companies should undertake reasonable measures to not allow direct discharge to streams, as the stuff is shown to be harmful in high concentrations to aquatic insects and fish. IMO, the regulation should state that the drillers can only use straight water until the well casing which protects the water table is in place. Only at that point should they be allowed to use surfactants, which would still be, like, 99% of the drilling process.

Posted on: 2011/2/25 7:52


Re: Warren Company Agrees to Pay $25,000 Settlement

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2009/4/4 8:58
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Agreed fine is way to small. I mean 25K are you kidding me??? Today it's dishwashing detergent what's it gonna be tomorrow? One of these so called minimal exposures is gonna wipe out a fishery and some towns drinking water this year. Mark my words. This isn't over reacting or doomsday predicitions. It just is what it is!

Posted on: 2011/2/25 8:07


Re: Warren Company Agrees to Pay $25,000 Settlement

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add another zero to that fine, then they might pay better attention.

Posted on: 2011/2/25 9:50


Re: Warren Company Agrees to Pay $25,000 Settlement

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2010/1/2 14:53
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I have to agree with the above.
Unfortunately it looks like things will not change.
The state moratorium on the state's land leases were lifted Wednesday.
Today's water will be tomorrows oil. Water is scarce out west it may soon be here in Pennsylvania.
Discharges into water ways for dilution only spell problems in the health of the environment and also municipalities who pull river water for drinking water.

Posted on: 2011/2/25 12:37


Re: Warren Company Agrees to Pay $25,000 Settlement

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bye bye state forests. unlike the shallow drilling that has occured throughout allegheny nat forest, the marcellus wells take up WAY more space.
oh, they'll leave an acre or two of "wilderness" area, which wont be really wilderness with gas wells surrounding it.

Posted on: 2011/2/25 16:06


Re: Warren Company Agrees to Pay $25,000 Settlement

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Quote:
unlike the shallow drilling that has occured throughout allegheny nat forest, the marcellus wells take up WAY more space. oh, they'll leave an acre or two of "wilderness" area, which wont be really wilderness with gas wells surrounding it.


Hold on there. One well pad is far bigger than one well pad on a shallow gas well. However, the well spacing is farther apart.

With shallow wells, you have small pads spaced every 1/4 mile or so. With Marcellus, you have large pads every few miles. The reason is horizontal drilling. One well pad may have 12 wells on it, spread out in a star pattern, and one pad thus drains gas from a much larger area. So instead of 12 small wells, each with a small pad, to cover an area, you have 12 wells on 1 large pad to cover a similar area.

Also, there are no gas wells in wilderness areas.


Posted on: 2011/2/25 16:23


Re: Warren Company Agrees to Pay $25,000 Settlement

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Quote:

Pine Creek is nationally famous as a high quality stocked trout water.


LOL

Posted on: 2011/2/25 18:08


Re: Warren Company Agrees to Pay $25,000 Settlement

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2010/6/19 16:43
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There are no gas wells in wilderness areas YET. I don't think that will be the case for long.

Posted on: 2011/2/25 22:35
_________________
"Even the thousandth trip to the same familiar stream begins with renewed hope and unfailing faith." ZANE GREY


Re: Warren Company Agrees to Pay $25,000 Settlement

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2009/5/29 6:40
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Wildtigertrout, I hope you are wrong, but our gov has only one thing on his mind, and it isn't conservation.

Posted on: 2011/2/25 23:45


Re: Warren Company Agrees to Pay $25,000 Settlement

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Pcray, yes the spacing is greater between wells in theory and if the area being developed from the pad suits. Also, the company must own a large enough area to drain. Many pads are only four or five wells being drilled off of them due to the size of the companies holding then another company has another pad nearby to drain their holding. The twelve wells to a pad is an ideal only being seen on large tracts.

Additionally, there is the fresh water impoundment associated which add several more acres of disturbance, sometimes as much as another well pad.

Finally there is the much larger pipeline right of ways needed. Old shallow wells only needed a pipeline in the ditch the gathering lines for Marcellus often require a fifty to seventy foot ROW.

Oh, and the xtra and larger compression needed. Compressor stations are much larger than the old ones used for shallow development.

Posted on: 2011/2/26 6:44


Re: Warren Company Agrees to Pay $25,000 Settlement

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Oh and I am fairly certain the moratorium on leasing was not lifted. What was changed was the policy concerning DEP review of well approval on DCNR lands. I know I have read that the moratorium was lifted, but I have seen articles to the contrary.

Posted on: 2011/2/26 6:49


Re: Warren Company Agrees to Pay $25,000 Settlement

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Quote:
add another zero to that fine


Even that would be too small. Make it 2 more zeros. It's gotta be more expensive to cut corners and get caught than it is to do it right. These companies might make 100k per DAY.

Posted on: 2011/2/27 11:43


Re: Warren Company Agrees to Pay $25,000 Settlement

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2011/2/17 19:56
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If a tree falls in the forest and the gas company says it didn't happen, did it make a sound?


@PCray, there are Marcellus sites in wilderness areas. Rendell started leasing state forest land two years ago for the sites and if you look at the maps out there, there are sites in the state forest as well as on Allegheny National forest land. Unless I'm wrong, they are definitely on what used to be pristine forest land.

Last spring, while driving on Rt 144 we got to watch pipelines being installed along the highway for miles. We didn't know what was happening back then but it should be interesting when we go out again this spring and take pictures at the overlooks. Not sure what we're going to see...

Posted on: 2011/2/27 13:15


Re: Warren Company Agrees to Pay $25,000 Settlement

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Missy,

You are misunderstanding. There are areas legally designated as "wilderness area." So, you have, for instance the national forest. Within the national forest, there will be select tracts deemed wilderness area. There are gas wells on the national forest (lots of them), but none in wilderness areas.

National Forest: Can have roads, logging trails, gas wells, timber activity, camps can be allowed, etc.

Wilderness area: no roads, no logging trails, no gas wells, no timbering, no structures of any sort, etc. Any old roads which existed upon designated area must be removed and all improvements removed from the premises.

In the western ANF where I know best, the two I know for sure are the Allegheny Islands and Hickory Creek Wilderness areas, they have been long established. There's been recent discussions about making Minister Creek and Hemlock Creek tracts as wilderness areas as well. I don't know if they have been formally adopted yet, but Minister Creek is definitely further along in the process/more likely to recieve the designation. They have, for instance, came in and removed the gates on the ridgeline logging roads, replacing them with big rocks to prevent traffic. On those old logging roads, they took out all of the drainage culverts that go underneath as well.

Other wilderness areas in the state include Trough Creek (near Raystown Lake), White Mountain (S of Penns Creek near Cherry Run), and Wolf Run (part of SGL 68).

We also have "wild" areas, such as the Quehanna Wild. I do not know the technical differences as far as what's allowed to happen there, but like wilderness areas, there aresome restrictions.

Posted on: 2011/2/27 13:55



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