DEP Update On Drilling Chemical Release Into Water Supplies In Potter County
The Department of Environmental Protection is issuing a Notice of Violation to JKLM Energy after the chemical release from JKLM’s Reese Hollow 118 well pad on September 18, 2015. The wellpad is located in Sweden Township.
The Notice of Violation includes: Failure to prevent pollution of fresh groundwater; Drilling through fresh groundwater with a substance other than air, freshwater or freshwater based drilling fluids; and Violations of Pennsylvania’s Clean Streams Law.
DEP has had representatives in the area almost daily since September 21, collecting samples, meeting with property owners affected by the release, and overseeing operations at the gas well.
More than 60 individual water samples have been taken from residential water supplies through September 29, 2015. DEP is continuing to test and analyze residential and municipal water supplies for evidence of contamination.
DEP is also ensuring water supply replacement to affected residences, including the Cole Memorial Hospital, which was transitioned to municipal water sources as a precaution.
The Department also participated in a September 25, 2015 meeting with the Potter County Commissioners, PEMA, Potter County EMA, Cole Memorial Hospital, Coudersport Borough, and JKLM Energy.
According to JKLM estimates, approximately 98 gallons of surfactant (F-485) was released to groundwater during top-hole drilling activities. This surfactant included isopropanol at 10-15 percent concentration, which is not approved for use when drilling through freshwater aquifers.
The surfactant was reportedly diluted in 22,000 gallons of water and also included 35 gallons of rock oil, a paraffinic petroleum product used to lubricate the drill bit. DEP is working to verify this information.
DEP is currently in discussions with JKLM Energy on cleanup and remediation of the release. JKLM has also voluntarily suspended related drilling activities at the Reese Hollow site.
If residents suspect contamination with their water supply, they should contact DEP at 570-327-3636 immediately. Residents with impacted water supplies should not use their water for drinking, washing or bathing.
Local residents with questions may also contact Dean Boorum, JKLM's community liaison, at 814-598-3960.
The company established a North Hollow Response website to provide regular updates as the groundwater investigation and response process continues.
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