DEP Collects $140,000 Penalty From ETC Northeast Field Services For Pipeline Construction Violations In Beaver County

On August 10, the Department of Environmental Protection announced it has executed a consent order and agreement (COA) with ETC Northeast Field Services, LLC (ETC) for violations that occurred in 2019 and 2020 during construction of the owner/operator’s B15 Well Connect Pipeline construction project located in Economy Borough and New Sewickley Township, Beaver County.

DEP assessed and collected a $140,000 civil penalty, and the company has agreed to corrective actions.

ETC Northeast Field Services is a subsidiary of Energy Transfer LP whose subsidiaries are responsible for the 2018 Revolution Pipeline explosion in Beaver County and the construction of the Mariner East Pipelines.

Energy Transfer LP and its subsidiaries have paid penalties of over $46 million for violations related to its pipelines in Pennsylvania.  Read more here.

In response to a complaint, DEP investigated the pipeline site on July 15, 2019 and observed that an approximately 30-foot slide had previously occurred within the limit of earth disturbance outlined in the permit, the slide was not reported to DEP, and the pipeline right-of-way was not marked with flags.

DEP also observed that a separate section of the project exhibited accelerated erosion and sedimentation.

DEP responded to another complaint on March 23, 2020 to find that stormwater discharged from the project site, flowed downslope through a wooded area, and flowed onto private property and a public road.

The stormwater came from an area of the project where a waterbar was incorrectly installed and near where a waterbar dictated in the permit was not constructed.

As of April 10, 2020, sections of the pipeline project were not temporarily stabilized, areas of the site showed accelerated erosion and sedimentation, waterbars were not installed properly or not installed in the approved locations, and erosion and sedimentation best management practices (BMP) were inoperable or ineffective.

ETC also did not report BMP failures to DEP as required by permit conditions.

DEP found four wetlands not identified in the permit applications that may have been present during and impacted by pipeline construction without proper permitting.

Again, the pipeline right of way was not flagged in certain locations. In addition, sediment laden water from unstabilized sections of the project flowed outside the permitted limit of disturbance and into an unnamed tributary of Crows Run.

Overall, DEP inspectors documented numerous violations, including failing to maintain and implement effective erosion and sedimentation control BMPs, implement and maintain permanent stabilization of the pipeline project, notify DEP of inoperable or ineffective BMPs as required by permit conditions, obtain proper permitting or modifications, describe the location of all surface waters within the project site on the permitted plans that could have received runoff, and maintain highly visible flagging or signage of the shared boundaries of the project with wetlands and locations of threatened or endangered species habitat, and for discharging sediment laden water to waters of the Commonwealth.

DEP issued a field order to ETC on April 20, 2020 that required ETC to temporarily stabilize the site and develop a plan to properly manage excess stormwater being generated by construction.

ETC stabilized the slide and submitted a remedial action plan and corrective action plan to address erosion and sedimentation issues and BMPs.

On May 11, 2020, ETC submitted a permit application for permanent and temporary impacts to what appeared to be a newly formed wetland identified during remedial action investigations associated with slope repair activities.

The COA requires ETC to take corrective actions and imposes timeframes for ETC to submit necessary applications for all earth disturbance or authorizations necessary for the operator to implement the remedial action plan, begin work to achieve compliance, and submit progress reports to DEP.

ETC has paid a $140,000 civil penalty into the Oil and Gas Program Fund.

Click Here for a copy of the Consent Order and Agreement.

Related Articles:

-- House Environmental Committee Sets Aug. 17 Hearing On Environmental, Economic Benefits Of Pipelines; DEP Fined Pipelines Over $55 Million For Violations Over Last 5 Years

-- Natural Gas, Hazardous Liquids Pipelines Are NOT Required To Carry Insurance Or Show They Can Pay For Damages If They Explode, Leak Or Kill Someone

-- House Republicans Now Want To Take Away All DEP’s Application Fee Revenue To Further De-Fund Environmental Protection Programs

[Posted: August 10, 2021]


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