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MarkWest Liberty Midstream Files To Clean Up 10,000 Gallon Natural Gas Condensate Spill Caused By December’s Winter Storm Elliot Freeze In Washington County

On May 23, 2023, MarkWest Liberty Midstream & Resources LLC submitted a Notice of Intent to DEP to clean up soil and groundwater contaminated by a 10,000 gallon spill of natural gas condensate and water contaminated with Volatile Organic Compounds and Semi-Volatile Organic Compounds, including benzene and other pollutants, at the Imperial Compressor Station in Robinson Township, Washington County.

The company would do the cleanup under the Act 2 Land Recycling Program. (June 10 PA Bulletin (PA Bulletin, page 3132).

The NOI said the spill occurred in late December 2022 when piping at the compressor station froze during Winter Storm Elliot causing a line to rupture releasing approximately 10,000 gallons of condensate and water onto the northern section of the pad.

There were two other major incidents at natural gas facilities in Washington County-- that we are aware of-- during Winter Storm Elliot--

-- December 25 Christmas Day Explosion: Energy Transfer reported a nine and a half hour uncontrolled release of ethane and other vapors from its Revolution Cryogenic Natural Gas Processing Plant in Smith Township, Washington County during a Christmas Day explosion and fire at the plant.

The company reported ethane and other vapors began to leak at about 7:20 a.m. on December 25 and ceased as of 4:59 p.m. the same day.  Read more here.

The Observer-Reporter newspaper said the fire burned for 11 hours.  Read more here.

-- December 27 Release Of 1.1 Million Cubic Feet Of Gas From Pigging Facility: On December 27, a malfunction at the CNX Oak Springs Natural Gas Pipeline Pigging Station in South Franklin Township, Washington County resulted in the release of an estimated 1.1 million cubic feet of natural gas and hazardous air pollutants.

This same Station plagued the community with blowdowns releasing natural gas and liquid chemicals three times a day, seven days a week for nearly 10 years before Attorney General Shapiro brought criminal charges against CNX.

The blowdowns were documented in hundreds of videos and photos by the nearby Borello Family.  Read more here.

Spill Spread Thru Compressor Station Stormwater System

Natural gas condensate is a hydrocarbon liquid stream separated from natural gas and consists of higher-molecular-weight hydrocarbons that exist in the reservoir as constituents of natural gas but which are recovered as liquids in separators, field facilities, or gas-processing plants.

“The contaminated condensate and water infiltrated into the stormwater conveyance system on the compressor station pad and was found seeping from the hillside located on the west of the compressor pad.

“MarkWest is currently conducting emergency remedial efforts to remove impacted soils near the pad, along the stormwater conveyance, and hillside near the point of the release.

“In addition, a sample from the closest existing monitoring well to the release, MW-03, and surface water have been collected. Four monitoring wells were previously installed on the compressor pad and will continue to be sampled on an annual basis.

“MarkWest will continue to use the site as a compressor station.

“The proposed remedial actions include removal of remaining potentially impacted soil on the pad and as much soil as possible from the hillside and stormwater conveyance system for proper disposal off-site.

“Additionally, soil borings and monitoring wells were installed to fully delineate impacted media; and soil and groundwater will be sampled as part of this process.

“Once the impacted soil is removed, the Site pad and stormwater conveyance system will be brought back up to original grade using clean fill material and/or gravel.

“It is anticipated that by removing most of the impacted soil and inhibiting additional infiltration will naturally improve groundwater concentrations at the Site.

“Post-excavation/backfill sampling of soil and groundwater will be completed.

“If necessary, additional remedial actions may be required. The Notice of Intent to Remediate was published in the Observer- Reporter newspaper on May 14, 2023.”

For more information, contact DEP’s Southwest Regional Office Environmental Cleanup And Brownfields Development Program at 412-442-4153 or send email to:

Visit DEP’s Land Recycling Program webpage for more information.

Related Articles - Winter Storm Elliot/Natural Gas Facilities:

-- Observer-Reporter: Explosion, Fire At Energy Transfer’s Revolution Natural Gas Cryogenic Plant Burned For Nearly 11 Hours On Christmas Day In Smith Twp., Washington County  [PaEN]

-- DEP Ongoing Explosion/Fire Investigation: Energy Transfer Reported An Uncontrolled Release Of Ethane For 9.5 Hours From Its Revolution Natural Gas Processing Plant In Washington County  [PaEN]

-- Inside Climate News: DEP Took 9 Days To Inspect Natural Gas Liquids Plant That Caught Fire On Christmas Day In Washington County   [PaEn]

-- Natural Gas Pipeline Pigging Facility Malfunction Dec. 27 Released 1.1 Million Cubic Feet Of Natural Gas; Same Facility Plagued Community With Blowdowns 3 Times A Day, 7 Days A Week For Nearly 10 Years Until Criminal Charges Brought Against CNX  [PaEN] 

PA Oil & Gas Public Notice Dashboards:

-- Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Weekly Compliance Dashboard - June 3 to 9  [PaEN]

-- PA Oil & Gas Industrial Facilities: Permit Notices/Opportunities To Comment - June 10   [PaEN]

-- DEP Posts 51 Pages Of Permit-Related Notices In June 10 PA Bulletin  [PaEN] 

Related Articles This Week:

-- House Committee Reports Out Bill Requiring The Evaluation Of Cumulative Impacts Of Some New Pollution Sources On Communities Already Burdened By Pollution; And Other Bills  [PaEN]

-- Republicans, Shale Gas Industry Oppose House Bill Requiring The Evaluation Of Cumulative Impacts Of Some New Pollution Sources On Communities Already Burdened By Pollution  [PaEN]

-- Senate Environmental Committee Info Session On Carbon Capture Discusses Job Potential; Reaching Net-Zero Carbon Goal; Impacts/Risks Of The Technology; PA’s Poor Track Record In Regulating Pipelines, Oil & Gas Industry  [PaEN]

-- Better Path Coalition: June 22 Virtual Brown Bag Briefing With Laurie Barr On Abandoned Conventional Oil/Gas Wells  [PaEN]

-- Inside Climate News: Abandoned Conventional Oil/Natural Gas Wells Emit Carcinogens, Other Harmful Pollutants In PA, Study Shows  [PaEN]

-- Inside Climate News - Stacey Burling: $400 Million In Federal Abandoned Conventional Oil/Gas Well Plugging Funds In PA, But It’s Not Enough; Hazards Include EQT Frack-Out In Greene County; More Wells Being Abandoned All The Time

-- Federal Court Declines To Prohibit PA Environmental Hearing Board From Hearing Appeals Of DEP Permits Issued For Regional Energy Access Expansion Natural Gas Pipeline Project  [PaEN]

-- EPA Invites Comments On Proposed Oil/Gas Waste Underground Injection Well In Fayette County; July 11 Virtual Public Hearing Set  [PaEN]

-- Residents, Environmental Groups Rally Against Shell Petrochemical Plant's Pollution In Beaver County  [PaEN]

-- Senate Republicans Pass Bill Taking ‘Protection’ Out Of The Name Of Department Of Environmental Protection; But DEP Doesn’t Have To Change Its Signs Until They Wear Out  [PaEN]

-- Citizens Voice Editorial: ‘Protection’ Still Core Of DEP’s Job  [PaEN]

[Posted: June 10, 2023]


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