Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Weekly Compliance Dashboard - August 12 to 18; DEP Orders Restoration Of Water Supply; Conventional Wells Abandoned; Leaking Methane, Fluids

From August 12 to 18, DEP’s Oil and Gas Compliance Database shows oil and gas inspectors filed 561 inspection entries

So far this year-- as of August 11-- DEP issued 4,239 formal notices of violation to conventional operators (295 more since last week) and 845 to unconventional shale gas operators (24 more this week) based on 9,632 inspections of conventional facilities and 15,049 inspections of unconventional shale gas facilities.

DEP Orders Restoration Of Reno Water Supply

On August 19, The Derrick newspaper reported DEP’s Oil and Gas Program issued an administrative order to Petro Erie, Inc. to provide temporary water and take action to restore or replace the water supply for the Village of Reno contaminated by a release of wastewater from a conventional oil well field the company operates in Venango County.

Petro Erie, Inc. is also required to reimburse the Venango Water Company, which owns the Reno water system, and Aqua Pennsylvania, which has been providing temporary water and taking steps to restore the system under a Public Utility Commission emergency order, for any temporary and permanent increased operating and maintenance costs resulting from the contamination caused by the spill.

The DEP order also requires Petro Erie, Inc. to submit a plan to DEP for remediation of the area impacted by the release of the wastewater within 30 days.  Read more here.

Well Abandonment NOVs

On August 16, 2023, DEP inspected the Harry Abel KL 56 conventional well operated by Diversified Prod LLC in Grant Township, Indiana County and found it to be abandoned without being plugged and issued a notice of violation.

DEP also noted the well had not been produced for two reporting periods

On August 15, 2023, DEP reinspected a conventional well known as Menallen Coke Company 8 operated by The Production Co LLC in Menallen Township, Fayette County and found the well abandoned. 

No annual production and waste generation or well integrity reports have been filed by the operator.

DEP originally issued the notice of violation for well abandonment on November 17, 2020.

DEP’s inspection report requests the operator to submit a written report by August 29, 2023 on how they plan to bring the well into compliance.

Conventional Well Leaking Methane

On August 14 and 16, 2023, DEP inspected a conventional well known as Hirtzel H5 operated by SLT Production LLC in Pleasant Township, Warren County to determine if well plugging had stopped the well leaking methane.

DEP found the well still leaking methane from slam bar holes around the well on August 14.

On August 16, readings around the well showed no methane.  A camera was set up to go down the well to verify the methane leak was stopped, but ran into a bridge of unknown material.

DEP’s inspection report said the operator was going to return to clean out the well some more to give the camera an unobstructed view.

On August 17, 2023, DEP inspected the J. McEwen 8 conventional well operated by All Amer Energy Inc. in South Fayette Township, Allegheny County and found it to be leaking natural gas at the surface.

DEP’s inspection report shows no notices of violation were issued.

On August 16, 2023, DEP inspected a conventional gas well operated by Pennhills Resources LLC  known as WT 2850 Lot 8/23 in Howe Township, Forest County and found the newly drilled well venting to the atmosphere.

No notices of violation were issued.  This is a common pre-production practice.

Leaking Conventional Wastewater Tanks

On August 16, 2023, DEP inspected a conventional well operated by Apollo Resources LLC on State Game Lands 51B in Dunbar Township, Fayette County and found there has been no progress in repairing or removing severely corroded production wastewater tanks on the site in the last three months.

DEP first issued notices of violation for failure to maintain the structural integrity of the tanks on May 11, 2023 and returned for a follow up inspection on July 13, 2023.

DEP’s inspection report requested the operator to submit a written report by August 30, 2023 on how they will bring the well into compliance.

On August 16, 2023, as a result of a citizen complaint, DEP inspected the Joseph Canale 2 conventional well operated by Fairman Corp in Armstrong Township, Indiana County and confirmed an incident involving an overflowing production wastewater tank.

Employees of the operator were onsite beginning remediation efforts and drain the tank.

DEP’s inspection report contained notices of violation for the leaking tank and requested a written report by September 13, 2023 from the operator to describe how they were going to bring the site into compliance.

Fluid Leak From Shale Gas Chemical Storage Area

On August 16, 2023, DEP inspected the Roeber shale gas well pad operated by Chesapeake Appalachia, LLC in Wyalusing Township, Bradford County and found fluid leaking from a frack chemical storage area that had an improperly constructed secondary containment.

Fracking fluid contains a variety of chemical compounds some of which can cause cancer.

The operator was in the process of drilling two new shale gas wells.  Equipment was onsite used for the fracking process.

DEP’s inspection report requested a written report by September 11, 2023 on how the operator would bring the well pad into compliance and recommended pursuing an Act 2 Land Recycling Program cleanup for the impacted area.

Shale Gas Well Pad Containment Still Has Holes

On August 14, 2023, DEP did a followup inspection of the DR02 unconventional shale gas well pad and impoundment operated by Nucomer Energy LLC in Hickory Township, Forest County and found the secondary containment liner still had holes and tears in it.

DEP found the same holes and tears during an inspection on July 21, 2023.  DEP noted attempts were made to patch the holes with “unapproved adhesive material” - tape - that was peeling and lifting off the liner.

DEP’s inspection report requested the operator to submit a written report by August 30, 2023 on how they were going to bring the well site into compliance.

Report Violations

To report oil and gas violations or any environmental emergency or complaint, visit DEP’s Environmental Complaint webpage.

Check These Resources

Visit DEP’s Compliance Reporting Database webpage to search their compliance records by date and operator and the Inspection Reports Viewer.

Sign up for DEP’s eNOTICE service which sends you information on oil and gas and other permits submitted to DEP for review in your community.

(Photos: Top- Apollo Resources LLC corroded conventional production tank;  Nucomer Energy LLC shale gas pad secondary containment liner holes; STL Production LLC conventional leaking well; Bottom- Fairman Corp overflowing conventional wastewater tank; Fluid running off frack chemical storage area at Chesapeake Appalachia, LLC shale gas well site.)

[Note: If you believe your company was listed in error, contact DEP’s Oil and Gas Program.]

[Note: These may not be all the NOVs issued to oil and gas companies during this time period.  Additional inspection reports may be added to DEP’s Oil and Gas Compliance Database.]

PA Oil & Gas Industry Public Notice Dashboards:

-- The Derrick: DEP Issues Order To Petro Erie, Inc. To Restore Village Of Reno Water System, Cleanup Contamination Caused By Its Conventional Well Wastewater Release; 1 Month Without Clean Water  [PaEN]

-- Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Weekly Compliance Dashboard - August 12 to 18; DEP Orders Restoration Of Water Supply; Conventional Wells Abandoned; Leaking Methane, Fluids  [PaEN]

-- DEP, SRBC Invite Comments On New Permits For PA General Energy Shawnee Shale Gas Drilling Water Withdrawal On The Loyalsock Creek, Lycoming County After Failure To Comply With Its First Permit  [PaEN]

-- PA Oil & Gas Industrial Facilities: Permit Notices/Opportunities To Comment - August 19  [PaEN]

-- DEP Posted 68 Pages Of Permit-Related Notices In August 19 PA Bulletin  [PaEN]

NewsClips This Week:

-- The Center Square: Natural Gas Well Setbacks May Not Be Protective Enough After Health Impact Study Results

-- Post-Gazette: Processing Research On Southwestern PA Natural Gas Development And Health, Residents Seek Answers Together: ‘We Deserve Better’

-- WTAE: To The Frustration Of The Village Of Reno Residents, ‘Do Not Consume’ Water Advisory Approaches One Month Mark In Venango County, After Contamination By Conventional Oil Well Wastewater Spill

-- Bloomberg Column: Cancer In Kids Is Too High A Price For Cheap Natural Gas - By Mark Gongloff

-- TribLive: 6th Victim Dies From Plum Borough House Explosion

-- TribLive: Gov. Shapiro Orders DEP Probe Of Plum House Explosion

-- Post-Gazette - Ford Turner: Gov. Shapiro Directs DEP To Investigation Plum Boro House Explosion

-- DEP Working With PUC, Local And Allegheny County Agencies On Plum Boro House Explosion Investigation

-- AP: Underground Coal Mines Unlikely To Blame For Deadly House Explosion In Plum Boro, DEP Says

-- TribLive: DEP Inspectors Capture Gas Samples At Plum Boro Explosion Site, Await Test Results

-- Post-Gazette Editorial: Is There Something Rotten [With Gas] In Plum?  PUC, DEP Must Investigate 

-- Observer-Reporter: Fayette County Commissioners Take Step To Prevent Oil/Gas Wastewater Injection Wells

-- Halt The Harm Network, FracTracker Alliance: Aug. 30 Webinar: Wasted Water - The Impacts Of Fracking's Water Use From PA To Colorado, 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.

-- NBC News: Millions In US Live Near Abandoned Conventional Oil & Gas Wells Linked To Explosions And Toxins [Pennsylvania Profiled]

-- NBC News: EQT Natural Gas, Abandoned Well Frack-Out, In New Freedom, Greene County Stirs Suspicion And A Year Of Frustration In Tiny PA Town

-- The Allegheny Front: New Investigation Shows State Regulators Have Struggled To Keep Up With Pollution Events At Shell’s Petrochemical Plant In Beaver County

-- Environmental Health News: Beaver County Community Will Get $5 Million Due To Shell Petrochemical Plant Pollution - Just Don’t Call It Charity

-- TribLive Guest Essay: Better Oversight Of US Natural Gas Pipelines Needed - By Pittsburgh City Council Member & former Colorado County Commissioner

-- Scranton Times Editorial: Control Leaks From Natural Gas Pipelines

-- AG Henry Approves Settlement Of Anti-Competitive Energy Deal Between EQT Natural Gas, Quantum Energy Partners

Related Articles This Week:

-- University Of Pittsburgh School Of Public Health Studies Find Shale Gas Wells Can Make Asthma Worse; Children Have An Increased Chance Of Developing Lymphoma Cancer; Slightly Lower Birth Weights  [PaEN]

-- State Dept. Of Health Apologizes For Not Listening To Communities Suffering Health Impacts From Shale Gas Development; New Health Study Results ‘Just The Tip Of The Iceberg’  [PaEN]

-- Post-Gazette Editorial: Who Pays For Natural Gas Development’s Harm?  Pennsylvania Should Acknowledge The Clear Fact That Fracking Has Hurt People, Specifically Children  [PaEN]

-- DEP Investigating Other Possible Sources Of Methane As Part Of Response To Plum Borough Home Explosion, Including Nearby Conventional, Shale Gas Wells  [PaEN]

-- Public Utility Commission Safety Investigation Ongoing Following Deadly House Explosion In Plum Borough, Allegheny County  [PaEN]

-- New DEP Interim Final Environmental Justice Policy, Definition Of Environmental Justice Areas Effective Sept. 16; Public Comments Accepted Thru Oct. 29  [PaEN]

-- DEP Grants Variance From Containment Standard For 10 Aboveground Storage Tanks At American Refining Refinery In Bradford, McKean County  [PaEN]

[Posted: August 19, 2023]


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