The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) has just fined EQT $330,775 for erosion and sedimentation violations at two well sites in Forward Township, Allegheny County, PA. Water with sediment in it leaked from the well sites in early 2018, which sometimes happens. The reason for the stiff fine is that EQT failed to notify the DEP when it happened. If the DEP finds out via its own inspections first, the cost goes way up.
In addition to muddy water leaking from the pads, DEP inspectors found that EQT had built a road from one of the well pads to a meter station–without first getting a permit. Whoops. That’s a big no-no. The DEP said, “Numerous erosion and sedimentation controls were found to be inoperable or ineffective” along the road they built.
EQT fixed the problems at one site by May 29, 2018, and at the other site by Nov. 1, 2018.
From the DEP:
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has collected $330,775 in civil penalties from EQT Production Company (EQT) for violations at its Prentice and Fetchen well sites in Forward Township, Allegheny County.
A February 23, 2018, DEP inspection revealed sediment-laden water from unstabilized portions of both well sites had overtopped numerous erosion and sedimentation controls beyond the limit of disturbance of both sites. The sediment-laden water flowed from the Prentice site into roadside ditches and ultimately into an unnamed tributary to Kelly Run.
DEP’s inspection also showed that a proposed access road — from the Prentice site to a meter station that EQT was working with DEP to authorize — had already been constructed without a permit. Numerous erosion and sedimentation controls were found to be inoperable or ineffective. EQT also violated state law and its permit by failing to report the inoperable or ineffective erosion and sedimentation controls. Many of these problems continued into March at the Prentice well site and July at the Fetchen well site.
As of May 29, 2018, EQT completed all corrective actions at the Prentice well site and DEP approved a modification to properly permit the illegal access road, correcting these violations. The violations at the Fetchen well site were corrected by November 1, 2018.
“DEP expects all permittees — particularly large, longtime operators — to construct facilities and report problems in accordance with state regulations and permit conditions, but these failures demonstrate the importance of verifying compliance and enforcing the regulations,” said DEP Deputy Secretary for Oil and Gas Management Scott Perry.*
A little piece of advice we came by years ago (can’t remember where)…a truism we live by to this day: “He who gets there with the bad news first, wins.”
*Pennsylvania State Dept. of Environmental Protection (May 6, 2019) – DEP Penalizes EQT for Well Site Violations in Allegheny County
Consent Assessment of Civil Penalty (CACP) for the Prentice well site:
Consent Assessment of Civil Penalty (CACP) for the Fetchen well site:
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