Friday, January 8, 2010
Slapping an $85,000 penalty on the company, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection found that Atlas violated the Oil and Gas Act, the Clean Streams Law and the Solid Waste Management Act in Fayette, Washington, and Greene counties.
Among the violations, according to the DEP, was the charge that the company “discharged residual and industrial waste, including diesel fuel and production fluids, onto the ground at seven of the 13 well sites.”
Atlas Energy is one of the most active drillers in the Marcellus Shale and employs about 500 workers in the state, according to President Rich Weber. As of November, the company had more than 250 permits for Marcellus wells.
“Development of Pennsylvania’s natural gas resource is important to the state’s economy. However, that development need not -- and will not -- come at the expense of our environment,” said Southwest Regional Director George Jugovic Jr. “DEP will ensure that Pennsylvania’s gas resources are developed in an environmentally sound manner, consistent with the law.”
The violations, which occurred between Dec. 8, 2008, and July 31, 2009, fall into three categories:• Atlas failed to implement and maintain erosion and sedimentation control measures to prevent off-site discharges of silt-laden runoff onto the ground at six well sites;
• Atlas failed to restore two well sites by establishing the appropriate perennial vegetative cover within nine months of completion of drilling; and
• Atlas discharged residual and industrial waste, including diesel fuel and production fluids, onto the ground at seven of the 13 well sites.
Following are the names, permit numbers and host municipalities of the wells at which the violations occurred:
• Burchianti 30, Permit No. 37-059-24476-00, Monongahela Township, Greene County
• Burchianti 41, Permit No. 37-059-24616-00, Monongahela Township, Greene County
• Groves 8, Permit No. 37-059-25160, Cumberland Township, Greene County
• Willis 18, Permit No. 37-059-24708, Cumberland Township, Greene County
• Carter 2, Permit No. 37-059-24111-00, Cumberland Township, Greene County
• Penarnik 8, Permit No. 37-059-24555-00, Cumberland Township, Greene County
• Eckerd 1, Permit No. 37-125-23779-00, Deemston Borough, Washington County
• Henderson 7, Permit No. 37-051-24077-00, Jefferson Township, Fayette County
• Redman 30, Permit No. 37-051-24231-00, Washington Township, Fayette County
• Thompson 32, Permit No. 37-051-23746, Nicholson Township, Fayette County
• Thompson 33, Permit No. 37-051-23747, Nicholson Township, Fayette County
• Dancho-Brown 4, Permit No. 37-051-24152, Redstone Township, Fayette County,
• Kovach 34, Permit No. 37-051-24225, German Township, Fayette County.