Tuesday, February 2, 2010

DEP Fines Fortuna Energy Inc. $3,500 for Well Drilling Violations in Bradford County

Dept. of Environmental Protection
Commonwealth News Bureau
Room 308, Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg PA., 17120


Daniel Spadoni, DEP Northcentral Regional Office

WILLIAMSPORT -- The Department of Environmental Protection has fined Fortuna Energy Inc. of Horseheads, N.Y., $3,500 for violations discovered last year at three of the company’s natural gas wells in Troy Township, Bradford County.

“During routine inspections, DEP staff found minor reporting deficiencies, but also more serious violations that were quickly addressed by the company,” said DEP Northcentral Regional Director Robert Yowell.

An inspection in February 2009 at the Cease 1H well discovered that the proper ownership information, including the well permit number, operator’s name, address and telephone number, had not been publicly posted by Fortuna as required by Pennsylvania’s Oil and Gas Act.

During a follow up inspection in June at three natural gas wells drilled on the same pad in Troy Township, flow-back fluids—or the fluids that are used to break up underground rock and then return to the surface—were found discharging into a drainage ditch, an adjacent sediment basin, and eventually through a vegetated area into an unnamed tributary of the south branch of Sugar Creek. These discharges violated Pennsylvania’s Clean Streams Law, Solid Waste Management Act, and DEP’s oil and gas regulations.

The company promptly placed a pump into the sediment basin to pump the fluids back into tanks and hired a consultant to conduct appropriate sampling.

The discharge did not cause a fish kill in the unnamed tributary and DEP samples taken in June found the conductivity, pH, salinity and total dissolved solid levels in that waterway to be within acceptable levels.

For more information, call 570-327-3659 or visit www.depweb.state.pa.us.


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