Company Ignored DEP’s Prior Written, Verbal Requests
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
Dept. of Environmental Protection
Commonwealth News Bureau
Room 308, Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg PA., 17120
WILLIAMSPORT -- The Department of Environmental Protection today ordered Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. to close and remove an earthen pit in Susquehanna County that holds drilling fluids to determine whether it is contaminating nearby water resources.
The pit, known as a reserve pit, is located at the Hibbard well pad in Dimock Township. The company has 14 days to comply with the order.
DEP’s North-central Regional Director Robert Yowell said today’s more aggressive enforcement action was necessitated after the company ignored previous requests.
“DEP strongly advised Cabot to close and remove the reserve pit in an April 8 notice of violation letter and reiterated to Cabot’s senior management the same message a few short days ago,” said Yowell. “However, Cabot has not remedied the situation and its inaction demonstrates an arrogant disregard for Pennsylvania’s oil and gas regulations and proper protection of our environment.”
The department’s Oil and Gas Program staff responded to a report of black water in a ditch near the Hibbard well pad on March 22. The black water had impacted a private unused drinking water well, two springs and a wetland.
The water, soil and sediment sample results from DEP and Cabot’s contractor in the area, along with visible tears and holes in the reserve pit’s liner and local geology, led DEP to conclude that the black water is a mixture of groundwater and liquid waste from the reserve pit.
The DEP order also requires Cabot to submit a site characterization report plan to DEP within seven days; a letter describing the completion of the pit’s final closure and removal within 18 days; and a site characterization report with the results of its investigation and analysis within 45 days.
For more information, call 570-327-3659 or visit www.depweb.state.pa.us.