PA levies $150,000 fine for illegal discharges during pipeline construction


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— The Department of Environmental Protection has fined PVR Marcellus Gas Gathering LLC of Williamsport, Lycoming County, $150,000 for discharge violations that occurred during construction of the Coal Mountain pipeline in four Lycoming County townships during the fall of 2011.

“The number and ongoing nature of these violations, which impacted High Quality and Exceptional Value streams, have resulted in a significant penalty,” DEP Director of District Oil and Gas Operations John Ryder said. “The department’s Oil and Gas Program takes enforcement actions like this when industry violations are not appropriately corrected.”

The department began its investigation following a complaint in Sept. 2011 and immediately discovered violations at the Second Fork of Larry’s Creek, where bentonite had been discharged to the creek from a stream boring operation, and PVR failed to report the spill to DEP in a timely manner.

Follow-up inspections of the pipeline project by DEP documented multiple and continuing violations of the Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law, the Dam Safety and Encroachments Act and various related environmental regulations, including sediment discharges into High Quality and Exceptional Value streams.

The department also determined that large sections of earth disturbance and open pipeline trenches contributed to the violations. PVR had almost five miles of open trench ahead of the pipe installation. The violations do not appear to have caused any long-term impacts to the streams.

A compliance order issued by the Oil and Gas Program in early Oct. 2011 required PVR to immediately cease all earth disturbance activities and implement specific best management practices to minimize the potential for accelerated erosion and sedimentation.

The company complied with the requirements of DEP’s order in Nov. 2011 and was authorized to resume earth disturbance activities under certain conditions. The department documented additional violations during the remainder of the pipeline construction project. By March 2012, when work on the project was nearly complete, PVR came into compliance with the noted violations.

The Coal Mountain pipeline is a 13-mile, 30-inch diameter gas gathering pipeline that crosses Cogan House, Cummings, Lycoming and Mifflin townships.

For more information, visit www.dep.state.pa.us or call 570-327-3636.




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