DEP investigating spill at Cross Creek County Park
The state Department of Environmental Protection has issued a notice of violation to Range Resources Corp. in connection with a water spill last month at Cross Creek County Park, a DEP spokesman said Friday.
John Poister, DEP spokesman in Pittsburgh, said workers on the Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling site noticed what is known as “re-use” water entering a secondary containment area.
“This was just recycled water,” Poister said in an email. “No frack additives were in this water.
“It appears open-top storage tanks were overflowing. Water flowing into these tanks was not being monitored. Range reported the spill to DEP, which sent inspectors.
“We consider this a significant spill, and we will evaluate the entire incident, response and cleanup before we make any decisions on a civil penalty,” or fine.
Lisa Cessna, director of the Washington County Planning Commission, which oversees county parks, said the Feb. 12 spill involved about 40 barrels of water.
She has had a representative of the Washington County Conservation District and parks superintendent Kevin Garrison monitor the site, which has been mulched.
“There were no problems with the lake,” Cessna said.
She forwarded an email from Range spokesman Matt Pitzarella, who said the recycled water spill “was effectively managed more than a month ago, which at this time has shown no impacts.
“As the DEP and others have indicated spills can occur from human or mechanical errors and our locations are permitted, engineered and staffed to manage those errors should they occur.
“In this instance, some recycled water left our secondary containment, but our engineering practices and approach allowed for the immediate cleanup and remediation of the water, which contains a small fraction of the salt than what is used on roads nearby Cross Creek for de-icing. This is not to suggest that we don’t take the spill seriously, regardless of the impact, but context is important.”
Range drilled its first horizontal well in the 3,500-acre Cross Creek park in 2008. In summer 2011, a contractor felled 128 park trees that Range attributed to a surveyor’s error, but the firm agreed to reimburse the county $14,247, double the value of the timber, and agreed to provide $100,000 worth of in-kind services at the park, including repair of a sediment dam, replacement of 10 culverts on Park Road and deployment of earth-moving equipment for the Thompson Hill boat launch project.
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