Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced it has fined PVR Marcellus Gas Gathering LLC a whole $150,000 for illegal discharges during construction of a Lycoming County Pipeline during the fall of 2011 (about 18 months ago).
The Coal Mountain pipeline is a 13-mile, 30-inch diameter gas gathering pipeline that crosses Cogan House, Cummings, Lycoming and Mifflin townships.
WILLIAMSPORT — 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 fall 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.”
Doing the math, the “significant penalty”, 18 months later, amounts to approximately $11,538.46 per mile.
According to DEP, the investigation started from a complaint filed in September 2011. DEP inspectors found violations at the Second Fork of Larry’s Creek. Bentonite had been discharged into the creek from boring operations. PVR did not “self-report” the illegal discharge. Good thing some citizen did notice and report it.
DEP also found multiple and continuing violations including sediment discharges into HIGH QUALITY AND EXCEPTIONAL VALUE STREAMS. DEP 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.
PVR received a compliance order and was ordered to cease operations in October 2011, and told to implement specific best management practices. They were allowed to continue work in November 2011 under certain conditions.
Nothing in the news release elaborated on the specifics of those “certain conditions”.
DEP continued to note violations throughout the remainder of the project, nearing completion in March 2012 PVR was deemed to be in compliance.
PVR IN PENNSYLVANIA
Last year, PVR with its partner AQUA AMERICA, evicted residents of the Riverdale Mobil Home Park, in Jersey Shore for construction of a water line to supply natural gas drilling.
Aqua-PVR bought the 37-unit mobile home park in late February. The company plans to build a facility that will withdraw up to 3 million gallons of water per day from the West Branch of the Susquehanna River and transport that water by pipeline to natural gas drilling operations to the north.
Residents’ leases were terminated and they were given until June 1 to vacate the park. The company offered a moving incentive of $2,500 to residents who moved out of the park by the June 1 deadline.
PVR purchased Chief Gathering, a midstream company, in May 2012 for $1.06-billion dollars. Chief Gathering was a subsidiary of Chief Oil & Gas, which is a subsidiary of Devon Energy. Midstream companies typically include the construction of pipelines between a well site and the main transport lines, compressor stations, glycol dehydration stations, metering stations and related infrastructure.
PVR operates the Chapin Dehydration Station in Monroe township in Wyoming County PA. In September 2012 the Chapin station had an unscheduled discharge, and a second one in November 2012.
Following the November “unscheduled discharge”, residents demanded an explanation and a meeting was held in December 2012. PVR did not attend. Complaints included reports of house vibrations, spontaneous bloody noses, nose-throat irritations and reoccurring sinus infections.
In March 2013, at a town supervisors meeting in Monroe Township, about 30 people showed up and learned there was little the supervisors could do about the dehydration plant.
“Aren’t you at all concerned about our health,” resident Lynne Lewis, who lives a couple of thousand yards away from the plant which sent more than 5 million cubic feet of gas loudly into the atmosphere last November asked.
Chairman William Patton insisted, “We do care” and he spoke about a list of 29 deficiencies in the original plan that the company addressed including an agreement to plant trees around the facility as a buffer for noise to neighbors surrounding it.
“I’ll be dead before those trees get big enough to do anything,” Lewis said.
But Patton also noted that a spokesman for PVR Partners which runs the Chapin Dehydration Facility told him that a number of questionnaires were sent out asking about concerns and only one person responded.
“They didn’t contact me,” several in the audience said, almost in unison.
Trees and Questionnaires? How is that suppose to prevent pollutants from wafting in the air to nearby residents? Not to worry DEP says they are ok…..
Dallas Twp. resident Barbara Goode who lives in close proximity to the facility just across the county line from her wanted to know, “Why can’t you have air quality tested for your residents? Don’t you think you gentlemen should check on us to make sure we’re okay?”
Supervisor Dale Wright said, “DEP told us you were okay, isn’t that right?” he asked Kunkle Fire Chief Jack Dodson who was in attendance.
“That’s right,” Dodson said.
A number of homes next to and near the Chapin station are now up for sale – wonder why.
In nearby Washington Township, PVR’s Hirkey Compressor Station had an “emergency shutdown” in December 2012. The station went operational 2 months prior in October 2012.
No word if PVR will be fined for these “incidents”.
©2013 by Dory Hippauf