From the Derrick: The Department of Environmental Protection has fined EXCO Resources (PA) LLC of Warrendale, Allegheny County, $47,500 for operating unpermitted residual waste transfer stations in Lycoming and Sullivan counties in 2011 and earlier this year, which violated the state’s Solid Waste Management Act.
“For each transfer station, EXCO should have applied to DEP for a Solid Waste Processing permit that has specific requirements for the safe storage, processing and transfer of residual wastes,” DEP North-central Regional Director Marcus Kohl said. “These permit requirements ensure proper protection of the environment as well as public health and safety.”
In October 2011, DEP inspectors visiting an EXCO site in Anthony Township, Lycoming County found 19 hydraulic fracturing tanks that were three-quarters full of flowback water. A conductivity meter placed in the water registered a high reading, and there was a leak between the first and second tanks with fluid accumulating in the containment area. It was apparent that flowback water from nearby EXCO well pads was being piped to the frack tanks. A standard frack tank can hold up to 21,000 gallons.
The agency issued a notice of violation to EXCO in November 2011, instructing that the flowback water be transported to a permitted facility and that no additional flowback water be transported to the site until a permit was obtained from DEP.
A DEP inspection in January 2012 confirmed that the tanks had been emptied but 10 roll-off containers were discovered, six of which contained waste sand. A follow-up inspection in February found that all the roll-off containers and 14 of the tanks had been removed. The two remaining tanks were empty.
In January, DEP discovered similar violations involving seven frack tanks at an EXCO site in Shrewsbury Township, Sullivan County. The agency sent the company a notice of violation later that month, and a follow-up inspection in February confirmed that all the tanks had been removed.
Staff from DEP’s Waste Management and Oil and Gas programs worked together on the investigations, and the fine has been paid to the Solid Waste Abatement Fund.