DEP fines Chesapeake $1.4 million for impacts from well pad landslide

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HARRISBURG, Pa. — Chesapeake Appalachia will pay a fine of $1.4 million for violations of Pennsylvania’s Oil and Gas Act, Clean Streams Law and Dam Safety and Encroachments Act in Greene County.

As a result of the settlement with the Pa. Department of Environmental Protection, the company will restore waterways affected by the slide.

Landslide

The violations stem from a landslide that occurred at the Stinger 8H gas well pad located in Aleppo Township, Greene County, on Sept. 15, 2011. The slide impacted seven unnamed tributaries of Harts Run.

Sediment from the slide filled more than a quarter-mile of streams below the well pad.

John Ryder, DEP’s director for oil and gas operations, said that while Washington and Greene counties are within one of the most landslide-prone areas in the nation, oil and gas operators must take caution to prevent these types of slides from occurring.

Although Chesapeake Appalachia immediately began efforts to temporarily stabilize the site, the company was not able to complete permanent stabilization until July 26, 2014. DEP closely monitored the company’s efforts. However, the agency and the company initially could not agree on actions needed to permanently restore the streams impacted by the slide.

Plans for restore

Through this agreement, DEP and Chesapeake Appalachia have a permanent plan and schedule for the company to complete restoration work on the impacted waterways.

Beginning in March 2012, Chesapeake Appalachia began to address the issues at the site, first by filing a plan to clean up the impacted streams, then to permanently stabilize the well pad slide area.

The stabilization plan was accepted by DEP, and in September 2013 work began on the permanent stabilization project.

Deadline

While much of the work has been completed at the site, the agreement stipulates that Chesapeake Appalachia must remove the remaining sediment and stabilize the banks of the headwater tributaries to Harts Run by Dec. 31, 2015.

The company has until Sept. 30, 2016 to complete restoration work of the Harts Run tributaries and improvements to an off-site stream. If Chesapeake Appalachia fails to comply with the stream restoration schedules, additional penalties will be assessed. Chesapeake Appalachia no longer operates the Stinger 8H well. It is now under the control of Rice Drilling B, LLC.

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