This post has been updated to include a statement from the DEP.
On Friday, what a Department of Environmental Protection employee described as a “significant amount” of sediment and mud from a pipeline construction project spilled into Sullivan County’s Loyalsock Creek.
When Dean Marshall heard about the spill, he drove to Loyalsock State Forest to document the damage. Here’s what Marshall – who’s actively involved in anti-drilling efforts – captured on camera on Sunday:
The Department of Environmental Protection didn’t respond to StateImpact Pennsylvania’s request for comment – UPDATE: see below — but DEP emergency response manager John Erich told the Williamsport Sun-Gazette the agency traced the pollution to nearby construction of the Marc 1 Pipeline. Erich told the paper the spill won’t lead to any environmental damage, but Marshall, who hikes and swims in Loyalsock Creek, said he’s upset by what he saw. “I don’t expect to be swimming in the creek and have that splash up,” he told StateImpact Pennsylvania.
Energy company Anadarko recently purchased the private mineral rights underneath a large swath of Loyalsock State Forest, and according to multiple sources with knowledge of negotiations, is in talks with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to begin drilling there soon.
Update: StateImpact Pennsylvania contacted the Department of Environmental Protection at 1 PM Tuesday. At the time I wrote and scheduled this post, around 6:30 PM on Tuesday, the department had not responded to our request for comment. Spokesman Dan Spadoni emailed the following statement this morning, around 7 AM:
The department was notified early Friday afternoon about a significant sediment plume in Loyalsock Creek in Sullivan County. DEP staff investigated later on Friday and learned that during the course of making an open cut for the Marc I natural gas pipeline across Loyalsock Creek as allowed by DEP’s Water Obstruction and Encroachment Permit, Central New York Oil and Gas apparently had some pumps break down and a plume of sediment went downstream. There were no chemicals involved as this operation did not involve boring under the stream. The department does not believe there was any significant environmental risk and has not made any decision on a civil penalty. The department will be following up with Central New York Oil and Gas.