DEP Fines Driller for Contaminating Drinking Water in Forest County
The Department of Environmental Protection says Catalyst Energy will have to pay a fine and conduct remediation for its oil and gas production in Forest, McKean and Warren counties. The DEP fined the Pittsburgh-based oil and gas company $185,000 for violations at non-Marcellus wells. The DEP says Catalyst operations polluted 14 residential drinking water supplies in Hickory Township, Forest County.
A press release issued by DEP lists high levels of iron, manganese and methane. All of the water wells are within 1000 feet of a Catalyst well, so the company is presumed liable under current state law. DEP spokesman Kevin Sunday says methane migration occurred through nearby abandoned wells. He says the department didn’t determine how drilling polluted the wells with manganese and iron.
Sunday says Catalyst restored the water in some of the wells, and are providing water to other residents. Some of the wells are attached to hunting cabins and so are not used year round.
DEP inspections found that Catalyst did not install controls to prevent sediment runoff at Forest County wells. State regulators say the company also caused oil and fluid leaks at sites in Forest, Warren and McKean counties. DEP says Catalyst can not drill or frack any new or existing wells unless they show they are in compliance with all regulations.