Energy. Environment. Economy.

4,700 Gallons Of Acid Spill At Bradford County Drilling Site

Click on the image to view the affected well in StateImpact Pennsylvania's Shale Play app.

There’s been another accident at a northeastern Pennsylvania drilling site: 4,700 gallons of hydrochloric acid spilled at a Leroy Township, Bradford County well pad operated by Chief Oil and Gas on Wednesday

The spill comes two weeks after a thirty-foot methane geyser erupted near a Shell natural gas well in nearby Union Township, Tioga County.

Leroy is the same township where a Chesapeake Energy well suffered a 10,000-gallon fracking fluid blowout in 2011.

Click here to see where the well pad is located.

The Department of Environmental Protection is placing preliminary blame on a valve failure.   “The acid breached containment and flowed off the well pad,” emailed DEP spokesman Dan Spadoni. “Some of the acid was collected in a sedimentation pond, while the remainder flowed through a field and some reached a small tributary to Towanda Creek causing a minor fish kill. Dams were constructed in the tributary before any acid reached Towanda Creek.”

In a statement, Chief spokeswoman Kristi Gittins said the majority of the acid stayed on the well pad. She estimated up to 800 gallons flowed beyond the drilling site.

Canton Fire Chief Kim Jennings, who also helped lead the cleanup of the Shell methane geyser, says the spill is now under control.

What was hydrochloric acid doing at the site? Click here to find out.

Update: here’s a statement from Chief Oil and Gas:

An HCL release of appx 4,700 gallons occurred at appx 1pm on July 4 at the Yoder well site in Leroy Twp, Bradford Co. The release was discovered by personnel on site. DEP and the Bradford County EMS were notified and response measures were implemented. It is important to note that the majority of the release, around 4,000 gallons was held to the initial containment area on the pad site. All pad sites are lined with a thick plastic so any inadvertent release of fluids can be remedied at the pad site. Appx 700-800 gallons left the initial containment area and traveled into a sediment pond, which is designed as an additional safety measure to contain any runoff from the pad site. Appx 50 gallons left the sediment pond but appears to have remained localized to a small plunge pool next to the sediment pond.

The appropriate clean up crews were quickly dispatched and are on site working. Additional berms of precautionary protection were put in place as crews were neutralizing and vacuuming the pond. The release was quickly contained and cleanup is near completion. After cleanup is complete, any needed remediation effors will be determined and that work will begin.

There were no drilling or fracing operations taking place at the time of the release. Landowners in the immediate area were notified, however there was never an issue of safety.

The release is under investigation by Frac Tech, Chief and the DEP, but it appears that a valve on the back of the tanker containing the HCL was found partially open which resulted in the release.

There is no evidence that any runoff entered Towanda Creek and all pH readings have been normal. DEP and the Fish and Boat Commission have been on site and, along with Chief, are continuing to monitor. There were a few dead minnows observed, localized in the small plunge pool, but there was no evidence of HCL and normal pH readings and live fish were noted further downstream in the tributary that leads to Towanda Creek. And again, no evidence of any runoff into Towanda Creek. Chief and DEP will continue to take readings and monitor.


  • DoryHippauf

    Maybe DEP should just set up an office in town, and isn’t this where the methane plumes are being reported by the Clean Air Council?   

    What the hey, huh, it’s all safe – right? 

  • Vera Scroggins

    how much more are we suppose to allow, tolerate, be exposed to, and endure ?!
    no other industry has the exemptions and privileges of this industry to continue despite
    the continuing , daily violations. 

  • Christina Lee Countryman

    oh well, just another valve failure

  • Musicmiss13

    What the “frack” is going on here?  Am I a crazy conspiracy theorist, or is the agenda of these gas hounds to make water SO bad, that we will eventually have to BUY it to survive?  Yeah, I might be crazy, but think about how much CONTROL those companies with the clean, safe and life-giving water will make and we’ll have to give it to them in order to stay alive.  The Eleventh Commandment:  “THOU SHALE NOT!”  (just my humble opinion)

  • Ginnshap

    thank you, Why did the Daily review not publish this today?  Do they get paid not topublish certain things? We were there on Southside Ave . yesterday. They wouldn’t let us go thru but just told us it was a “spill”We were coming down from Sunfish pond and the smell was awful

  • Resident

    These things happen on an almost daily basis yes there is never an issue of safety according to the DEP.  At what point do all the incidents accumulate until they do become a problem? When it finally becomes some kind of Superfund site? DEP allows slow poisoning of our environment. Good bye to the woods and streams of the formerly relatively pristine Endless Mts. Soon we will be like any other industrial wasteland in PA. No fix for that once it happens. Is nothing sacred, special or worth protecting in PA?

  • angry resident…..

    It’s my families well pad and it wasn’t that bad. To be completely honest I don’t know where they found any fish because the very small brooke that runs through there was dried up yesterday. Also I was not allowed to go through because I needed to get down to my house so I went around and still was told that I couldn’t go through. To be honest I was more upset about not being allowed to go to my own house than the actual spill. They had it contained with medical  and fire vehicles on site before it got to out of hand. Also they had a back hoe ready to clean up the spill within a half hour. The grass was high in the feild which slowed the chemical even more. So to all of you who are freaking out….calm down no use crying over spilt milk. You couldn’t do anything about it anyway so why are you getting your panties in a bunch now. And I didn’t smell anything….I was litterally 50 feet up the road.

    • Guest

      It is attitudes like yours that fuel anger…”
      So to all of you who are freaking out….calm down no use crying over spilt milk.” really?

    • tntblaster

       People need to stop hating so much on the gas industry.. this wasn’t a big deal.

      • what????

        It may not be a big deal for you…how big would a spill need to become, for it to be a big deal for you?
        It isn’t the gas industry that is hated, it is the danger posed to wildlife, land, water, mankind etc…that is hated!
        The accidental occurances that take place during horizontal Fracking are dangerous to all living things.
        Please become more informed.

    • Mrnbiker651

      It’s pretty obvious the problem here is a lack of understanding of how the environment works. 4700 gallons of hcl IS a big deal. Those that think otherwise are misguided, at best.

    • what????

      Really???? Everyone is intitled to their opinions…and it was 4700 gallons of HYDROCHLORIC ACID… NOT SPILT MILK!!! Judging everyone for their input is proof of quilt. In 5 years or less, I’d love to know how your health has been affected, living so close to this site! Remember we can’t EAT or DRINK the money gained from any fossil fuel extraction. Our countries history has always allowed for the dangers produced by fossil fuel production to happen, then they deal with the consequences after the accidents. This complacent behavior will eventually catch up with us somehow, in some way, hopefully not taking too many lives in the process! Why not take fossil fuel production in a safer manner in the beginning, instead of fixing it as it comes? Seems safety doesn’t take priority over the profit…otherwise accidents like this…an open valve left open on a truck, wouldn’t take place!!!!!

    • John Trallo

      Most isloated incidents may not be a ‘big deal’. The cumulative impact and long term affect these individual ‘spills, leaks, blow-outs, etc, are having on water quality, air quality, property values, peoples health and safety, and our way of life IS A VERY ‘BIG DEAL’!

      Why is that obvious fact so hard for some people to get their head around?

      What someone does with their property is their own business, but when their actions, or the actions of others they allow to be conducted on their property, affects others, that too, IS A VERY ‘BIG DEAL’! 

      No one is crying over SPILT MILK (or in this case, spilt hydrocloric acid). People are saying too muchy has already been ‘SPILT’, and it has to stop.  


      You have to be kidding me? Maybe you think it’s alright to be down wind (or stream) of 4700 gallons of leaking HCL though your neighbors may have a very different view. The fact that you’re making money on leasing your land to these drillers makes your comments irrelevant.

      • angry resident…..

        The thing is that I’m NOT seeing this money at all. I am not saying HCL is not a big deal what I am saying is that it never left the feild. That “Stream” they talked about is only ever a stream in the summer it’s only in March when we have solid rain and snow melt. I have NEVER seen minnows, fish, or any semi large marin life in a field have you? Also I was down stream from the other spill that happened in the spring of 2011. Again they couldn’t find any of the chemical in the creek by the time it got to my house or any one elses because of so much water. Yes it is a sham that a chemical of that potency was spilt. But it could only go one way inless chemicals can now defy gravity and go up hill both ways. Inless you live in the township of LeRoy I don’t understand why you are all worrying so much. If you talk to any of the residences here most of us have been dealing with methan for most of our lives. One house has a pipe filtering it out of their well. Also if you read the acticle more closely you see that only 800 of the 4700 gallons got off the pad. SO they only had to really deal with the 800 gallons causing damage. And to be honest if I need to walk through the feild for any reason I will walk through that. I have been dealing with HCL since I work on a farm and use that to wash milkers and the pipe line. I have been swimming in the creek that had the chemical spill in 2011 and I have yet to grow a third arm or die. I have seem just as much wild life in the creek from before the spill to now. Most people want to point fingers now that things that most people didn’t know about are happening. I think people are granted their own opinion and I don’t doubt that you all know something but what I am simply trying to say is that it wasn’t as bad as this article made it out to be. The gas companys will be in Bradford county for a long time so we should all just take a minute and instead of pointing fingers and having a yelling match to listen and to understand what both sides are saying. If you all have this many concerns I would write to your respected Rep. of State. They are the ones who are having the laxed rules and regulations. Also if you look at TX they have less regulations on the gas situation and everything is still alright in the state as far as I know. It isn’t always the gas company’s who have the bad ideals. When this spilled occured they called who needed to be called, they stayed and cleaned it up in a timely fasion, and they will continue to test and make sure nothing more comes of this spill. Yes again it is a sham but no one died of human origin and the world didn’t come to an end. I know how ecology works believe me but that small spot in a field will not harm or damage the full eco-system in the township of LeRoy.

    • Casper16830

      Exactly. A couple dead minnows is hardly a fish kill. If it was your property or gas rights you wouldn’t be complaining.

      • what????

        Don’t assume, it would or will never be my property. This is not complaining, these are factual statements. The number and type of fish are irrelivent, the fact of the matter is Hcl is a poisonous acid that was released from a valve on a truck! Where are the double/triple safety checks that should be required, preventing these types of spills? A little more attention to detail could have prevented this spill from ever happening.

        • tntblaster

           There ARE numerous safety checks, you can’t accept that accidents happen?

          All these people complaining about the gas industry.. We’ve been drilling this state for DECADES.. before that COAL…  we drill and mine the heck outta Pennsylvania, always have. You want all that to stop? Goodbye PA economy. 

          And those of you who tout Gasland like the holy grail of documentaries need to get a clue as well. Methane migration is present all over this state, naturally. In areas that have not been mined or drilled, ever.

          • Musicmiss13

            Yep, how many dead coal miners; how many dead animals, oh, and that “little” BP spill in the Gulf; no big deal; never mind – accidents happen; eleven people killed – never mind; accidents happen; and does the name Exxon Valdez mean anything?  Never mind – accidents happen.  It’s easy to tout the mining industry when it’s not YOUR property; not YOUR well; not YOUR family member, but, never mind – accidents happen.

    • VAppalachia1

      Is it “your family’s” well pad, or Chief’s well pad?  

      Do you have the same rights to your property now that you’ve sold your mineral rights out?

      Are you (and the Texas-based drilling company) using your property in a manner that does not injure your neighbors or the water resources shared, and relied upon, by others?  

      Will the cement casing on “your” well bore be intact in 1 year from now?  (PA DEP reports 7.2% of new wells leaking in 2012.)  Will the cement still be protecting the aquifer 30 years from now? 

      If you consented to this, why are you angry?

      Will you let your family walk someday in the grass that slowed the spill?

      Just asking.

    • logical thinker

      You were not allowed to the area, even after going around and still being told that you were not allowed to go through to get to your own residence, but yet you are pretty doggone sure that this was a purely harmless accident and that there was no damage to be concerned about… interesting…

  • Doneyrocks

    Keep Pennsylvania beautiful. yeah, right.

  • BlueNick305

    It will not stop no matter how much boycotting people do. Until we make a law preventing and regulating those companies from doing this, then there will be hope that these actions will cease .

  • Isis

    Our Governor sold our state to the Frackers for their campaign contibutions. I hope there’s something left for us when they’re done.

  • Ephrem

    Energy. Environment. Economy. Corruption. 

  • John Smith

    you are part of ALL this if you drove yesterday, drive today, or will drive tmorrow a PETROL powered vehicle.

    • VAppalachia1

      Flimsy logic should not be used to limit the freedom of others to express dissenting views.  To state that those of us who object to our nation’s natural gas experiment contribute to the problems it causes by driving gasoline-powered vehicles is preposterous on many levels beyond the most obvious: that most of us must fuel our vehicles with gasoline, which is derived from oil.  

      Currently demand for vehicle fuel does little to drive demand for natgas.  Just read the article on this site about natgas powered vehicles and how many (few) are on the road, with limited refueling opportunities.Fossil fuel corporations have power to keep the playing field for alternative energy far from level, and to control and limit our choices of fuels, for vehicles and for domestic energy production/consumption.  If one could opt for another choice, many would.

      • VAppalachia1

        Can’t add this last additional point with the Edit function.  These concluding sentences should be attached to the previous post:

        Many are already seeking and finding alternatives on their own, since our “leaders” have no courage to back them.  We all want one monolithic source to fix the problem, but we may have to rely on many small sources, even though they can’t be harnessed easily into utilities or might not make Wall Street richer in the short term.

  • DeeHoffman

    Every form of Natural Energy has good and bad consequences.Nuclear Power,Natural Gas,Drilling  Oil on land or sea,Coal Mining, etc etc.I support all we can do for our own Country to run on its resources..Many have a vision of Going Green….well that is not going to happen overnight.Windmills are not churning enough,nor is Solar Power lighting us up.Then we have the Garbage,Manure and Crushed Corn entities…..along with Algae.Will these sources really solve our problem????

  • Tina

    I tell you what – anybody who is taking fracking lightly, must either be employed by Big Oil or is living under a huge rock….
    These companies take millions of gallons of perfectly good water, then mix it with a super toxic cocktail of undisclosed chemicals, pump it deep into the shale, fracture it and harvest a comparatively minute amount of gas.
    This is a very labor intensive process and the yield doesn’t warrant the effort. Furthermore, they screw up our water so badly, that you can set it on fire as it comes out of the faucet!!!

    If that isn’t scary enough for you, just think what it does to the rest of the water. They poison it  and have NO way to contain or recycle it. If you went to school and happen to learn anything about ecology and other earth sciences, then you know that ALL water exists and behaves in a cycle. Why, do you think, have we got that big, big circle of plastic crap floating in the oceans!!!

    So, what will happen to that contaminated H2O??? It’ll find it’s way and I dare to predict that IF WE ALLOW THIS TO CONTINUE, IN OTHER WORDS, IF WE DO NOT CARE ENOUGH, ARE COMPLACENT AND IGNORANT (as is our nature),


  • Name

    How was the hydrochloric acid cleaned up/ neutralized? What substance was used?

  • AnOuthouse

    You people don’t understand that politicians don’t become wealthy all on their own. You need to suck up the acids, explosions, carcinogens, noise, and destroyed roads because your governor deserves to be rich. Respect the one percent and stop complaining.

  • Jo Grieve

    This article states July 4.

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