EPA Fines Marcellus Driller for Clean Water Violations
The Environmental Protection Agency fined a company $177,500 for dumping wastewater into headwater streams in northern West Virginia, which supply water for the Monongahela River basin. The EPA says PDC Mountaineer disposed of material, filled in wetlands, and relocated culverts at four well sites, all without permits. PDC Mountaineer’s Marcellus Shale drilling activities impacted an acre of wetlands, and 4,500 feet of streams. In a release, the EPA says adverse impacts to 1500 feet of stream are permanent.
“The streams involved in this case were mostly headwater streams, the small creeks and streams that are the origin of most rivers. Headwater streams function to store floodwater, reduce sediment, and provide an important source of freshwater dilution to downstream waters.”
As part of the consent agreement, PDC Mountaineer will also have to restore the affected wetlands and streams, and buy mitigation credits for the areas that cannot be restored.