Energy. Environment. Economy.

DEP Allows Fracking To Resume At Spill Site Before Investigation is Complete

Marie Cusick/StateImpact Pennsylvania

The investigation into a March 13 gas well spill in Wyoming County is still ongoing, but the DEP has allowed the company to resume normal operations.

The state Department of Environmental Protection hasn’t finished its investigation into a gas well spill that caused the evacuation of three homes in Wyoming County last month, but in the meantime the agency has allowed the drilling company to resume fracking operations.

The accident began on the evening of March 13 at a well north of Tunkhannock in Washington Township. More than a quarter million gallons of fracking waste water came out of the well before it was successfully capped the following afternoon.

The Texas-based company operating the well, Carrizo Marcellus, was allowed to resume fracking operations last Friday.

“We’re still investigating what could have been done to prevent it,” says DEP spokeswoman Colleen Connolly, “[Carrizo] seems to be following up on what we recommended.”

There is no written DEP policy on allowing a company with an ongoing investigation to resume normal operations.  According to the agency, each investigation is dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

The DEP sent a Notice of Violation to the company on March 18, citing numerous issues including the discharge of fracking waste water into shallow groundwater.

According to Carrizo, the accident was caused when a seal leaked on a piece of equipment known as a “frack tree.” The company was in the last stages of fracking the well when the incident occurred.

State records show Carrizo has drilled 85 wells in Pennsylvania since 2009 and has been fined more than $113,000 for infractions ranging from administrative record-keeping to mishandling waste.

The DEP is determining whether to fine the company for the March accident. A Carrizo spokesman says he expects the company will pay penalties.

You can read the DEP’s Notice of Violation to Carrizo below. In the letter, the agency says Carrizo should halt all operations within the state until the matter is resolved:

The Department strongly recommends that any hydraulic fracturing operations being conducted by your company within Pennsylvania be discontinued until the cause of this problem and a solution are identified.

Carrizo says they did halt all operations in the state until last Friday. The company was also required to file a report with the DEP describing the accident, but the agency says it’s not releasing that report until the investigation is complete.



  • Paul Felix Schott

    Should not the title of this be Ed Rendell Backs
    His Own Pocket Book.

    WE THE PEOPLE need to send Ed and all local
    officials that have anything to do with Poisoning are ground and water a message
    stop worrying get to love Jail.


    Hydraulic Fracturing a Danger to us All.

    Why would anyone think we have water to waste.

    Some one forgot to
    tell all about all the poison chemicals that this ungodly Lisa Jackson gave a
    green light to put in are ground and water.
    And help the Industry, so to they
    will never have to disclose all the poison chemicals they have used.

    the wicked in mind Leaders in this Nation and around the world would let anyone
    Pipe Pollution into the ground to get gas in return from the Ground. Most all
    scientist have know this for many years that this will end safe drinking water
    for all that are in the area of where they are fracturing, in which Millions of
    Gallons of Dangerous Poison Chemically Treated Water are forced underground to
    break up rock and free gas. We need regulations from GODLY People that will
    stop 10,000+ wells a year drilled using hydraulic fracturing to free and make
    the Dangerous Poison Chemicals underground into gas. The primarily affect will
    be unsafe drinking water and many will become sick. THE HEALTH OF MANY WILL
    DETERIORATE because of A Few Wicked Greedy Leaders. Those who have made these
    decisions do not know Jesus Christ. Soon He will say i know you not. They belong
    in jail soon it will be hell for them. What sick in mind would let or want
    anyone to put Dangerous Poison Chemicals underground or into the ground

    The wicked are trying to sell and tell all if it is not near
    your home or land it is safe. This is the biggest ling of horse manure. Do they
    think most of We The People are that dumb or that most Americans lack any intelligence at all. What ever is put on or
    in the ground makes it way to our underground Aquifers, Rivers, Lakes and the
    Oceans. Every Scientist on Earth knows this and most all that have made it to
    eighth grade in school.

    So why would any Leader with a good healthy mind
    ever say or want this?

    Vote any wicked that has anything to do with this
    out of office they work for WE THE PEOPLE. Then need to go to jail. Soon it will
    be not jail but Hell. Revelation 11:18

    United We Stand In GOD We Trust

    The Lord’s Little Helper
    Paul Felix Schott


    Wicked Leaders telling their friends as long as you can cover it up and it
    will not get back to me it is ok with me. Are you sure we will not go to jail
    for making money by Polluting the ground and water. Of course not we make the
    laws to fit our needs not the health and welfare of others or as they used to
    say We The People. Its now the Wicked Leaders and rich Rule. Till our Lord GOD

    Solar Energy the way to go.
    Many States Are and are Banning

    Banned Hydraulic Fracturing




    South Africa




    Aotearoa (New Zealand)

    Nova Scotia


    The State of Vermont

    The list is to long, to list all that have

    Banned Hydraulic Fracturing.

    Archimedes and Albert Einstein
    These two are at the top of the list
    of the World’s Greatest Scientists,
    Viewed by Scientist around the

    Sad that for the last 25 years or so of every teacher asked no
    matter what
    Grade k through 16. At least 80% of them did not know Archimedes.
    Even sadder 90%
    of them could not tell you what one of the most Brilliant
    Scientist to ever
    live on Earth. Won the Nobel Prize for.

    It was
    for the work Albert Einstein did to show the World it could get
    Free Energy,
    Electric from the SUN. (THE PHOTOVOLTAIC EFFECT).
    There is enough Energy
    from our SUN to power all are needs and more.

    • Don Dixon

      ramble on….

  • Victoria Switzer

    psssst…money talks! Where is the fine? What is the incentive for gas companies to do better if they are so easily let off the hook? Over and over I had read the violations and the insult to injury “NO FINE IMPOSED”..Rewarding bad behavior? Yep, more bad behavior!

  • dee hoffmeister

    The people in the DEP are probably really friendly with the gas company execs. etc. We find that alot in Colorado. No one really wants to put the screws to the gas companies. Just let them destroy lands, water, air and health of people and animals. Why not???\

  • Melissa Troutman

    common practice at DEP – and this isn’t the worst of it. thanks for covering. if only the small town papers everyone reads would to…

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