EPA Fines Western PA Treatment Plants For Marcellus Wastewater Violations
The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports the federal Environmental Protection Agency has settled water pollution violations for three wastewater treatment facilities in Western Pennsylvania.
EPA is assessing the plants (which formed a new company called Fluid Recovery Services LLC) $83,000 in penalties.
The violations relate to discharges of Marcellus Shale drilling wastewater into the Allegheny River watershed in between February 2007 and August 2011.
From the Post-Gazette:
According to an EPA news release issued Wednesday, the new company must also spend as much as $30 million to upgrade its three treatment facilities to comply with more stringent wastewater discharge standards in new discharge permits that will be issued by the state Department of Environmental Protection.
The new permits will limit treatment plant discharges of total dissolved solids to 500 milligrams per liter, and until they are issued, the facilities cannot accept “flowback” wastewater from Marcellus Shale gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing operations, the EPA said.
But Myron Arnowitt, Pennsylvania director for Clean Water Action, said the water treatment plants continue to discharge about 500,000 gallons of oil and gas wastewater a day, and the discharges contain multiple toxins and more than 7 million pounds of salt every month — a level that is not significantly lower than the discharges that caused the water quality violations.