Energy. Environment. Economy.

DEP: Treatment plant must limit salty flow to Allegheny River

Waste Treatment Corporation in Warren, Pa.  faces legal action from regulators and an environmental group over discharges to the Allegheny River.

Courtesy of Clean Water Action

Waste Treatment Corporation in Warren, Pa. faces legal action from regulators and an environmental group over discharges to the Allegheny River.

A Warren County treatment plant will have to stop sending salt-rich wastewater to the Allegheny River to meet the terms of a proposed enforcement agreement announced by environmental regulators today.

Waste Treatment Corp. will have to pay a $25,000 fine and upgrade its plant to meet strict discharge limits for total dissolved solids and chlorides under the proposed consent decree.

The company has faced recent scrutiny from regulators and a lawsuit from environmental advocates after scientists with the Department of Environmental Protection found in 2012 that the plant’s discharge was harming water quality and aquatic life in the river. As part of the proposed agreement with the state, the company will have to install treatment improvements by Jan. 1, 2016 then conduct studies to ensure the water quality and biological community are restored downstream.

The treatment plant has been operating under a permit that sets no limit on the amount of total dissolved solids and chlorides it can send to the river from oil and gas and other waste streams. Although Waste Treatment stopped accepting shale drilling wastewater for discharge in 2011, it continues to release large amounts of salt. The proposed consent decree allows the plant to send a monthly average of 176,000 pounds per day of total dissolved solids into the river on an interim basis. By January 2016, the company will have to trim the salt discharge to a monthly average of 888 pounds per day of total dissolved solids.

The proposed consent decree (posted below) is open for public comment until Dec. 23. It will then be submitted to the Commonwealth Court for approval.


  • Barb L

    You are missing the most pertinent facts! Have you SEEN the DEP Report? Do you want a copy to get the facts? If you had read it you would know that Waste treatment corp has NOT stopped taking shale wastewater. This would explain the high amounts of radium 226, radium 228 and Cesium 137 in the sediment at Waste Treatment discharge point. They have admitted in print late in 2011 they never stopped. The production reports on the DeP website from the wells report truckoads of shale wastewater going from the wells to Waste Treatment Corp , Warren, PA. They report 14 truckloads Jan to June 2013 and many more July to Dec 2012. You have reported without all the facts. You are welcome to respond to, especially if you want a copy of DEP report. Us Fish and Wildlife also did extensive testing last year. You need that info also.

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