Range Resources will pay $75K for Lycoming County spill

  • Katie Colaneri

Range Resources has agreed to pay a $75,000 fine for a July 2012 spill on a Lycoming County well pad, the state Department of Environmental Protection announced Friday.
The DEP said 3,066 gallons of a manufactured brine solution leaked out of a storage tank and onto the well pad in Lewis Township.
“This was a significant spill that Range reported to the department but did not properly remediate until nearly a year later,” John Ryder, DEP’s director of district oil and gas operations, said in a press release.
While the company did not submit a final report to DEP until June 2013, Range Resources claims there were no delays in the remediation process and that the company proceeded as directed by the department.

In July 2012, researchers with Penn State University were working with Range at a well site located on the grounds of the Cornwall Mountain Hunting Club. The brine solution was being used to create a mud that operators use to pull drill cuttings out of the hole, and not for hydraulic fracturing.
When the brine leaked out of the storage tank, the spill was contained on the well pad until a heavy rainstorm washed it off the site and caused the brine to flow into a tributary of the Trout Run stream. The DEP said there is no evidence any of the brine entered the main stream.
Range Resources spokesman Matt Pitzarella said the company immediately began remediating the site, which eventually included excavating 1,294 tons of contaminated soil.
According to the first inspection report in July 2012, the DEP told Range not to remove vegetation that appeared to have been damaged by the spill, but to monitor the area.
“After monitoring for several months and working with the DEP and the landowner, Range removed the impacted vegetation, fully restored the site, and submitted a final report shortly thereafter to the DEP,” Pitzarella said in a statement.
According to the DEP, inspectors documented contamination and remediation issues at the site during subsequent inspections through March 2013. The department issued three separate notices of violation to Range.
In 2013, the DEP fined oil and gas companies $2.5 million for violations at well sites and pipeline routes.

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