Range to pay $1.75M to settle water withdrawal violations it reported to DEP

  • Katie Colaneri

One of the state’s biggest gas drillers has agreed to pay a $1.75 million settlement with the Department of Environmental Protection for failing to keep records of its withdrawals from waterways in Southwest Pennsylvania for more than five years.

According to the DEP, Range Resources brought these violations to the agency’s attention.

“We obviously want to determine exactly why we didn’t catch this before Range caught it themselves and we’re in the process of doing that,” said DEP spokesman John Poister.

From July 2009 through February 2014, Range did not record how much water it was pulling from local rivers and streams. These records are required by the company’s own DEP-approved plan to manage water use for shale gas development in Washington and Allegheny Counties.

Range discovered the violations in an internal review in preparation for paperwork the company is required to file with the DEP, Poister said.

A follow-up investigation revealed that in some cases, Range exceeded the maximum allowable amount. Poister said there is no evidence these oversights resulted in negative impacts on the environment.

“Range notified the DEP immediately upon discovering these issues and promptly took additional steps to better manage water withdrawals and regulatory reporting,” said Range spokesman Matt Pitzarella in a statement.

As part of the settlement, Range will pay an $800,000 fine for the violations. The company will also contribute $950,000 to support an acid mine drainage mitigation project in Allegheny County.

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