Fluid spills at Lycoming County gas well pad result in fines for contractor

  • John Beauge/PennLive

WILLIAMSPORT – A Lycoming County contractor has pleaded no contest to two charges related to the discharge of approximately 63,000 gallons of treated brine water from a natural gas well pad in 2017.

Jason Dupont, owner of Double D Construction and Excavating of Montoursville, entered the plea Tuesday to charges of pollution of waterways and a Clean Streams Act violation.

Double D was responsible for monitoring the transfer of treated brine water from a million-gallon tank to a smaller one so it could be trucked from the well pad in Eldred Township north of Warrensville in Lycoming County.

The same worker fell asleep in a truck for about 30 minutes early on Nov. 12, 2017, and for 45 minutes the following morning while a 21,000-gallon tank overflowed.

Some of the fluids went into a tributary of Loyalsock Creek.

County Judge Marc F. Lovecchio honored a plea agreement and fined Double D $7,500 with $2,500 going to the Pennsylvania Fish Fund and $5,000 to the Clean Water Fund.

The company also must make a $5,000 contribution to the Susquehanna Chapter of Trout Unlimited.

The business, which is shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, has two years in which to pay the $12,500 but could seek an extension.

By pleading no contest, Dupont did not have to admit to the allegations in charges filed by the state attorney general’s office.

The co-defendant in the case, Inflection Energy, headquartered in Denver, Colo., is tentatively scheduled to plead guilty May 1.

It is accused of not reporting the first spill that was smaller than the second one.

Inflection paid a $170,500 civil penalty levied by the Department of Environmental Protection after the spill but Double D was not cited.

The charges against Double D state that it was the job of the employee, who was working a 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift with no set days off, to turn off the pump when the float was within 2 feet of the top of the tank.

The worker was fired that Nov. 13 and the pump now has a hard shutoff and Inflection requires monitoring when it is operating, court documents state.

As part of a remediation effort, Inflection removed and disposed of more than 3,600 cubic yards of impacted soil, DEP said. It also monitored groundwater and private water sources.

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