Seneca fined for oil runoff into tributary

Staff Writer

MEADVILLE – The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced Monday afternoon that Seneca Resource Corporation (Seneca) has agreed to a $375,000 civil penalty for oil and gas violations of the Clean Stream Law, Dam Safety and Encroachment Act, the Oil and Gas Act, and the Solid Waste Management Act.
Beginning in August 2013 through 2015, DEP inspected various areas of construction in Forest, McKean, and Elk Counties and determined that multiple violations of erosion and sedimentation control existed, including:
·Failure to comply with the conditions of the Erosion Control Permit and maintain best management practices during earth moving activities;
·Discharge of an estimated 70 to 100 barrels of crude oil which flowed across land then into a tributary of Windfall Run, a High Quality Cold Water Fishery in McKean County;
·Discharge of an estimated 500 barrels of flowback fluid generated from a valve failure to the ground and surrounding wetlands in Forest County; and
·Failure to follow the approved water management plan for 105 days in McKean County when Seneca withdrew water during a drought watch.
According to DEP, Seneca has resolved all the violations identified in this civil penalty.
“Sediment is a major cause of stream impairment in Pennsylvania. DEP inspectors are diligent about inspecting construction activities to ensure operators are meeting permit conditions and regulatory requirements,” said DEP Acting Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “This penalty is reflective of DEP’s commitment to enforcing those conditions and requirements.”

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