Pennsylvania DEP Settles Pipeline Case
"This penalty is the result of the department's commitment to operator compliance and aggressive enforcement to ensure Pennsylvania's water resources are protected," said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has collected a $250,000 civil penalty from CNX Gas Company, LLC for violations associated with the Marchland 3 Pipeline in North Mahoning Township, Indiana County. The state agency announced the settlement July 12.
"This penalty is the result of the department's commitment to operator compliance and aggressive enforcement to ensure Pennsylvania's water resources are protected," said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. "Any permittee must control erosion, sediment, and discharges into the commonwealth’s tributaries and streams and ensure that wetland impacts are mitigated."
A March 29, 2018, DEP inspection of the pipeline revealed CNX's earth disturbance activities caused sediment-laden water from unstabilized construction areas to overtop several erosion and sedimentation controls and discharged sediment laden water into an unnamed tributary to Mudlick Run, designated high-quality waters. DEP reported that it issued a Field Order to CNX the following day in response to the violations observed, which required CNX to immediately cease the unauthorized discharge, achieve temporary stabilization, and take other corrective actions by April 3, 2018. However, by May 16, CNX failed to comply with the requirements of the Field Order and was issued a Notice of Violation for both continued violations and additional violations documented by DEP, including an additional unauthorized sediment-laden discharge to the high-quality waters. The March and May 2018 violations include erosion and sedimentation, unauthorized discharges, and site stabilization issues. These violations have been corrected, according to DEP.
CNX informed DEP on May 18, 2018, that it no longer intends to construct and operate the Marchland 3 pipeline, will pursue permanent stabilization and restoration of the construction site, and will terminate its ESCGP-2, an erosion and sediment control permit.
DEP entered a Consent Order and Agreement with CNX. The COA prescribes a schedule of corrective actions CNX must take to achieve proper erosion and sedimentation control, temporary and ultimately permanent site stabilization, removal of illegal temporary road crossings, and site restoration. The COA also requires submission of progress reports and plans for DEP review and approval.