Fracking fluids blamed for contaminating a spring

Posted by By at 22 November, at 20 : 22 PM Print

Cleanup is underway in Lycoming County following what Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection characterizes as a large fracking spill in the Marcellus play.

The spill, estimated at 13,000 gallons, has contaminated an unnamed tributary to Sugar Run as well as a spring in Penn Township.

However, that is not all that has been potentially jeopardized,”There are also two private drinking water wells in the vicinity that will be sampled for possible impacts,” said Nels Taber, with the DEP.

A state inspector discovered the spill last week during a routine inspection of a gas well pad operated by XTO Energy. According to the DEP, The bottom valve of a 21,000 gallon fracking fluid tank was open, no one from the company was on site at the time of the discovery.

Its still not clear why the valve was open. The DEP says XTO still has not provided any explanation.

XTO, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, hired a contractor to vacuum up the hazardous fluids and excavate soil. A fence has been erected to prevent neighboring cattle from grazing in a field near to the well pad.

DEP inspectors are now starting to analyze soil and water samples, however, initial readings show elevated levels consistent with fracking fluid.

The DEP, in a written letter of violation, has ordered XTO to clean the site.

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