Range Resources fined $75,000 for brine spill near Trout Run

The state Department of Environmental Protection has fined Range Resources-Appalachia of Fort Worth, Texas, $75,000 for a July 2012 manufactured brine spill of 3,066 gallons at its Cornwall Mountain Hunting Club Unit A well pad in Lewis Township.

“This was a significant spill that Range reported to the department but did not properly remediate until nearly a year later,” said John Ryder, DEP director of district oil and gas operations.

The department’s investigation determined that a leak from the manhole cover on a manufactured brine storage tank caused the brine to flow off the well pad, over an access road and into an unnamed tributary leading to Trout Run, but there is no evidence the brine reached Trout Run, the department said.

Range reported the leak occurred during a rainstorm, resulting in a mixture of brine solution and rainwater entering storm water swales, trenches and retention basins around the well pad. Due to the volume of the solution that leaked and mixed with heavy rainfall, the structures were overwhelmed, allowing the fluid to travel down to the unnamed tributary.

Range submitted a final closure report to DEP on June 21, which was approved by the department on July 9. The company removed 1,294 tons of contaminated soil from the impacted area, which was properly disposed at the Wayne Township Landfill in Clinton County.

DEP staff documented existing contamination and remediation issues at the site in eight inspections between July 24 and March 28. Three notices of violation were issued. All violations were included in the penalty agreement.