Gas company accused of discharge agrees to pay fine, expresses regret

WILLIAMSPORT – PVR Partners LP has entered into a settlement with the state Department of Environmental Protection after allegedly violating the Clean Streams Law and various related environmental regulations during the fall 2011 construction of the Coal Mountain pipeline in Lycoming County. PVR has agreed to pay a $150,000 civil penalty to settle the charges.

DEP discovered betonite discharge in the Second Fork of Larry’s Creek after a September 2011 stream boring operation. Although betonite is an inert, non-hazardous clay, a large inadvertent return into a watercourse has the potential to impact sensitive aquatic life, according to a Marcellus Shale Coalition report on pipeline boring. The settlement with DEP concerns violations related to soil sediment contained in stormwater runoff alleged to have originated from pipeline construction sites operated by a PVR contractor.

The violations occurred during a period of record rainfall and significant weather events, including Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. An official weather reporting station in Williamsport reported a total rainfall of 15.97 inches during Sept. 2011, more than four times the normal Sept. monthly average.

“We regret that the extraordinary rainfall overwhelmed the mitigation capacity of our contractor’s erosion control measures,” Bill Shea, PVR general partner president and CEO said in a press release. “We value the good working relationship that we have established with DEP and appreciate their recognition of our efforts to quickly remedy the alleged violations.”