Cleanup continues for a Penn Township natural gasfield fluid spill, amounting to thousands of gallons of production byproduct liquid seeping into the Muncy Creek watershed last month.
Dan Spadoni, community relations coordinator for the state Department of Environmental Protection's northcentral region, said Tuesday the amount of flowback fluid spilled from an XTO Energy storage tank is significantly less than the 13,000 gallons his agency estimated three weeks ago.
"XTO has estimated the release of 4,275 gallons," Spadoni said.
He still doesn't have an answer for how a tank valve was opened at the well pad off of Marquardt Road, in the southern part of the township.
Onsite soil samples taken by DEP and XTO still are being evaluated, but Spadoni said results of water samples are becoming transparent.
Of the 10 private water samples taken, Spadoni said two have been found to be adversely impacted from the spill.
Elevated levels of chloride and barium were found in those two samples, according to Spadoni.
Also affected were a nearby spring and an unnamed tributary to Sugar Run, he said.
Spadoni said any impact to Sugar Run itself would be minimal due to dilution, and he's unaware of any testing on Muncy Creek.
Spadoni is unaware of any people or wildlife harmed as XTO contractors continue their remediation efforts.
Flowback fluid from the XTO tanks has been shipped away for treatment, according to Spadoni, who said the natural resources from their nearby wells are running dry.
"Their wells are basically completed," he said.
As gas production is winding down there, Spadoni said the tanks remain empty, as there's no need to store fluid that flows back when Marcellus Shale hydrofracturing occurs.
Spadoni said his department is awaiting a corrective action plan from XTO, due this Friday.
"We submitted to them a notice of violation letter on Nov. 24," Spadoni said. "That requires them to submit to us a corrective action plan."
Although the possibility of XTO being fined for last month's spill hasn't been ruled out as corrective action continues, the company has yet to be asked to pay.
"We haven't levied a civil penalty at this time," Spadoni said.
As sample results continue to become available, Spadoni said there's a possibility ground water monitoring wells may be installed in the area.
"We will have to see what they have in their corrective action plan," Spadoni said.