New Castle News

Closer Look

July 15, 2014

Hilcorp to ‘remediate’ soap spill

NEW CASTLE — Hilcorp Energy Co. has notified state officials it will “remediate” a soap spill in Pulaski Township.

The company, which has multiple unconventional gas wells in the county, submitted a Notice of Intent to Remediate to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for its wellpad site at 3242 Garner Road, Pulaski Township.

A legal ad was published July 3 in the New Castle News.

The notice states the site and surface water at the site, which is known as the Pulaski-Whiting gas well, has been contaminated with soap.

The company has proposed remediation measures which “may consist of monitored natural attenuation or other insitu remediation measures.” The public notice states the proposed future use of the property will be “for residential use.”

Gary Clark of the DEP said the department has inspected the incident and sent a notice of violation to Hilcorp for the discharge.

However, he said, “We don’t know the volume or extent of the contamination yet.”

He said that should be addressed as Hilcorp goes through the Act 2 process and submits the required reports. Public notice of such spills is required by Act 2, the Land Recycling and Environmental Remediation Standards Act, according to the DEP.

Clark said it is up the oil and gas department to “determine where this falls in terms of enforcement priority.” He said the oil and gas department has been in contact with Hilcorp, which indicated around mid-June that a complete Notice to Remediate is forthcoming but the department has not yet received it, he said.

Morgan Wagner of the DEP explained that although soap is “fairly innocuous,” it is a contaminant, raises pH, acts as a wetting agent and could be toxic to fish and aquatic life.

She said that natural attenuation “relies on natural processes like dilution and the microbes that feed on the contaminant.”

When the cleanup is finished, Hilcorp must submit a report for DEP approval. She said that once the contamination is resolved, there should be no lasting issues that would require legal restrictions on the property.

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