Source: The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 28, 2013
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com
An industrial treatment plant near Allegheny National Forest is dumping illegal amounts of salty, contaminant-laden wastewater from drillers into the Allegheny River in violation of state and federal laws, an environmental group charged in a federal lawsuit.
The state director of Clean Water Action said the group can’t say whether Waste Treatment Corp.’s discharges into the river in Warren include wastewater from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the process of getting gas from the Marcellus shale.
“From our perspective, we just don’t want it in the river,” said Myron Arnowitt, whose group asked a federal judge in the lawsuit filed Monday to order Waste Treatment to stop discharging and fix any damage done to the river.
Waste Treatment did not return a call for comment.
The company has said it does not discharge fracking water, Arnowitt said. Marcellus drillers statewide announced a voluntary effort in 2011 to stop sending fracking water to such plants.
The company has a discharge permit dating to 2003, but Arnowitt said it does not cover the types of pollutants it is discharging. The state Department of Environmental Protection is reviewing an application for a new permit.
“We’re concerned that DEP is delaying action,” he said. “While they’re trying to figure out what this permit should be, (the company) continues to discharge.”
A DEP spokesman said he could not comment.
The DEP in September filed notice in Commonwealth Court that it was suing Waste Treatment but did not include any specific complaints.
A DEP study last year found pollutants reduced water quality downstream of the plant to levels that can’t support aquatic life, leaving the water two- to four-times saltier than sea water, Arnowitt said. Warren is about 150 miles upriver from Pittsburgh.
Clean Water Action is suing under the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act.
Acknowledgement to XL Environmental
An explosion and fire occurred at an XL insured waste treatment facility due to a fire in an on-site trailer containing waste drums. The drums contained lab-packed chemicals including solvents. Between 30,000 and 40,000 gallons of fire water was generated in fire extinguishing efforts. The fire water was retained on the site due to a storm water system and containment dikes. There was no off-site migration of the fire water.
XL’s environmental technical consultant worked closely with the insured following the incident. The technical consultant assisted the insured with oversight of the cleanup at the facility. Most of the water and spilled chemicals were contained on concrete and asphalt, so there were only minor soil affects. Approximately 20 cubic yards of waste were generated from superficial scraping of soils and the parking lot. Free products were recontainerized, as well as cleaned and decontaminated.
XL paid over $250,000 under the insured’s Pollution and Remediation Legal Liability Policy for the emergency response and subsequent cleanup of the insured’s facility.…