Aug. 31–INDEPENDENCE TWP. — A portion of a pipeline project in southern Beaver County has been temporarily suspended by the state Department of Environmental Protection after drilling mud was inadvertently discharged into a tributary of Raccoon Creek.
Spokeswoman Lauren Fraley said the suspension was implemented Tuesday after the drilling mud, also known as bentonite, was discharged into an unnamed tributary to Raccoon Creek near Route 30.
The discharge happened during construction of a pipeline project being overseen by MarkWest Liberty Midstream and Resources, which is building a pipeline to transport natural gas liquids to a processing plant in Smith Township in Washington County.
Fraley said the company reported its own violation, and inspectors from the DEP confirmed the discharge. As such, the DEP suspended the Route 30 portion of the project and ordered MarkWest to compile a written report “which details the cause and duration of each violation and the corrective action taken to prevent its recurrence.”
The DEP mandated the report be submitted within 10 days of the violation, which means it must be submitted by Sept. 7.
The pipeline project will remain suspended until the plan “has been submitted, reviewed and approved in writing by the Department,” according to the DEP order. No timetable was offered on when that might happen.
Despite the Route 30 location being prohibited from further drilling, Fraley said that the company is still allowed to continue the pipeline construction near Park Road in Independence Township.
Jamal T. Kheiry, a spokesman for the company, said Friday that the drilling mud consisted of water and bentonite, which is a type of clay. He added that the substance is not toxic.
“Upon discovery of the release, we immediately suspended work on the pipeline, mobilized cleanup crews, and notified the appropriate regulatory agencies,” he said.
Fraley added that the DEP has not issued a civil penalty against MarkWest, “but reserves the right to pursue additional enforcement actions on this matter.”
(c)2018 the Beaver County Times (Beaver, Pa.)
Visit the Beaver County Times (Beaver, Pa.) at www.timesonline.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.