On the 18th June, 2014, the Department of Environmental Protection fined Carrizo subsidiary for two 2013 offences related to unconventional shale gas extraction practices.
The first was a well control incident in March 2013, which led to 200,000 gallons of fracking waste water into local environment, an incident which led to the evacuation of three families from their homes.
The second incident which took place from a separate pad, occurred month later in April 2013 when 9240 gallons of produced water was released into local environment.
The $192,044 fine covers both 2013 offences.
“These were serious incidents that resulted in environmental degradation and the evacuation of citizens from their homes,” DEP Director of District Oil and Gas Operations John Ryder said. “The department has been working closely with Carrizo during the past year to ensure the company implements changes that will greatly minimize a recurrence of these incidents.”
The first accident, the well control incident, came during the fracking of a well in Washington Township, when production fluid began escaping from the gas well because of a technical defect.
In response to the leak, which bled around 800 gallons of fluid per hour, Carrizo implemented a temporary containment system for the escaping fluid. They removed escaped fluid with vacuum trucks and commissioned a control specialist to respond to the site. The company recovered 5,400 gallons of production fluid from the well. With Carrizo having release 200,000 gallons in total, a recovery of 5,400 gallons equates to a recovery yield of only 2.7%.
However, due to the toxicity of the chemical that were released from the damaged well, Carrizo was forced to issue evacuation notices to four local households, which lead to three families in the area being evacuated in anticipation of natural gas being released from the well as the accident was brought under control. In response to the accident, the company implemented several staffing and technical improvements, including the hiring of a worker to monitor for leaks during the actual fracking process.
The second accident, occurred when a hose transferring fracking fluid into a tank became unsecure and released about 9,200 gallons of the material off the well pad, as a result of Carrizo employees who had not followed proper procedure in transferring the fluid.
The fluid migrated through the stone foundation of a nearby residence and leaked into a basement garage, and also traveled across the road into a field housing livestock.
The DEP stated in a press release that:
“DEP’s Oil and Gas Program staff requested Carrizo to sample potentially impacted residential and agricultural water supplies, and provide potable drinking water to them, which Carrizo did. The company also implemented a number of remediation measures in a timely manner.
The department issued a notice of violation letter to Carrizo on May 7, 2013 for violations of the Clean Streams Law, Solid Waste Management Act, and Chapter 78 oil and gas regulations. The letter also required that a sampling plan, engineering study and fluid handling analysis be submitted.
Carrizo’s response indicated that personnel conducting the fluid transfer operation failed to follow proper procedure.
DEP’s Environmental Cleanup and Brownfields program is overseeing the remediation at both well pads. Contaminated soil has been excavated and properly disposed, while periodic groundwater sampling by Carrizo continues.”