I just want to point out two things here.
1. There is something very wrong with the fact that we have a lot of wastewater sitting around in various places, permitted or not permitted, and no place or way to dispose of it. If this industry was new to the planet then I might cut it and the state agencies a little bit of slack, but it’s not new! They have been drilling out west at this rushed rate long enough to know that they are going to have waste water and it’s going to have to go somewhere. Heck, most local residents I have spoken with can figure this out and most of them are not that familiar with the gas industry. I want to know why this problem was not solved prior to the drilling. My suspicions are as follows. The DEP and the state of PA are new to this. On some level they might claim that they didn’t know what to expect. That really doesn’t get them off the hook though. It’s their job to protect and keep themselves informed and up to date on what transpires on the state lands and waterways, so they should have made sure that somebody in the DEP knew what was to come and then made sure the regulations were in place to take care of preconceived problems, such as waste water disposal. My other suspicions are purely political and I will not get into that here, especially since they are suspicions.
2. I find it to be either extremely short sighted and poor management for Dunn’s Tank Service to not know the laws that relate to their industry or to have made no effort to find out what they are. To me that basically says, ” We don’t really care and were not really that competent.” And they’re the ones responsible for transporting toxic wastewater around the state? Wonderful.
BY JAMES LOEWENSTEIN
The Department of Environmental Protection announced Tuesday that it has fined Dunn’s Tank Service Inc. of Towanda $3,000 for operating a waste transfer station without a permit last July in Wysox Township.
“Dunn’s was storing gas well drilling wastewater in tanker trailers and you must have a waste transfer station permit from the DEP to do that,” said DEP Northcentral Regional Director Robert Yowell. “DEP will take similar enforcement action against any other such illegal facility in this region.”
DEP inspectors investigated a citizen complaint in late July and discovered two tanker trailers at the Dunn site holding about 10,000 to 12,000 gallons of gas well drilling wastewater, the DEP said in a press release that it issued on Tuesday.
A Dunn’s employee told DEP inspectors that his company was transporting the wastewater to the tanker trailers for temporary storage when disposal facilities were unable to accept it, the press release said.
The DEP sent Dunn’s a notice of violation letter containing requirements that all wastewater be removed from the site and that no additional wastewater be transported there, the release said.
A DEP inspection in August confirmed that the company had complied with those orders, the release said.
The fine was paid to the Solid Waste Abatement Fund that pays for cleanups across the state, the environmental agency said.
Todd Dunn, owner of Dunn’s Tank Service, said his company did not know the storage of the wastewater required a permit.
“We’re from Oklahoma,” he said. “It was ignorance on our part on not knowing the law.”
He said the wastewater was actually stored at the site in two steel “frac” tanks.
In Oklahoma and Texas, storage of wastewater in the frac tanks would not have required a permit, he said.
He also said the wastewater that was stored was not hazardous. “It was basically fresh water,” Dunn said.
“There was no danger,” he said. “There was no contamination or anything like that.”
“I was shocked that they didn’t give us a warning,” rather than issue a fine, he said.
Dunn said that since the fine was imposed, Dunn’s Tank Service has held a workshop for its supervisors to make sure they know the DEP rules and regulations that would pertain to the company, he said.
Dunn’s Tank Service, which is headquartered in Oklahoma, has an office in Towanda.
James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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