NCRO Weekly Report


WEEK OF OCTOBER 26-30, 2009

Issues Requiring the Governor’s (or Governor’s staff) ACTION


Nothing new to report


Issues Requiring the Governor’s (or Governor’s staff) ATTENTION


Nothing new to report


Management and Productivity


Nothing new to report

Recovery Activities


DEP ARRA Grants Workshop, City of Williamsport, Lycoming County: Office of Energy and Technology Deployment Manager Dave Shimmel was invited by the Larson Design Group to present an overview of DEP grants funded by ARRA and the commonwealth.  On Oct. 27, Shimmel provided a PowerPoint overview and distributed handouts of the various DEP and DCED energy grant programs to more than 60 persons.  The audience consisted of contractors, local government officials, equipment vendors and technical consultants. A representative from PPL was also present to give a presentation on the company’s Act 129 plan.  (Dave Shimmel 570-327-3568)


What’s Hot/Major Actions

Ultra Resources Inc. and Fortuna Energy Inc. Permit Revocations, Gains, Elk, Jackson and Ward Townships, Tioga County and Pike and Abbott Townships, Potter County: On Oct. 28, the Oil and Gas program revoked three erosion and sedimentation control permits previously issued to Ultra Resources Inc. and Fortuna Energy Inc. due to technical deficiencies. The program also sent notice of violation letters to the three licensed professionals who prepared the applications. The permit revocations mean that the two gas exploration companies must immediately halt all earth disturbance activities at the sites except those necessary to install or maintain erosion and sediment control or post-construction and site restoration best management practices. Neither company is eligible to re-submit notices of intent requesting the expedited permit process for those locations. These three permits were appealed to the Environmental Hearing Board by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in August and September, prompting DEP to re-examine the permits to determine if they met the Chapter 102 requirements.  In its letter to the three licensed professionals, DEP advises them that additional enforcement action may be taken against them, including possible referral to the Department of State, Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs for disciplinary action.  (Jennifer Means 570-321-6557)

Chesapeake Appalachia LLC, Oregon Township, Wayne County: On Sept. 23, the Oil and Gas program received aerial photos depicting an area of leafless trees extending down gradient from the corner of a gas well pad located in Oregon Township.  The Robson well pad is operated by Chesapeake Appalachia LLC.  The well is drilled and shut in.  On Sept. 24, Oil and Gas program staff initially inspected the Robson well pad and the associated area of concern.  Based on this initial visual inspection, there was no evidence of a surface impact to the area with leafless trees, but the DEP inspector indicated the need for additional subsurface sampling.  DEP staff re-inspected the location on Oct. 15, collected soil samples that had a UV-IR analysis.  This analysis tests for the presence of petroleum products.  During this inspection, a faint petroleum odor could be detected in the soil where the DEP inspector disturbed the subsurface.  Sample results received on Oct. 22 confirmed the presence of a weathered petroleum product in these soil samples.  Chesapeake has been notified of the DEP sample results and the company has initiated an ongoing investigation at the well pad location.  DEP and Chesapeake have scheduled a meeting to discuss this issue on Oct. 29.  (John Ryder 570-327-0533)


Chief Oil & Gas LLC, Penn Township, Lycoming County: On Oct. 21, the Oil and Gas program finalized a $2,100 civil penalty with Chief Oil & Gas for past violations at the company’s Bower Unit 1H natural gas well site located in Penn Township.  On May 7, DEP conducted an inspection of the well site in response to a citizen complaint of a potential spill onto an adjacent farm field.  A Chief employee informed DEP that a subcontractor working at the well site had caused a spill while pumping drilling mud from one tank to another.  The spill of the drilling mud onto the ground was reported to Chief by the subcontractor to be insignificant and cleaned up.  Chief never reported this spill to DEP.  Chief submitted analytical results on June 12 of barium and chloride testing conducted on four soil samples, three from inside the spill site, and one from outside the spill site.  The analytical results indicated the barium and chloride levels to be within acceptable levels.  (Jennifer Means 570-321-6557)

Potential Problems/Potential Major Actions


Nothing new to report


Good News/Major Accomplishments


Fred Carson Disposal Services Inc., College Township, Centre County: On Oct. 28, the Waste Management program received a $2,000 civil penalty from Fred Carson Disposal Service Inc. for waste transporter violations.  A waste vehicle inspection was conducted at the Dale Summit Transfer Station in College Township, Centre County, on Sept. 9.  Carson owned two vehicles–a packer truck that did not have an operational record and a roll-off container truck that had a leaking load.  (James E. Miller 570-327-3431)


Gerald Lane, Troy Township, Bradford County: On Oct. 21, the Waste Management program received a $2,113 civil penalty from Gerald Lane for violations of the Pa. Solid Waste Management Act.  In June, Waste Management staff observed a large plume of smoke from a distance and responded to a fire at Lane’s property in Troy Township.  At the time of the investigation, Lane was burning a barn that contained household waste, waste tires, a mattress, a propane tank and construction/demolition waste.  Lane was attempting to extinguish the fire but he was not making adequate progress and the Troy Fire Department responded to extinguish the fire.  Lane disposed of more than five tons of solid waste at the Bradford County Landfill from the clean up of the ash residue and remaining waste from the fire.  (James E. Miller 570-327-3431)


Outreach/Upcoming Events


Act 537 Meeting, Centre Region Council of Governments, Centre County: On Oct. 26, Robert Everett, Daniel Thetford, and Robert Boos of the Water Management program’s Sewage Facilities Planning section, met with the planners of the Centre Region Council of Governments (COG).  The COG represents State College Borough, and College, Ferguson, Halfmoon, Harris, and Patton townships.  The COG has undergone some turnover in staff over the last few years as has the Sewage Facilities Planning section.  The purpose of the meeting was for new faces to meet and to have discussion on the historical, current and possible future developments in sewage facilities planning.  Topics of discussion included special protection waters/anti-degradation requirements; Chesapeake Bay Strategy requirements; review of sewage planning modules and their acceptable uses; Act 537 base plans and updates; current and alternate technologies in on-lot sewage disposal; soil and geology of the Centre Region; and the role of municipalities in the sewage planning process, among others.  The meeting was productive and appreciated by the COG. (Robert Boos 570-327-3399)

Central Pennsylvania Bankers Annual Roundtable Meeting, University Park, Centre County: Office of Energy and Technology Deployment Manager Dave Shimmel was invited by the Pa. Small Business Development Center to provide a PowerPoint overview of state energy programs to a regional banking group.  Shimmel highlighted those energy grant programs that would likely benefit from loan support and participation by these central Pennsylvania banking entities.  Twenty six persons were in attendance at the Oct. 23 session held at the Centre County Visitors Center.  (Dave Shimmel 570-327-3568)

Benton Area School District Biomass Project, Benton Borough, Columbia County: On Oct. 26, the Benton Area School District took one of the final steps in closing out its Pa. Energy Development Authority grants with a preview of its recently completed biomass boiler. The biomass unit is located in a renovated central heating plant that supplies hot water to both the junior/senior high school and the Appleman Elementary School.  The two PEDA grants totaled $700,000 towards an overall project value of just under $2 million. The project will save 45,000 gallons per year of No.2 fuel oil with projected savings of more than $90,000 even using the most expensive biomass fuel.  The system has the capability of firing a variety of biomass fuels such as wood chips, switchgrass or corn.  Office of Energy and Technology Deployment Manager and project advisor Dave Shimmel used the occasion to conduct a final site visit in conjunction with the eventual grant close out.  More than 40 persons attended the event.  (Dave Shimmel 570-327-3568)

Recertification Inspection, Milesburg Borough, Centre County: On Oct. 27, Emergency Response Manager Gerald McKernan participated with the PEMA Act 165 Hazmat Team recertification inspection for Eagle Towing and Recovery. Eagle’s Hazmat Team is contracted to Centre, Clearfield and Clinton counties in the Northcentral Region and several counties in Southcentral Region.  McKernan was tasked with reviewing their air monitoring instrumentation, calibrations records for each instrument, along with a demonstration of operation and data interpretation.  (Gerald McKernan 570-327-3722)


Act 2

Basalla Property Act 2 Site, Snowshoe Township, Centre County: On Oct. 23, the Environmental Cleanup program approved an Act 2 Final Report that demonstrated attainment of the Statewide Health Standards (SHS) for soil and groundwater.  On Dec. 18, 2008, 250 gallons of kerosene was released when a valve on an aboveground storage tank was inadvertently knocked open during a fuel delivery by Lucas Oil Company.  Soil downslope and in the former septic leach field were contaminated by the release.  About 120 gallons of kerosene flowed to an unused septic tank that was located downslope of the storage tank.  About 124 tons of contaminated soil was excavated in late December 2008 and early January.  Soil samples were collected and demonstrated attainment of the SHS.  Water with kerosene pooled on top was encountered in the excavation closest to the storage tank.  The kerosene/water mixture from the excavation and unused septic tank was removed and properly disposed.  Groundwater characterization was conducted by installing one monitoring well within the former excavation.  All results were below the SHS.  (Randy Farmerie 570-327-3716)

Bailey Property Act 2 Site, Mt. Carmel Township, Northumberland County: On Oct. 23, the Environmental Cleanup program approved an Act 2 Final Report for the Bailey Property located in Mount Carmel Township.  During a delivery of home heating oil by Duke Oil, a seam ruptured on a 275-gallon aboveground storage tank releasing about 160 gallons.  Minuteman Spill Response, Response Environmental Inc., and Marshall Miller & Associates conducted the remedial activities at the site as well as the submission of the Final Report.  About 60 tons of contaminated soil was excavated and 22 soil samples collected as part of the cleanup activities.  Post-excavation soil sample results indicated that the diesel fuel compounds of concern were below DEP’s Residential Statewide Health Standards for soil, and the site received an Act 2 relief of liability.

(Randy Farmerie 570-327-3716)

Costy’s Used Truck and Auto Parts Act 2 Site, Richmond Township, Tioga County:  On Oct. 20, the Environmental Cleanup program approved the Act 2 Final Report for the Costy’s Used Truck and Auto Parts property along old Route 15 just south of Mansfield.  The final report demonstrated that the Site-Specific Standard had been attained for soil and groundwater on the 30-acre site.  On July 25, 2003, DEP had previously approved an Act 2 Final Report for a 7-acre portion of the auto salvage yard, also for the Site-Specific Standard.   Lowe’s Home Centers Inc. purchased six tax parcels and will retain 26 acres with two lots being subdivided for other commercial development.  The site will be developed into a Lowe’s Home Center retail store and will include a new public water line to service the store.  An environmental covenant was established for the deeds of the affected properties that restricts the use of groundwater and limits the use of the properties to non-residential purposes.  (Larry Newcomer 570-327-3418)

NPDES Majors Backlog Status


Number of Overdue Permits-0

Number of Permits Issued This Week-0

Number of Permits Newly Expired This Week-0

(Chad Miller 570-327-3639)


Items for the DEP Planning Calendar


Nothing new to report

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