Friday, December 11, 2009

Recent Bradford County spill results in $52/gal fine. Company investigated by US Dept of Justice, US Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Back in February of this year, an estimated 295 gallons of hydrochloric acid spilled from a tank located at a well site in Asylum Twp, Bradford County.  On Monday, December 7, PA's Department of Environmental Protection issued a press release stating the two companies involved--Chesapeake Appalachia LLC and Schlumberger Technology Corp of Midland TX would each be fined $15,557 (or roughly $50 per gallon spilled).  According to the PRESS RELEASE, clean up involved the following:
  • A contractor "removed free-standing acid from the ground with absorbent pads"
  • Trenches were excavated to contain the spill
  • Contaminated soil was neutralized with "soda ash and hydrated lime"
  • Approximately 125 tons of contaminated soil had to be excavated
  • Nearly 14,000 gallons of hydrochloric acid and water mixture were removed from the site 
  • An additional 11,000 gallons of acid was transfered from the faulty tank to temporary tanks
Schlumberger Technology Corp is one of the country's leaders in the use of hydraulic fracturing (Halliburton is the other).  The company has been the focus of many investigations including:
  • that of a team led by Erin Brockovich (remember the movie?) for a spill in Midland, TX.  You can see footage of Brockovich on a CBS appearance HERE
  • STC is suspected to be the cause of 16 cattle dropping dead in a field recently in Louisiana after drinking a mysterious fluid in a field next to a drilling rig.  
  • recently been investigated by the US Dept of Justice for having violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in their oil & gas business in Nigeria.
  • Investigated and fined by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission for having "willfully failed to perform required radiation surveys" in Montana resulting in the exposure of 31 workers to hazardous radioactive material.  Read the full Notice of Violation HERE.

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