DEP Fines Talisman Energy USA $3,500 for well drilling violations in Bradford County
The Department of Environmental Protection has fined Talisman Energy USA of Horseheads, N.Y., $3,500 for violations discovered last year at three of the company's natural gas wells in Troy Township, Bradford County, according to a press release from the DEP.
Talisman Energy USA was formerly known as Fortuna Energy Inc.
"During routine inspections, DEP staff found minor reporting deficiencies, but also more serious violations that were quickly addressed by the company (Talisman Energy USA)," said DEP Northcentral Regional Director Robert Yowell.
An inspection in February 2009 at the Cease 1H well discovered that the proper ownership information, including the well permit number, operator's name, address and telephone number, had not been publicly posted by Fortuna as required by Pennsylvania's Oil and Gas Act, the press release said.
During a follow up inspection in June at three natural gas wells drilled on the same pad in Troy Township, flow-back fluids - or the fluids that are used to break up underground rock and then return to the surface - were found discharging into a drainage ditch, an adjacent sediment basin, and eventually through a vegetated area into an unnamed tributary of the south branch of Sugar Creek, the DEP said. These discharges violated Pennsylvania's Clean Streams Law, Solid Waste Management Act, and DEP's oil and gas regulations, the press release said.
The company promptly placed a pump into the sediment basin to pump the fluids back into tanks and hired a consultant to conduct appropriate sampling, the press release said.
The discharge did not cause a fish kill in the unnamed tributary and DEP samples taken in June found the conductivity, pH, salinity and total dissolved solid levels in that waterway to be within acceptable levels, the environmental agency said.
As a result of this incident, Talisman Energy USA has increased its efforts to make sure that its contractors and subcontractors are aware of the unique features of each well site, including the locations of tributaries and other waterways, and aquatic species they may need to be aware of, said Mark Scheuerman, manager of government and media relations for Talisman Energy USA.
In general, through, Talisman Energy is "very proud of its environmental track record in New York state, and now in Pennsylvania," Scheuerman said.
This press release was provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection agency.