Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection handed down fines on Monday to natural gas companies Chesapeake Appalachia LLC and Schlumberger Technology Corp. for a chemical spill at one of their sites last winter. Each company was fined $15,557 for a 295-gallon hydrochloric acid spill at a well site in Asylum Township, according to a DEP press release.
Chesapeake staff notified the DEP on Feb. 9 that a tank containing hydrochloric acid, which was being used in the drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, was leaking. Both Schlumberger and Chesapeake told the Daily Review in Towanda, Pa., that the spill was cleaned up, and that it did not contaminate any ground water, which is a commonly cited fear among environmentalists.
The well where the spill occurred is part of widespread natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale, which stretches from West Virginia into New York, and which uses horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to tap into the deeply buried gas deposits. Pennsylvania’s DEP recently fined Cabot Oil and Gas Corp. $120,000 and instituted stricter-than-normal requirements after Cabot was found responsible for a series of chemical spills and water well contamination.