DEP Investigating Spill Into Creek
Washington PA Observer Reporter
14 April 2012
JOLLYTOWN - A spokesman with the state Department of Environmental
Protection said the agency will be issuing a notice of violation
to Equitrans, a subsidiary of EQT, for a 4,500-gallon spill of
bentonite into a tributary of Dunkard Creek on Wednesday.
John Poister of the DEP said although not toxic, bentonite can be
detrimental to aquatic life. Bentonite is most commonly known for
its use as a major component of drilling mud. It is also widely
used as an additive for viscosity and filtration control.
Gilmore Township Supervisor Charles Wise reported the spill.
"I noticed the gray color in the water and contacted DEP ... and
the two landowners who have cattle," Wise said. "A clay substance
had blown out into the stream."
EQT was putting in a 24-inch pipeline beneath the Garrison Fork
tributary when the spill occurred, according to Poister. The line
is part of the Equitrans Sunrise Project, a 45-mile gas pipeline
extending from Southwestern Pennsylvania into northern West
Poister said DEP would be conducting further testing and
inspections on Friday.
"We don't know the extent of damage to the stream, if there was
any damage," Poister said. "The company brought in a crew to
remove the bentonite and keep it from spreading. One of the
concerns is the stream is kind of cloudy."
Bentonite leaking into streams can kill fish and aquatic life by
clogging their gills, burying them or burying their eggs. It
swells considerably when exposed to water.
EQT told DEP it had finished the cleanup and resumed drilling by
10:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to Poister. The spill occurred
between noon and 1 p.m. the same day.
Poister said the DEP hopes to have more information available