Shale Daily / NGI All News Access

Pennsylvania DEP Returns to Site of Condensate Pipeline Leak

Inspectors with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) returned to the site of a condensate leak in Washington County on Tuesday to take soil and water samples near a natural gas well owned by a Chevron Corp. subsidiary.

DEP inspectors were called to the site of two Chevron Appalachia LLC wells -- Robinhill 18H and 19H -- in Robinson Township on Dec. 19 to respond to a condensate leak, which the company said resulted from a crack in a 2-inch underground condensate pipeline on the wellpad. DEP and the company at that time agreed to a remediation plan, spokesmen told NGI's Shale Daily.

"Chevron said they got the spill under control and began performing remediation," DEP spokesman John Poister said. "As was part of our plan, they have done considerable remediation at the site, filling at least 10 Dumpsters full of [contaminated] soil."

Chevron spokesman Trip Oliver said that contrary to some reports, there was no second spill of condensate at the site and the company had not placed absorbent material into Bigger Run, a nearby creek that is a tributary of Raccoon Creek. He also said the company did not know the identity of the Robinson Township inspector who allegedly urged a local supervisor to contact the DEP last Thursday.

"Our suspicion is that some rain water had run through the soil where there may still be some condensate residue," Oliver said Wednesday. "It may have picked up that residue and it collected in standing water on the surface. Our suspicion is that is what this person saw and thought was a second leak.

"We are assessing the extent of the contamination in the soil, and we've taken steps to ensure that any remaining condensate residue remains on site by placing hay bales and absorbent pads around the site. To this point there has been no evidence that anything has reached the creek."

Poister said DEP inspectors took more soil samples from the site last Friday. According to the DEP, neither of Chevron's Robinhill wells have been cited for any previous violations.

"There have been reports that it had been two spills, but there was only one," Poister said. "I think that was misinterpreted because we were called out twice. I think some people may have taken that as meaning that there was a second spill. We are continuing our investigation and will be meeting with [Chevron] later this week to figure out where we stand as far as the situation is concerned."

Poister added that the company had not been issued a notice of violation. "It's early into the investigation," he said.

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