The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has fined Carrizo Oil & Gas Inc. $192,044 for two separate incidents that occurred in the northeast part of the state last year.
The fine comes after the DEP issued a notice of violation to Carrizo on March 18 for violations of the Clean Streams Law, the Solid Waste Management Act and Chapter 78 of the state code, which sets forth environmental protections. The notice also carried with it stipulations, including proposed corrective actions and changes to the company's completion and well control procedures.
The fine stems from an incident on March 13, 2013, when Carrizo was hydraulically fracturing (fracking) the Yarasavage 1H well in Washington Township. The company lost control of the well after a leaking flange on the wellhead let go up to 1,100 bbl/hour of production fluid that escaped containment structures. Roughly a month later, Carrizo reported that about 9,240 gallons of production water had spilled at its Mazzara well pad in the same township, when a hose transferring the fluid from a truck to a storage tank slipped and fell out of containment.
DEP District Director of Oil and Gas Operations John Ryder called the events "serious" violations, which caused "environmental degradation" and the evacuation of residents living in nearby homes. He added that Carrizo has fully cooperated with the agency over the past year to implement changes and remediate the damage it caused.
Carrizo said a frack tree, or wellhead, flange was likely the cause of the Yarasavage well control incident and it has since implemented improvements to ensure that the problem does not happen again. At the Mazzara pad, Carrizo said personnel working on the fluid transfer failed to follow proper procedure.
The production water that leaked at that site forced the temporary relocation of livestock in the area and required the company to provide potable drinking water to nearby residents. The DEP said environmental cleanup continues at both sites.