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West Virginia Cites Violations, Proposes Fine For Antero Midstream

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) has proposed a civil penalty of $93,155 for Antero Resources Corp. subsidiary Antero Midstream LLC for a series of violations that allegedly occurred in 2013 during the construction of a natural gas gathering pipeline.

WVDEP issued a consent order in February, detailing 26 violations of the state's Water Pollution Control Act and Solid Waste Management Act. Agency spokeswoman Kelley Gillenwater said the violations were mainly related to infractions of the company's stormwater construction permit. She said, however, "that nothing in the consent order is final until the document is signed by the division of water and waste management director."

The proposed civil penalty is out for public notice until May 1, and Gillenwater said any feedback from the public could lead to revised penalties.

According to the consent order, WVDEP conducted a series of inspections in Ritchie, Tyler, Doddridge and Pleasants counties. The agency cited Antero on numerous occasions for allowing solids to escape the pipeline right-of-way and settle into nearby creeks and tributaries. Most of the violations were related to the company's construction of the Ohio River to Annie pipeline project, a 20-mile gathering system to tie the company's wells to sales.

Other inspections unveiled sediment deposits caused by the project in waterways. In one instance, WVDEP said a stream channel was filled with visible sediment from dragging a timber mat bridge through it during construction. The company also voluntarily reported spills of drilling mud, which escaped into waterways.

Other violations were administrative. For example, Antero failed to keep a copy of its stormwater pollution prevention plan at the site of a compressor station in Tyler County, which violated the terms of its permit. It also failed to obtain authorization for hydrostatic testing, WVDEP said.

WVDEP ordered the company to immediately comply with the state laws and remediate the violations. Among other things, the order required Antero to provide a copy of its procedures for post-construction inspection and maintenance, as well a plan of corrective action. WVDEP said the company has already complied with much of the order.

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