The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has fined Rice Midstream Holdings LLC $1.5 million for pipeline violations in Greene County that resulted in sediment discharges into local waterways.
EQT Corp. acquired Rice Energy Inc. and its midstream assets in a deal that closed just after the first violations were observed. EQT later spun off its midstream assets into a separately traded company, Equitrans Midstream Corp. DEP said “unstable construction” and the “failure to maintain pollution controls” caused the discharges.
Rice reported in October 2017 that sediment-laden water had overrun controls and leaked into two tributaries in Aleppo and Richhill townships. A DEP inspection confirmed the violations, and the agency said controls were not properly maintained or not installed at all. Similar violations were recorded from January-March 2018. The company voluntarily shut down construction of new sections on the Beta Trunk Pipeline and remediated the unstable areas.
However, DEP said Rice later reported three “significant slope failures” within the Beta Trunk’s permitted area, and there were more erosion and sediment control issues along a different stretch of the project. Rice corrected the violations last July.
The Beta Trunk is a 7.5-mile gathering line within a larger system that moves natural gas from well pads to transmission facilities. Portions of the line are currently in service. DEP said it continues to inspect the pipeline as some of it is still under construction.