The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has ordered Chesapeake Energy to stop work on a natural gas drilling well pad in rural Potter County for failing to implement required erosion and sediment controls, DEP said Wednesday.
Chesapeake must correct by March 29 the existing violations at the Beech Flats well pad, which is located in West Branch Township in northern Pennsylvania, and review and revise as appropriate its erosion and sediment control plan, DEP said.
"DEP will not permit Chesapeake to resume construction at the site until all terms of the order are met," according to the agency.
DEP had issued a notice of violation for several infractions of the state's Clean Streams Law and Oil and Gas Act following a routine site inspection March 8 and March 10. According to DEP, Chesapeake did not respond to that notice and, during follow-up inspections Monday and Tuesday, DEP staff discovered additional violations and impacts resulting in the order to cease work at the well pad.
By failing to implement the controls during the well's ongoing site-preparation phase, "a significant amount of sediment and silt discharged from the site into a stream that is a tributary to a water source" serving the Galeton Borough Water Authority system. The water authority has been forced to use another permitted water source to serve its customers, DEP said.