Pennsylvania State Police said Tuesday three-fourths of drilling wastewater haulers that were stopped by troopers late last month were issued citations and 207 trucks were placed out of service due to violations.
Citations were issued to 1,066 of the more than 1,400 trucks inspected late last month under the state's latest enforcement operation focusing on commercial vehicles hauling wastewater from Marcellus Shale gas drilling operations in an initiative called "Operation FracNET."
Inspections were conducted Oct. 25-27 by the Pennsylvania State Police and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
State police inspected 1,175 trucks, of which 207 were placed out of service because of safety concerns. Fifty-two drivers were also removed from service, while troopers issued 1,057 traffic citations. The most common problems involved unsecured loads and inoperable vehicle lights and lamps.
DEP Secretary John Hanger said DEP personnel inspected 254 other trucks during the three-day operation, issuing notices of violation to 65 of the vehicles. DEP staff also issued nine citations. "These inspections are crucial because they ensure that wastewater haulers are working to comply with the commonwealth's environmental regulations and are keeping our roadways safe for other drivers," Hanger said. "Taking the time to do so now will go a long way toward making a positive difference as drilling continues."
During a similar three-day operation in September the Pennsylvania State Police placed 208 trucks out of service (see Shale Daily, Oct. 7).
During the September sweep, 140 of the vehicles taken out of service were trucks that haul wastewater from drilling operations, the police said. In total 1,135 trucks were inspected during the Operation FracNET conducted Sept. 27-29.
During FracNET inspections, state police teams check vehicle braking systems, exterior lighting and other equipment that plays a role in operational safety, as well as whether drivers possess the appropriate operator licenses. DEP inspects a more narrow range of issues pertaining to vehicle weight, proper waste hauler authorizations and standards for maintaining safe and secure loads.
In September DEP and the state police struck an agreement that increased funding, allowing both agencies are to conduct more frequent roadside inspections.