The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) ordered Noble Energy Inc. to cease operations and regain control of an impoundment pit in Marshall County after thousands of gallons of drilling wastewater spilled into a waterway in February.
The DEP said Friday it had issued seven violation notices and two orders to Houston-based Noble after more than 2,200 gallons of brine reportedly overflowed from a centralized storage impoundment near Dallas, WV, on Feb. 22 and entered a tributary of Wheeling Creek.
Noble was cited for allowing pollutants to flow into state waterways; violating monitoring and emergency action plans; failure to maintain a pit in such a manner as to minimize adverse environmental effects; and failure to maintain a two-foot freeboard. The company was also cited for violating West Virginia’s water quality standards by discharging pollutants into a nearby stream and allowing industrial waste emanating from a point source to flow into waters of the state.
“As a result of these violations, the Office of Oil and Gas also filed an order to cease operations, to gain control of the pit, and an order that outlines the actions the company needs to take to abate the violations,” the DEP said.
The state regulatory agency said Noble must provide a detailed analysis of the brine from the spill as well as propose soil sampling and remediation and surface water sampling plans. The company must also identify all of the water wells within 2,000 feet of the incident site and submit a proposal for testing them for possible contamination. An engineering evaluation and certification of the pit must also be performed.
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