Friday, January 7, 2011

Chief Gathering LLC Slapped with Fine, Surrenders Permit

Today the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced that it has fined Chief Gathering LLC, of Dallas, Texas (a subsidiary of Chief Oil and Gas) a $34,000 fine for illegally discharging industrial waste in Lycoming County.

In August 2010 Chief was conducting hydrostatic testing at a pipeline project. Hydrostatic tests involve placing water in a natural gas pipeline at the required pressure to ensure there are no leaks before it is placed into service.

During those tests Chief discharged more than 25,000 gallons of hydrostatic testing water into the Big Run watershed – after an earlier notification in which Chief indicated to DEP that no discharge would occur. According to DEP none of the discharged water reached any nearby surface streams

A DEP investigation also revealed numerous other violations including:
  • Failure to minimize the flow rate from the discharge point and allowing the formation of a 150-foot erosion channel;
  • Failure to submit accurate, detailed Notice of Intent project information;
  • Discharging hydrostatic test water with a total chlorine residual greater than 0.05 parts per million;  
  • Allowing an unknown industrial waste to co-mingle in five storage tanks with the hydrostatic test water, which was subsequently discharged; and
  • A failure to monitor the discharge for the specified effluent parameters at the minimum frequency required.
In conjunction with the enforcement action, Chief voluntarily surrendered its discharge permit in early December.


  1. Rumor has it that Superior Well Services in Owego gave the village mayor $1,500 to cover police costs at "Light Your Way" in December. That gift was not known to village residents.

  2. This is obscene. The intent of a fine is to provide an enticement not to repeat the violation. If you get a traffic ticket for going 10 miles over the speed limit, you get around a $200 fine (and 'points' in some states). If you decide to speed and get caught again, the ticket may be the same amount, but bells go off at your insurance company. (I'll give you three guesses as to who provides the radar guns to the police depts) Get caught going 20 miles over the speed limit and you are now no longer speeding- you're now driving recklessly, and you could be arrested, and of course, the fine is pretty stiff-not to mention the bail and cost of impounding your car.

    Everyone (except those idiots at the TCEQ/DEP, etc,) can see where I'm going with this. Bottom line: If the fine for spilling was a flat fine of say $100,000 AND say $1000 per estimated gallon PLUS costs of clean up/repair, I'd be willing to bet those trucking companies would be getting their act together real quick.

    Aruba Petroleum was cited $34,500 for permit violations AND emissions violations. Multiple infractions and violations, ONE tiny fine. I'm sure you'll be shocked to know that Aruba continues to violate the law.