Back to Frack Beaver Run Reservoir

Even with a history of accidents at wells close to the public water reservoir for 150,000 people, there are new plans to continue drilling and fracking!

Although fishing has been banned at Beaver Run Reservoir since 1952, the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County (MAWC) decided to allow Marcellus and Utica Shale gas well drilling on their property next to this 1,300 acre lake in Salem, Bell and Washington townships. The lake provides water to 150,000 people in northern Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

2013 Frac Fluid Spill…

CNX cited after fracturing fluid spill at Beaver Run Reservoir
July 31, 2013 (Tribune Review ) – The state DEP has cited Consol Energy’s CNX Gas after a spill of fracturing fluid at Beaver Run Reservoir June 1st at the Kuhns 3D pad when a leak occurred at a plumbing union. On June 13, a storm caused a containment dike around the Mamont 1 drilling pad to overflow muddy water down a hill towards the reservoir. Last July, CNX was cited after liquid cement leaked into a creek that empties into the reservoir at the Kuhns 3D well pad. Consol Energy has 36 horizontal Marcellus wells on 5 pads at Beaver Run Reservoir.

Chemicals used for fracking the Kuhns 3D well as listed on FracFocus: Eleven chemicals are listed as “Proprietary” with no CAS number for their full identification…
Then came the major 2019 Frack-Out Event…
$175,000 Civil Penalty – CNX cited for violating several environmental laws and regulations

DEP fines CNX for well failure near Westmoreland County reservoir
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection fined CNX $175,000 for allowing a gas well failure near a drinking water reservoir in Westmoreland County. During that loss of pressure incident, gas was emitted uncontrollably into shallower geologic formations, and that resulted in communication with nine nearby conventional wells that saw some pressure changes during this incident,” Fraley said. Local environmental groups criticized the DEP fine. The Westmoreland Marcellus Citizens Group said in a statement Friday the fine was inadequate to the danger posed by the well blowout and the air pollution caused by the company’s flaring activities.

Reid Frazier – StateImpact Pennsylvania – August 20, 2020
2019 Public Meeting on the Gas Well Incident near Beaver Run Reservoir…
Groups call for a “protected water source”

Groups call for end to deep well activity near Beaver Run Reservoir
The groups are drafting a letter asking the state Department of Environmental Protection to “halt all existing and future (well) permits around the reservoir because we feel this should be a protected water source,” said Gillian Graber, executive director of Protect PT, a Penn Township-based environmental group that has opposed natural gas development in the township and surrounding communities. “We feel that it should be more protected than it has been in the past.” The groups — including the Westmoreland Marcellus Citizens Group and the Mountain Watershed Association, a Melcroft-based organization that advocates for tighter regulations on shale gas development — also are calling for increased testing at the reservoir for possible pollutants related to shale gas drilling and production.

Jeff Himler – Tribune-Review – February 28, 2019
CNX explanation of what happened

CNX reveals cause of well failure near Beaver Run Reservoir
According to documents filed with the DEP, the pipe that cracked was the inner-most string, a 5.5-inch diameter tube manufactured in Austria. “The cement job operated as designed,” CNX spokesman Brian Aiello said, but he declined to speculate how the gas, once it escaped from the ruptured production pipe, ended up getting past the cement barriers and into nearby wells. Four other wells in that area — three of them on the Shaw well pad — were constructed with the same pipe but haven’t yet been fracked. To salvage them, CNX plans to ask the DEP for permission to use a liner — an uncemented tube that fits inside the 5.5-inch production pipe to mitigate the risk of rupture.

Anya Litvak – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – May 1, 2019
Austrian-made production pipe spotted on I-79 north
Water authority spent $100K on follow-up testing

MAWC spent more than $100,000 for tests following Beaver Run Reservoir gas well breach
The Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County spent more than $100,000 on air and water quality tests conducted in response to gas well breach in late January at Beaver Run Reservoir, officials said. “We will forward those bills to CNX,” authority manager Michael Kukura said.

Richard Cholodofsky – Tribune-Review – June 19, 2019
Fast forward to September 2020…

CNX applies for new Utica gas wells in Washington Township
CNX Resources is applying for permits to develop and operate a Utica shale gas well pad along Evans Road in Washington Township near property owned by the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County. CNX, which has other gas wells on authority property, plans to develop up to seven Utica wells at the site.

Mary Ann Thomas – Tribune-Review – September 24, 2020
Excerpt from the Act 14 Notice sent to Washington Township Supervisors by CEC dated July 28, 2020…

Project Description: CNX Gas Company, LLC is proposing to construct the Mamont 28 Well Pad
to support its shale drilling operations in the area. The well pad is proposed to provide an area of
operation for unconventional drilling and natural gas production activities. The development of
Mamont 28 Well Pad will also include the construction of one access road and a CNX midstream
facility pad
; the installation of a natural gas pipeline; and the reclamation of the existing Mamont South
1 Utica well pad. The project will consist of the implementation of proposed erosion and sedimentation
controls, stormwater management facilities, and site restoration to coincide with the proposed
development. Approximately 29 acres will be disturbed during construction of the project.

Map: Location of the Mamont 28 well lateral is shown in relation to the Shaw 1 wells.

Photos of drilling and fracking around Beaver Run Reservoir over the years…
In other news…

DEP, CNX reach $1.48 M settlement on abandoned wells in Pa.
The order covers 141 conventional wells and five shale gas wells in Allegheny, Washington, Greene and Westmoreland counties. Methane from abandoned wells can get into underground well water and into peoples’ homes, posing a health and environmental threat. In addition, the wells can leak oil and brine into the environment. A 2012 state law requires companies to take out performance bonds of $2,500 per well, or a blanket bond of $25,000 for as many wells as it wants, even though the DEP estimates the costs for plugging a well can range from $2,500 up to $100,000 or more per well. The state has confirmed 9,000 orphan and abandoned wells, but its own estimates put the total number at up to 560,000.

Reid Frazier – StateImpact Pennsylvania – October 11, 2019
Indiana County, Pennsylvania high quality waters…

CNX paid $250,000 to settle Indiana County pipeline violations
CNX Resources Corp. and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection have settled a monthlong back and forth over violations at a natural gas gathering pipeline construction site in Indiana County. The DEP reported on Thursday that CNX paid a $250,000 civil penalty and corrected violations that allowed muddy water and sediment to run into high-quality waters during the construction of its Marchand 3 pipeline in North Mahoning Township. Regulators halted construction there in March and during an inspection in May found that violations persisted and noted new ones.

Anya Litvak – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – July 12, 2018
CNX fined for two spills in neighboring Washington County, Pa…

DEP fines CNX $310K for pipeline construction fluid spills
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection fined CNX Resources Corp. and CNX Midstream Partners LP $310,000 for alleged pipeline construction violations in Washington County that included the spilling of nearly 3,000 gallons of brine in two separate incidents. The biggest spill, sometime before Aug. 16, 2018, involved an estimated 2,100 gallons of brine that leaked from a crack in a weld and impacted a tributary of Enlow Fork, DEP said. DEP said the CNX (NYSE: CNX) plan for the pipeline “totally failed to identify the waste fluids transported or measures to monitor or respond to pipeline releases.”

Paul J. Gough – Pittsburgh Business Times – July 24, 2020
CNX violations at 7 well pad sites in Washington and Greene Counties…

DEP, CNX agree to $180K stream restoration to resolve sedimentation violations
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and CNX have agreed to a settlement for several erosion violations at gas drilling sites in Washington and Greene counties. The company agreed to fund a $180,000 restoration of a trout stream in a Washington County park as part of the agreement. The penalties were assessed for violations at seven of the company’s well pad sites in 2017 and 2018. The agreement calls for CNX to fund a 2,500-foot stream restoration of Mingo Creek in Nottingham Township. The restoration will be performed by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. The stream flows through Mingo Creek County Park, and is a high quality trout-stocked stream.

Reid Frazier – StateImpact Pennsylvania – April 7, 2020
CONSOL Energy drilling and fracking at PIT – Pittsburgh International Airport
In 2017, Consol formed two separate entities: CNX Resources Corporation and CONSOL Energy Inc. Source
Wow! One of the “worst of the worst”…

Worst of the Worst: A first-hand view of PA’s oil and gas polluters
CNX profits off a combination of low-producing conventional wells and higher-producing “fracking” wells in PA. Since 2000, it has earned almost 800 violations, over 80 percent of which are listed as “environmental health and safety violations.” It also just recently was forced to pay a $175,000 fine for uncontrolled methane leaks.  So it’s no surprise that CNX’s CEO has been one of the loudest voices opposing reasonable rules and penning tirades against requirements to reduce air pollution. 

Leann Leiter – Earthworks EARTHblog – September 17, 2020
Considering the long history of accidents and violations, is it safe to keep drilling and fracking around this water supply for 150,000 people?