WV-DEP Issues Consent Order: M3-Gathering Fined $38K For Five (5) Drilling Mud Incidents

by Duane Nichols on February 8, 2013

Dunkard Creek Pollution

Source: WV DEP: February 6, 2013

The WV Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) and M3 Appalachian have proposed a settlement of Administrative Consent Order No. 7746 which resolves violation(s) of the WV Water Pollution Control Act which occurred in Harrison, Marion and Monongalia County, WV. In accordance with the proposed Consent Order, 7746 has agreed to pay administrative penalties and to comply with the Act. Final settlement is subject to comments received during the thirty (30) day period ending March 10, 2013.

Further information about this Administrative Consent Order is available by contacting the Chief Inspector, WVDEP/Environmental Enforcement, 601 57th Street SE, Charleston, WV 25304, (304) 926-0470  See also the WV DEP web-site Settlement Document of 23 pages including a number of photographs of the three streams and the drilling mud that polluted them.


From the article by David Beard, The Morgantown Dominion Post, 2-7-13

The WV Department of Environmental Protection announced a settlement with M3 Appalachia Gathering for drilling mud spills in the Monongahela River, Jakes Run and Dunkard Creek. Along with remediation actions outlined in the consent order, the proposed settlement includes a fine of $37,830.

M3 Appalachia Gathering is an affiliate of Texas-based Momentum Energy and operates a natural gas pipeline gathering system, called the Appalachia Gathering System (AGS) in Monongalia, Marion and Harrison counties, and Greene and Washington counties in Pennsylvania. Momentum has contracts to serve Chesapeake Appalachia and Statoil.  The proposed settlement won’t be final until a 30-day comment period concludes March 10.

According to the WV-DEP documents:

>> DEP received notice of a drilling mud spill into the Monongahela River in Marion County on May 1, 2012. Momentum received a Notice of Violation and began remediation actions.

>> During a June 5 inspection, DEP observed drilling mud in Jakes Run and issued another violation notice. Momentum again began corrective actions.

>> On June 9, inspectors observed mud in Tevebaugh Creek in Marion County and issued another violation. Momentum began corrective actions.

>> On Aug. 31, DEP received notice of a drilling mud release into Dunkard Creek. It issued a violation and corrective actions began.

>> On Oct. 2, DEP responded to another mud release into Dunkard Creek, with the same consequences.

>> Within 20 days of the effective date of the consent order, Momentum must submit a full corrective plan and timeline.

Jim Roberts, Momentum vice president, said everything was corrected before a November meeting at the WV-DEP’s Charleston office. Everything is now stabilized and they are monitoring it to make sure everything is back to normal. Roberts said that in some instances, a contractor’s failure to follow procedures led to the incident. Momentum doesn’t like it when these accidents happen, but they have responded accordingly.  “We do feel like we’re a very responsible company,” Roberts said. “We do take responsibility and correct things and want to do things right.”


Note: Northeast Natural Energy to Add New Horizontal Well at the Statler Pad in Monongalia County

The WV – DEP announced February 6th that it has approved the application from Northeast Natural Energy for a new horizontal Marcellus gas well at its Blacksville well pad near Dunkard Creek. Northeast already has two wells in production at the site.  The well is called Statler 6H. The public comment period ended February 2nd and DEP’s Office of Oil and Gas records show no comments were filed.  Northeast previously told The Dominion Post it hasn’t determined a drilling date yet — several factors have to be evaluated.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

S. Thomas Bond February 8, 2013 at 10:46 pm

…have proposed a settlement of Administrative Consent Order No. 7746 which resolves violation(s) of the WV Water Pollution Control Act which occurred in Harrison, Marion and Monongalia County… How nice it must be to negotiate a settlement.

Suppose the Highway patrol will let me negotiate a settlement of a traffic ticket? or the terms of a holdup, if I decide to try that?

And five of them for only $37,830? Not much of a deterrent. None of this “three strikes and your are out” stuff! It’s good to be a corporation!


R. Scott Mick February 9, 2013 at 8:09 pm

With this is mind, I ask what the overall disposal costs are for high viscosity drill fluid that has went hot and curdled, or flowback from these huge fracjobs. I would think it was high and I wouldnt think they can remove the radioactivity.

So now we have disposal nightmares and more and more desperate environmental issues growing as they drill/frac each new well. When will we have enough and what will we do when the water supply for thousands of people is tainted and ruined. Who will pay that bill.


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