Home »

Industry News and Articles

United States Reaches an Agreement with XTO Energy to Prevent Waste Spills from Natural Gas Exploration and Production


WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice announced a settlement with XTO Energy Inc., a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corporation, to resolve an alleged violation of the Clean Water Act (CWA) related to the discharge of wastewater from XTO’s Penn Township, Lycoming County, Pa. facility used for the storage of wastewater generated by natural gas exploration, commonly known as fracking, and production. 

The federal settlement requires that XTO pay a penalty of $100,000 to the United States and spend a federal government-estimated $20 million on a comprehensive plan to improve wastewater management practices to recycle, properly dispose of, and prevent spills of wastewater generated from natural gas exploration and production activities in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Among other things, XTO must install a continuous, remote monitoring system for all of its permanent production located throughout Pennsylvania and West Virginia with alarms that will be triggered to alert operators immediately in the event of any future spills and implement a program to actively monitor interconnected wastewater storage tanks located throughout Pennsylvania and West Virginia. 

The discharge was discovered by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) during an inspection of the Penn Township facility, where a PADEP inspector observed wastewater spilling from an open valve from a series of interconnected tanks. At the time, XTO stored wastewater generated from energy extraction activities conducted throughout Pennsylvania at its Penn Township facility and, at the time of the release, stored produced fluid from its operations in the area. 

Pollutants from the release were found in a tributary of the Susquehanna River basin. EPA, in consultation with PADEP, conducted an investigation and determined that wastewater stored in the tanks at the Penn Township facility contained the same variety of pollutants, including chlorides, barium, strontium, and total dissolved solids, that were observed in those surface waters. 

“Today’s settlement holds XTO accountable for a previous violation of the Clean Water Act and requires operational changes and improved management practices to help ensure the safe and responsible handling of wastewater produced during natural gas exploration and production activities,” said Robert G. Dreher, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “The Justice Department is committed to ensuring that our natural resources are developed in an environmentally responsible manner.” 

Under the settlement with the United States, the substantial improvements to XTO’s wastewater management are estimated by the federal government to reduce discharges of total dissolved solids by 264 million pounds over the course of the next three years. These reductions will occur in large part because XTO will increase wastewater recycling and will properly dispose of wastewaters generated by its natural gas activities across the mid-Atlantic region. In addition XTO will implement a region-wide program of operational best management practices which include: secondary containment for tanks used to store wastewater, improved standard operating procedures designed to reduce the risk of a spill, a prohibition on using pits or open-top tanks to store wastewater which will prevent air emissions, remote monitoring of tank volumes to prevent overfilling and spills, and proper signage on all tanks with safety information and a manned, 24-hour emergency phone number.

“The operational improvements required by today’s settlement will help to protect precious surface and drinking water resources in Pennsylvania and West Virginia,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “EPA continues to push for responsible development of domestic sources of energy and to insist that companies play by the rules that protect public health.” 

“This consent decree establishes a program of best practices that should be a model for the industry and, if followed, will give a level of assurance to the people of the Commonwealth that their waters will be protected. This settlement is in the long-term best interest of the taxpayers, the industry, and our children,” stated Peter J. Smith, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

Untreated discharges of wastewaters from natural gas exploration and production activities typically contain high levels of total dissolved solids and other pollutants and can adversely impact fresh water aquatic life and drinking water quality. 

The consent decree, lodged in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and court approval. The consent decree is available for review at www.justice.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html 

More information about the settlement: http://www2.epa.gov/enforcement/xto-energy-inc-settlement

More information about EPA Region III’s activities related to natural gas extraction: http://www.epa.gov/region3/marcellus_shale/


NameCategory
Building Energy Disclosure Laws Push Companies to Hire News
"Cluster Approach" to Cleanup May Launch Site ReuseNews
20-acre Reading brownfield to be cleaned, redevelopedArticles
2006 Hot Button Issues in Environmental Due DiligenceArticles
AAI: All A Matter of Perspective?Articles
Administrative Order Not Sufficient for Contribution ClaimArticles
All Appropriate Rule Out for Public CommentArticles
Another Court Strikes Down a Superfund Contribution CaseArticles
Arctic Undergoing Rapid Ice Melt That Could Speed Global Warming: StudyArticles
Asarco Deal Highlights Benefits of Liability Transfer StrategyArticles
Ash Pond Closures Update - October 2016News
ASTM Addresses Fundamental Conflict over Vapor IntrusionArticles
Bankruptcy Cases Dismissed After Court Finds 'Bad Faith' Articles
Bankruptcy Cases Dismissed After Court Finds 'Bad Faith'News
BFPP Affiliation LanguageNews
BNA Interview with Jeff TelegoArticles
BNA to Co-Sponsor ConferenceArticles
Brownfield Partners and EnviroFinance Group Join Forces to Boost Distressed Asset Redevelopment Across the United StatesNews
Brownfield Partners and EnviroFinance Group Join Forces to Boost Distressed Asset Redevelopment Across the United States News
Brownfields: Progress Made, But Further Actions NeededArticles
Buying Distressed Assets out of BankruptcyArticles
Cabot Corporation Agrees to Spend Over $84 Million to Control Harmful Air Pollution at Texas, Louisiana FacilitiesArticles
Case LawArticles
Case Law – Hydraulic FrackingArticles
CDC Acquires 425-Acre Distressed Steel Mill and Plans RedevelopmentNews
CDC Purchases AEP Power Plant, ELT Assumes Environmental LiabilitiesNews
CDC Reaches Major Milestone in the Reclamation of St. Louis QuarryArticles
CERCLA's BFPP Protections in QuestionArticles
Changes to Michigan’s Environmental Cleanup Program Coming Soon Articles
Changes to Michigan’s Environmental Cleanup Program Coming SoonNews
City & County of Denver and Adams County AgreeArticles
Claims Against Railroads Survive Arranger Liability RuleArticles
Commercial Development Company, Inc. Acquires 725-Acre Coal-Fired Power Plant, Prepares Site for Potential Development as Indiana’s Fourth PortNews
Commercial Development Company, Inc. Purchases 108-Acre Heavy-Industrial Waterfront Site in Antioch, CA for RedevelopmentNews
Commercial Development Company, Inc. Purchases 468-Acre Retired Coal-Fired Power Plant from AEP, Assumes Environmental Liabilities, Plans Demolition and RedevelopmentNews
Consultant Says Market Remains UncertainArticles
Contamination Not Required for Damage AwardArticles
CORPORATE SUSTAINABILITY IN THE UNITED STATES AND IMPROVING YOUR “CORPORATE PROFILEArticles
Court Affirms Judgment, Orders $3.1 Million PaymentArticles
Court Affirms Judgment, Orders $3.1 Million PaymentNews
Court Directed to Reconsider If Aviall May Recover Its CostsArticles
Court Orders Jackson to Issue Final Air Permit, Likely Bypassing EAB
Court Reverses Revocation of NFA Letter Articles
Court Rules on 3 Year Time Period for CERCLA Contribution ActionsArticles
Credit Crisis, Distressed Market Impacting Brownfield Sites, Redevelopment Articles
Death of Green Card Program Could Halt Brownfields ProjectsArticles
Deterring Citizen Suits: Remedies for Unsubstantiated ClaimsArticles
Developments EPA Lists Major Industries As Targets For First-Time Cleanup GuaranteesArticles
Dioxin Soil Cleanup StandardsArticles
DTE Energy Sells Coal Fired Power Plant to CDC/ELTArticles
DTE Energy sells Michigan power plant to Commercial Development Company, Inc.Articles
Due Diligence in the Era of Climate ChangeArticles
Due Diligence Standards-EPA All Appropriate InquiryArticles
EBA Media Release for June Meeting 20th Anniversary Articles
ELT Acquires 1,000,000 Square Foot GM Facility
ELT and Chemtura Close Transaction
ELT and Chrysler Close TransactionNews
Emerging Best Practice for Underwriting Energy Efficiency Loans - WebinarArticles
Emerging Best Practice for Underwriting Energy Efficiency Loans - WhitepaperArticles
Energy Disclosure Laws – A Nationwide Trend In TransparencyNews
EnviroFinance Group Joint Venture to Develope 3mW Solar Power Plant on Closed LandfillNews
Environmental Due Diligence Guide ReportArticles
Environmental Liability Transfer & Chemtura Close Transaction
Environmental Site Assessment Standards Revised by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)InternationalArticles
EPA Administrator Signs Proposed Rule Setting Standards for Site AssessmentsArticles
EPA Announces Cities with the Most Energy Star Buildings in the USArticles
EPA Announces Novel Superfund AgreementArticles
EPA Announces Schedule to Develop Natural Gas Wastewater Standards
EPA Announces U.S. Organizations Using the Most Green PowerArticles
EPA Announces Winner of Annual Energy Star National Building CompetitionArticles
EPA Disapproves Air Permitting Exemption Program in Texas Articles
EPA Embracing Green Cleanups, Standard ForthcomingArticles
EPA Embracing Superfund Policy to Expedite Site CleanupsArticles
EPA Faces Industry Pressure On Brownfields Rule On Eve Of ReleaseArticles
EPA Finalizes Greenhouse Gas Reporting Requirements for Petroleum and Natural Gas IndustryNews
EPA Issues Ready-for-Reuse GuidanceArticles
EPA Issues Rule to Reduce Water Pollution from Construction Sites News
EPA Issues Updated, Achievable Air Pollution Standards for Oil and Natural GasNews
EPA Lists Major Industries as Targets for First-Time Cleanup GuaranteesArticles
EPA Moves to Ease Groundwater Cleanup Policy Articles
EPA Plans Further Vapor Intrusion Revisions Amid New CriticismArticles
EPA Plans on Stepping Up Work on Vapor Intrusion Plan Articles
EPA Proposes Rule to Modernize Clean Water Act ReportingArticles
EPA Proposes to Keep Greenhouse Gas Permitting Requirements Focused on Largest Emitters News
EPA Proposes to Reduce Toxic Pollutants Discharged into Waterways by Power PlantsArticles
EPA Proposes to Replace and Reduce Harmful Greenhouse GasesArticles
EPA Pushes Back Final UST Regulation Articles
EPA RCRA Goals Require CreativityArticles
EPA Releases Final Risk Assessment on Trichloroethylene (TCE) Articles
EPA Releases New Policy Statement on Climate Change AdaptationArticles
EPA Report Shows Impact of Changing Climate on Americans’ Health and EnvironmentArticles
EPA Revises Consent Orders in Response to AviallArticles
EPA Rule Increases Protection from Lead-Paint Poisoning Articles
EPA Solicits Public Input on Using Vapor Intrusion Threats as Criteria for Superfund Sites News
EPA to Work with Ports to Improve Environmental Performance / Clean diesel grants and new ports initiative will advance sustainable technologiesArticles
EPA Will Review Cleanup Program PoliciesArticles
EPA's Integrated Cleanup Initiative Implementation Plan ProposedArticles
EPA, California OK Agreements To Waive City's LiabilityArticles
EPA, DOE to Study Potential for Renewable Energy Possibilities on West Haymarket Brownfield Site in Lincoln, Neb.News
EPA: Greenhouse Gases Threaten Public Health and the Environment Articles
ERRA Seminar: Environmental Insurance 101Articles
Fannie Mae Releases 1st PNA Guidance in Over 20 YearsArticles
Fed Reg Development - EPA Revisions to PCB Building Waste Rules Articles
Fed Reg Dev - EPA Relaxes Builders' Stormwater Permit News
Fed Reg Dev - EPA Seeking Comment On Re-classifying PCB-Contaminated Building Materials Slated For Disposal News
Fed Reg Dev Stormwater Violations at Concrete Ready-Mix Plants, Enforcement Nets More than $4 MillionArticles
Fed Reg Developments Articles
Fed Reg Drilling Final Rules on Drilling Emissions Articles
Federal Regulatory Developments – EPA on StormwaterNews
Federal Task Force Sends Recommendations to President on Fostering Clean Coal TechnologyArticles
Flawed Phase 1 CREC Definition Poses Challenges to Property Owners and LendersArticles
GE Discloses PCB-Related Expenses Under Shareholder PressureArticles
Georgia Power to close ash lagoons sooner, could cost $2 billionNews
Guardian Trust is Now OperationalArticles
Honeywell Representative to Speak at Deal Making & Redevelopments!Articles
Insurance against Extreme Events: Pairing Short-Term Incentives with Long-Term StrategiesArticles
Kelo Decision-Economic Development Can Be Public UseArticles
Kingdom Tower- Langan International and the World's Tallest Tower
Lack of Vapor Intrusion Guidance Muddies Issues; Effect on Redevelopment UncertainArticles
Law Provides No Exception for "Almost Innocent" OwnerArticles
Legal Title Not Necessary for Party to Bring Citizen LawsuitArticles
Liability Transfer of Asarco New Jersey Site from Bankruptcy to ELTArticles
LONG-AWAITED MCP CHANGES ARE AT OUR DOOR STEP Articles
Making Institutional Controls Work for California BrownfieldsArticles
Marysville looks to a riverfront renaissanceNews
Massachusetts Tops California as Most Energy-Efficient State, while Arkansas, D.C., Kentucky, and Wisconsin are Most ImprovedArticles
Merger & Acquisition Transaction Facilitated by EnvironmentalLiability Transfer, Inc.News
Military Pays for Real Estate Developer to Cleanup SiteArticles
More than 5,500 buildings to compete in EPA’s Fifth-Annual Energy Star Battle of the BuildingsArticles
N.Y. Residents Sue IBM Alleging ContaminationArticles
Natural Disasters Prompt Attention to Climate Change in Assessing RiskArticles
New Agency Task Force Developing Tracking DatabaseArticles
New ASTM Standard Aims to Provide More Accurate Measurement of Energy Use
New Bond Fund Helps Investors See Different Kind of GreenArticles
New Federal Court Case Signals Increased Litigation Over Vapor Intrusion ReopenersNews
New Law to Affect California Brownfields RedevelopmentArticles
News Release - EPA Updates Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for New Power Plants Articles
OCC Ratchets up Expectations – OCC Requirements for Environmental Due Diligence in Commercial Real Estate Lending Articles
On the Cutting Edge: An Insider's Perspective Favorable Market Trends Driving Contaminated Property TransactionsArticles
Opportunities Are Bright For Those Who Pave the WayArticles
Opposition to Aviall-Court Rules a PRP Can Seek ContributionArticles
P.E. Firms Find Way Around F.D.I.C. RulesArticles
Pacific Western Bank, San Diego, California, Assumes All of the Deposits of Los Padres Bank, Solvang, California Articles
Partner Leverages EDR’s New Technology Tools To Drive Even More Quality and Efficiency Articles
Purchaser of Assets Pursuant to Bankruptcy Sale Liable for Pre-Existing ContaminationArticles
RCRA Hazardous Waste Systems: Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Streams Being SequesteredNews
RCRA Suit May Include Property Adjacent to FacilityArticles
Real Property Protections for the Buyer
Recent Case Ruling Highlights Need for Informed Discussion, Agency Guidance
Reforming NCP Could Encourage Brownfields RedevelopmentArticles
Resource Damage Liability Precludes Contribution ClaimArticles
Responsible Parties May Be Able to Pursue Section 107 (a) ClaimsArticles
RTM Announces San Francisco, CA May 18-20, 2011 Conference
RTM Communications, Inc. and Bloomberg BNA Proudly Announce a Webinar "Closing Property Transactions Using Mitigation Banking Credits." Articles
RTM Conference Sponsor ELT Announced 80 New Jobs - Mid America Brick CompanyArticles
RTM Conference: The Bumpy Road to Brownfields RedevelopmentArticles
Sen. Clinton Introduces TCE (Trichloroethylene) LegislationArticles
Site Owner Must Allow Testing During Discovery
Solutions for Contaminated Real Estate Newsletter - August 2016News
Solutions for Contaminated Real Estate Newsletter - September 2016 Newsletter by Commercial Development Company, Inc. (CDC) and Environmental Liability Transfer, Inc. (ELT)News
SRS & LABBC Collaborate on Workshop Series to Train Contractors on PACE FinancingArticles
Strategy Shift on Global Warming Heralded by Collapse of Chicago Climate ExchangeArticles
Successor Firm Liable for Merger Firm's ViolationsArticles
Superfund and RCRA Reforms Effecting Contaminated Property Transactions for Brownfields RedevelopmentsArticles
Supreme Court Rejection of a Divisibility of Harm ArgumentArticles
Supreme Court Vacates Third Circuit Section 107(a) RulingArticles
Sustainability - Energy Improvement Corporation Announces $75 Million Agreement with Bank of America Merrill Lynch for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Program Articles
Sustainability - Retrofits Projected Yield $1Trillion in US Energy SavingsNews
Sustainability Energy Efficiency Market Projections 2013 to 2020Articles
Testimony of EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy Before Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Proposed FY 2015 BudgetArticles
The Capital Markets Partnership (CMP) is launching the Sustainable Investment Initiative at the New York Stock Exchange. Articles
The End of Community Banking?Articles
Third of North American Birds Said to Face Extinction Due to Climate Change, Other Man-Made FactorsArticles
United States Reaches an Agreement with XTO Energy to Prevent Waste Spills from Natural Gas Exploration and Production Articles
United States Reaches Settlement with Safeway To Reduce Emissions of Ozone-Depleting Substances NationwideArticles
USDA, EPA Partnership Supports Water Quality Trading To Benefit Environment, EconomyArticles
Wells Fargo Supports Clean Technologies With New Commercial Banking Group Articles


Login
space