Loyalsock Creek Pipeline Construction Spill Caught On Camera

Scott Detrow      StateImpact PA / NPR     September 5, 2012

On Fri­day, what a Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion employee described as a “sig­nif­i­cant amount” of sed­i­ment and mud from a pipeline con­struc­tion project spilled into Sul­li­van County’s Loy­al­sock Creek.

When Dean Mar­shall heard about the spill, he drove to Loy­al­sock State For­est to doc­u­ment the dam­age. Here’s what Mar­shall – who’s actively involved in anti-drilling efforts — cap­tured on cam­era on Sunday:

Click here to view the Worlds End beach area.

Click here to view the Loyalsock Creek video.

The Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion didn’t respond to StateIm­pact Pennsylvania’s request for com­ment — UPDATE: see below — but DEP emer­gency response man­ager John Erich told the Williamsport Sun-Gazette the agency traced the pol­lu­tion to nearby con­struc­tion of the Marc 1 Pipeline. Erich told the paper the spill won’t lead to any envi­ron­men­tal dam­age, but Mar­shall, who hikes and swims in Loy­al­sock Creek, said he’s upset by what he saw. “I don’t expect to be swim­ming in the creek and have that splash up,” he told StateIm­pact Pennsylvania.

Energy com­pany Anadarko recently pur­chased the pri­vate min­eral rights under­neath a large swath of Loy­al­sock State For­est, and accord­ing to mul­ti­ple sources with knowl­edge of nego­ti­a­tions, is in talks with the Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion and Nat­ural Resources to begin drilling there soon.

Update: StateIm­pact Penn­syl­va­nia con­tacted the Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion at 1 PM Tues­day. At the time I wrote and sched­uled this post, around 6:30 PM on Tues­day, the depart­ment had not responded to our request for com­ment. Spokesman Dan Spadoni emailed the fol­low­ing state­ment this morn­ing, around 7 AM:

The depart­ment was noti­fied early Fri­day after­noon about a sig­nif­i­cant sed­i­ment plume in Loy­al­sock Creek in Sul­li­van County. DEP staff inves­ti­gated later on Fri­day and learned that dur­ing the course of mak­ing an open cut for the Marc I nat­ural gas pipeline across Loy­al­sock Creek as allowed by DEP’s Water Obstruc­tion and Encroach­ment Per­mit, Cen­tral New York Oil and Gas appar­ently had some pumps break down and a plume of sed­i­ment went down­stream. There were no chem­i­cals involved as this oper­a­tion did not involve bor­ing under the stream. The depart­ment does not believe there was any sig­nif­i­cant envi­ron­men­tal risk and has not made any deci­sion on a civil penalty. The depart­ment will be fol­low­ing up with Cen­tral New York Oil and Gas

NOTE: As of 9/9/12, PA DEP is still in the process of evaluating this issue.

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