Thursday, May 2, 2013

Two Major Frack Fluid Spills At Surface Underline Need For Better Operations & Strong Regulation

Gas production operational excellence is hard. No doubt about that.  It requires constant attention and total commitment from the top of a drilling company down to all those with whom it contracts. Moreover, handling and containing fluids at the surface remains a true test of whether a company achieves operational excellence.

Two major frack fluid spells in the past 6 weeks in Pennsylvania show surface spills remain a major source of environmental impact from gas production and the imperative need for excellence.

The first spill of 220,000 gallons caused the temporary evacuation of 3 families and this week's spill of 9,000 gallons put frack fluid in the basement of a neighbor's home and onto their horse farm.  Also, frack fluid spilt at the surface that breaks containment does not stay at the surface but seeps into soil and eventually groundwater.

When frack fluids are still ending up in the basements of Pennsylvanians, preventing and containing all spills at the surface plainly needs even more attention from regulators and every company in the industry. This real problem would also be a good focus for the new Center For Sustainable Shale Development.


  1. DEP rewards bad behavior. Serious consequences for "spills" what a choice of words, I spill milk but then serious words would require serious fines or restrictions and would send a clear message to the gas industry. IF you hurt PA, PA will hurt you back. Our resources are exactly that OUR RESOURCES.

  2. So what grade would the Center give this company?

  3. Center for Sustainable Shale Development has no regulatory authority, no power to enforce regulations. It's window dressing for the natural gas corporations

  4. I know, my attempt at sarcasm is not so good. John Hanger, you want to jump in here? What is the purpose of the CSSD? We really have no room for fiction when the full force of fact is fracking at our door!

    1. It is interesting to watch the reaction to CSSD. Range and most of the industry has said that they will not apply for certification. CSSD obviously threatens a lot of gas drilling companies who fear it will make top standards of performance required by landowners, investors, local governments, state regulators, and federal regulators. In turn, some in the environmental community just dismiss CSSD. I wish it well. But the proof will be in the pudding. It's mission is to establish a system of independent evaluation of companies' performance (those who apply) to measure that performance against standards of excellence, standards that exceed regulatory requirements. If it works, it will put a lot of pressure on other companies to improve performance. That's why many in the gas industry want CSSD to fail and are having nothing to do with it.