Equitrans Midstream Corp., the developer of a natural gas pipeline project, is facing fines for poor erosion control. Erosion control problems were first reported at the site in October 2017.
Equitrans Midstream Corp., the developer of a natural gas pipeline project in Green County, Pa., faced a $1.5 million fine from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for poor erosion controls that resulted in sediment flowing into neighboring streams in Aleppo and Richhill townships.
When it was permitted in July 2017, the 7.5-mile Beta Trunk Pipeline construction project belong to Rice Midstream Partners, according to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The project was originally designed to collect natural gas from nearby wells and bring them into the transmission system the newspaper reported.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette also reported that the Pennsylvania DEP first found erosion control problems at the project in October 2017 when sediment flowed into tributaries that feed Mudlick Fork and Harts run. The department found that erosion controls were not properly maintained or not installed at all during that period. Similar problems were discovered seven other times between January and March 2018.
Following repeated violations, in March 2018 the company stopped work along the pipeline and focused on stabilizing the ground by hiring six different contractors to remediate the site. While the violations were resolved in April, the company reported three slope failures the following month along with other erosion issues and soil stockpiled in a wetland. The DEP said these issues were fixed by July 5, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
In response, DEP asked Equitrans for detailed plans to repair slope failures. A permit was approved for modification in December, but problems with erosion controls along the pipeline continued into the new year. When Equitrans notified regulators in January that a landslide occurred in an area that it had previously stabilized, the company cited significant rainfall runoff and frost heaving as the cause of the landslide.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the “January event is not covered by the $1.5 million fine and consent agreement signed last month.”
A similar situation occurred in Virginia in 2018 when the state’s Department of Environmental Quality issued a nine-page notice of violations to EQT Corp., a company building the Mountain Valley Pipeline.
The pipeline, which will span 330 miles across West Virginia and Virginia, had already received four violations from West Virginia regarding “failure to implement erosion control solutions.”
Read more about erosion control projects and solutions: