The natural gas pipeline developer faces a $1.5 million fine for failed erosion controls
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.
According to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 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 slope failures the following month along with other erosion issues and soil stockpiled in a wetland.
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.