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December 10, 2016
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Gas at a glance

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has fined Pennsylvania General Energy Co. LLC (PGE) of Warren $28,960 for the illegal discharge of Airfoam HD, a surfactant, into Pine Creek in Lycoming County last March. Surfactants are used by natural gas drillers to create a foam that will lift water and drill cuttings to the surface. Airfoam HD is approved by DEP for use by the industry. On March 13 and 14, 2010, rainfall and snow melt caused residual Airfoam in a Marcellus well bore to migrate to a spring on the hillside, creating a white, foamy substance. A DEP investigation on March 15 verified that the material was flowing from the spring, down the hillside and into Pine Creek. PGE began diverting the foam and installed an absorbent boom which prevented further discharges to Pine Creek. No constituents of Airfoam HD were detected in Pine Creek. The discharge was a violation of the Clean Streams Law, Solid Waste Management Act and DEP’s oil and gas regulations. The fine was deposited into the fund that supports DEP’s oil and gas permitting and enforcement programs.