Halliburton Fined $1.8M for Storing/Treating HCl at W PA Facility

got caught red handedIn one of the biggest (perhaps the biggest) fines levied by the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP), Halliburton has been fined $1.8 million for storing and treating hydrochloric acid (HCl) at a facility in Homer City, PA (about 50 miles from Pittsburgh). The HCl shipped and treated at the Homer City site happened over a 13-year period of time from 1999-2011, meaning most of it came from conventional natural gas well sites, although some it likely came from Marcellus Shale sites too (the conventional/unconventional split is not identified in the DEP paperwork). Marcellus drilling in PA didn’t ramp up until around 2006-2007. The DEP says Halliburton had claimed exemption from the state’s Solid Waste Management Act of 1980 for their Homer City facility, saying they were shipping and storing very small amounts of HCl at the facility when in fact that was not the case. Based on their false claim, Halliburton was given a pass on inspections, paperwork filing, signage, and the requirement to use certified hazardous waste haulers on more than 250 truck trips in and out of the facility–hauling HCl. Halliburton was in the wrong, they now acknowledge it (having been caught), and they’ve been levied a steep fine.

Both the DEP and Halliburton stress that there “is no evidence that Halliburton’s handling of the hazardous waste caused any actual harm to the public or the environment.” However, Halliburton violated both the spirit and the letter of the law and have now been caught. Shame on them. Below is the announcement from the DEP, a copy of the consent order signed by Halliburton admitting guilt, and an article providing important details about this story not found elsewhere…

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