Did DEP Mishandle Range Wastewater Impoundment Investigation?

Range Resources has had a long-running dispute with some of the neighbors near some of it’s wastewater impoundments in Washington, PA. Without recounting the details (see MDN’s previous stories here), the entire thing came to a head recently when the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) completed their investigation and fined Range the highest amount any driller has paid so far in the modern shale drilling era (see PA DEP Fines Range Resources $4.15M for Wastewater Impoundments). Part of the deal is that Range is closing those impoundments. There are, of course, legal actions involved, as you might expect. One of the neighbors near the Yeager impoundment sued Range with claims of well water contamination from chemicals leaking from the impoundment. The DEP determined the landowner’s well was not contaminated by the Range impoundment and the landowner challenged that finding in DEP’s version of court, the Environmental Hearing Board. Testimony at the hearing last week from a DEP official about the investigation indicates the DEP “might have used incomplete and inaccurate test information to decide whether chemicals leaking…contaminated a water well and springs”…

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