Southwest PA Waste Hauler Indicted for Illegally Dumping Marcellus Drilling Wastewater

After a year-long investigation by  the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office, a waste hauler in southwest PA has been charged with illegal dumping of untreated fracking wastewater.

A waste hauler and his company were charged Thursday with dozens of criminal counts for what prosecutors said was years of dumping millions of gallons of wastewater from natural gas drilling, sewage sludge and restaurant grease into streams and mine shafts.

The state attorney general’s office filed 98 criminal counts against Robert Allan Shipman and 77 counts against his company, Allan’s Waste Water Service Inc.

Prosecutors said [Shipman] told his drivers to open valves at natural gas drilling wells, often at night or during rainstorms, so the wastewater would run into nearby waterways. He also is accused of telling drivers to dump the contents of their trucks into a floor drain that led directly to a nearby stream.

"This was a calculated and long-running scheme to personally profit by illegally dumping wastewater, regardless of the potential for environmental damage," acting Attorney General Bill Ryan said.

Prosecutors said the dumping took place between 2003 and 2009.

A spokesman for the attorney general’s office, Nils Frederiksen, said prosecutors are certain that the dumping caused adverse environmental impact but that it can be difficult to connect it to specific incidents.*

Mr. Shipman, through his attorney, says that he’s innocent and that he’s been wrongly accused by former disgruntled employees. But prosecutors and the grand jury who have indicted him seem pretty certain he’s guilty. If true, it’s a black eye on the industry, and hopefully an isolated case.

*WXIX-FOX19/AP (Mar 17, 2011) – Pa. man, company accused of dumping gas wastewater