Federal EPA Demands Answers from Chesapeake Energy on Well Blowout in Bradford County Last Week

Chesapeake Energy has successfully replaced a wellhead that was defective and had caused a blowout with fracking fluid escaping from a well in Leroy Township near Canton in Bradford County, PA last week. Over a two day period, fracking fluid ran over neighboring land and some of it into a nearby stream that empties into the Towanda Creek. (Read MDN’s original article on the blowout here.)

The PA State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is investigating the blowout and the potential environmental damage it may have caused. But that’s not good enough for the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA is now throwing its weight around. In a letter to Chesapeake citing the Clean Water Act and various other federal statutes, the EPA is demanding that Chesapeake provide a list of details to the EPA about the incident by May 9.

A press released issued yesterday afternoon by the EPA indicated they have requested information from Chesapeake Energy officials regarding the spill, such as: information on the hydraulic fracturing fluids used in the drilling process at the well; the water, land and air affected by the release; and any private well, surface water and soil sampling data collected in the area before and after the April 19 incident.

“We want a complete accounting of operations at the site to determine our next steps in this incident and to help prevent future releases of this kind,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin.*

*CoudyNews.com (Apr 26, 2011) – Feds Step into Bradford County Fracking Spill Investigation

Below is the 23 page letter sent to Chesapeake by the EPA.