WILLIAMSPORT -- The Department of Environmental Protection has fined Ultra Resources Inc. of Wellsboro, Tioga County, $40,000 for operating an illegal transfer station at a well pad in West Branch Township, Potter County.
DEP staff inspected the site in late February 2011 and found 47 wheelie storage tanks on-site that were holding more than 760,000 gallons of raw flowback fluid that Ultra was using for hydraulic fracturing at other area sites.
“This kind of activity requires a residual waste transfer station permit from the department,” DEP East Region Oil and Gas Program Manager Jennifer Means said. “Because no wells were ever drilled at this site, and because the well permits actually expired while this activity was taking place, we determined that Ultra never intended to use the stored fluid for drilling at this site.”
Department inspections conducted in March and July 2011 documented additional violations of the Oil and Gas Act, including the failure to post well permit numbers at the site.
DEP issued a notice of violation to Ultra in late July 2011, and then discovered additional violations during an inspection the following month. Those violations included flowback fluids around the wheelie tanks and on the containment liner; failure to properly stabilize several areas of the well pad and access road; and improper construction of a sediment basin.
Ultra submitted a report to DEP in early October 2011 that documented the corrective actions it took at the Fowler well site to address the violations. A DEP inspection in November 2011 confirmed that all violations had been corrected.