Pennsylvania settles with gas company over pollution violations

Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently announced that it has reached a settlement with Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC., over multiple violations of the Clean Streams Law.

The DEP conducted inspections in 2011 and 2012, during Columbia Gas Transmission's construction of a natural gas pipeline. Over the course of 30 inspections from the DEP's Waterways and Wetlands Program and the Pike County Conservation District, 125 violations were discovered at the construction site.

The company failed to meet regulations for implementing, maintaining and providing temporary stabilization of disturbed areas, and also caused potential pollution and sediment discharges into Commonwealth waterways, many of which are protected by law.

"This penalty serves as a reminder of how serious the Department takes our responsibility to protect the health of area residents," said Mike Bedrin, director of DEP'S Northeast Regional Office in Wilkes-Barre in a press release. "The Department's regulations require the proper implementation of best management practices through permit conditions in order to protect the quality of our wetlands and streams."

Sally Corrigan, director of the Pike County Conservation District also stated that the agency took its responsibility to protect water quality for Pike County residents seriously and would implement programs to clean contaminated waters.

According to the settlement agreement, Columbia Gas Transmission will pay a $150,000 fine to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Clean Water Fund, which supports educational and environmental programs for clean water efforts. The company will also pay $21,500 to the conservation district to reimburse investigation costs.

Industries doing any work that involves interaction with the environment should contact environmental consultants as soon as possible. Consultants can help companies continue work, while operating under federal and state guidelines.