Man charged in spill near Pa. gas-drilling site


UPDATE: A 27-year-old man from Temple, Ga., admitted to Pennsylvania State Police that he dumped approximately 800 gallons of dangerous materials from a Bradford County gas well site onto state game lands early Thursday morning, according to a press release from the Towanda barracks.

 

Josh Foster is charged with scattering rubbish and was arraigned on Thursday night before District Justice Jonathan Wilcox of Troy. Foster was sent to the Bradford County Correctional Facility in West Burlington. Bail was set at $100,000.

The release noted that Talisman officials cooperated fully with the investigation by state police. END UPDATE.

WARREN TOWNSHIP, Pa. — As he pulled out of his driveway early Thursday morning, Bradford County resident Roger Cook made an unsightly discovery on the state-owned hunting land across the road.

“It’s some sort of petroleum sludge,” Cook said. “And it’s just illegally dumped out here in the middle of nowhere.”

Pennsylvania officials and Talisman Energy on Thursday launched investigations into the source of a 500- to 800-gallon pool of viscous black fluid found near the state line in northern Bradford County, about 1 1/2 miles from a natural gas well pad.

The gooey, black material was splayed in a 3-inch-thick pool, approximately 100 by 30 feet, at the beginning of an access road that extends deeper into Pennsylvania Game Land 219. The 5,691-acre hunting preserve is owned by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

The fluid is believed to be a petroleum product mixed with some oils and clay, said Kevin Sunday, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

“It’s clearly an oil-and-gas-industry-related product,” he said. “We’re not sure how it got there.”

According to Sunday, one of Talisman’s contractors discovered the material and reported it to Bradford County officials on Thursday afternoon.

The DEP will work with Bradford County Emergency Management, the Pennsylvania Game Commission and Talisman to ensure the material is vacuumed and excavated and to make sure no surrounding groundwater or soils are impacted, he said.

“We’re going to investigate how it was spilled or dumped there and who’s responsible and certainly hold them responsible,” Sunday added.

Warren Township Supervisor Fred Wheaton, who also serves as the township’s road master, said he doesn’t believe the material came from township road maintenance.

The fluid was found less than 2 miles from Talisman Energy’s Strope well pad in Warren Township.

Talisman spokeswoman Natalie Cox said the company sent the material out for testing and is examining internal records to determine if it is connected to actives at the Strope pad.

“We cannot confirm at this time that it was from the well site,” she said. “But because it is so close, that is why we are taking it upon ourselves to start the cleanup and take the paths necessary.’

Cox said Thursday that the cleanup was expected to be completed overnight.

“There were no waterways, streams — no impacts in that regard,” she said. “But our investigation needs to continue to find out how this happened (and) when it happened.”

A man who declined to be named — but identified himself as an independent road-monitoring contractor working for Talisman — was parked next to the fluid Thursday afternoon.

While official investigations are ongoing, Cook — whose property is separated from the state game land by a small, dirt road — said he believes the liquid was dumped there Wednesday night.

Tire tracks likely tell the story, he said.

“What it looks like to me is a tanker truck pulled out in there,” Cook said. “It looks to me like they were going to go out into a field and dump, and they got stuck so they just dumped it there and just left.”

 

Original story found HERE