Police Participate in EPA Training

Washington PA  Observer Reporter
14 October 2011
By Scott Beveridge, Staff writer

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is enlisting local and state police to help it identify and cite illegal dumpers of wastewater from Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling sites.

The agency is putting out the call in the form of a police training video produced in North Franklin Township using one of its patrolmen, Dean Urbanic, in a simulation of an arrest of a hauler.

Meanwhile, the hauler shown in the video being pulled over by police is portrayed by Andrew Simmons, an employee of Hapchuk Inc. of South Strabane Township, a company with a good record, the EPA said.

"These drillers move in and the next day police wake up and these trucks are running 24-7," said David Dillon, assistant director of the EPA's law enforcement training program, who aired the video at a North Franklin supervisors meeting Wednesday.

The video will be made available to police across Pennsylvania, who are facing many new issues over the booming gas industry, Dillon said.

The EPA spent nearly $30,000 creating the video and was referred to North Franklin by the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association, he said.

While the EPA studies the impacts from Marcellus Shale drilling on water, the video encourages police to observe, report, take action and spot the unusual, the video indicates.

These situations would involve overweight tanker trucks and especially when such vehicles are found pulled off to the side of the road with a hose into a stream.

"The film will be sent out next week. Your township will be held up as a leader," said Martin Schwartz, who also works with EPA criminal investigation.