DEP Halts Drilling Operation After Spill

Charleston Gazette
28 March 2011
By The Associated Press

SALEM, W.Va. -- State regulators have halted operations at a gas well site in Harrison County after chemically tainted drilling mud spilled into a stream.

The mud spilled into Indian Run last week from Antero Resources Appalachian Corp.'s well pad about 3 miles north of Salem, The Exponent Telegram reported.

Indian Run is not a source of drinking water, said Ronnie Davis, director of public works for the city of Salem.

State Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Kathy Cosco said her agency issued five notices of violation to Denver-based Antero and Bronco Drilling of Edmond, Okla.

Bronco agreed to make corrections at its active drilling sites and pay a $15,000 civil penalty, she said.

That allows Bronco to resume operations elsewhere in West Virginia.

DEP records show neither company has had any previous violations, Cosco said. Antero has been issued about 94 permits since 2009, with most of its active wells in Harrison County.

Antero Vice President Al Schopp said the company will meet with the DEP this week and do any needed remediation.

Schopp said workers had completed drilling, and contractors were breaking the rig down to prepare for removal. When it's gone, Antero will do soil samples around the well pad to check for contamination, he said.