DEP Settles Lawsuit over Drilling Mud
Company must pay $38K fine, clean up
Morgantown Dominion Post
7 February 2013
By David Beard
The Department of Environmental Protection announced a settlement
with M3 Appalachia Gathering for drilling mud spills in the
Monongahela River, Jakes Run and Dunkard Creek.
Along with remediation actions outlined in the consent order, the
proposed settlement — made public Wednesday — includes a fine of
M3 Appalachia Gathering is an affiliate of Texas-based Momentum
Energy and operates a natural gas pipeline gathering system —
called the Appalachia Gathering System (AGS) in Monongalia, Marion
and Harrison counties, and Greene and Washington counties in
Pennsylvania. Momentum has contracts to serve Chesapeake
Appalachia and Statoil.
The proposed settlement won’t be final until a 30-day comment
period concludes March 10.
According to the DEP documents:
DEP received notice of a drilling mud spill into the Mon River in
Marion County on May 1, 2012. Momentum received a Notice of
Violation and began remediation actions.
During a June 5 inspection, DEP observed drilling mud in Jakes Run
and issued another violation notice. Momentum again began
On June 9, inspectors observed mud in Tevebaugh Creek in Marion
County and issued another violation. Momentum began corrective
On Aug. 31, DEP received notice of a drilling mud release into
Dunkard Creek. It issued a violation and corrective actions began.
On Oct. 2, DEP responded to another mud release into Dunkard
Creek, with the same consequences.
Within 20 days of the effective date of the consent order,
Momentum must submit a full corrective plan and timeline.
The $37,830 civil penalty must be paid within 30 days of the
effective date of the order. As part of the agreement, Momentum
does not admit to any factual or legal determinations made by the
Jim Roberts, Momentum vice president for Environment, Health and
Safety, said everything was corrected before a November meeting at
DEP’s Charleston office. Everything is now stabilized and they are
monitoring it to make sure everything is back to normal.
Roberts said that in some instances, a contractor’s failure to
follow procedures led to the incident. Momentum doesn’t like it
when these accidents happen, but they have responded accordingly.
They’ve taken the additional safety step of now observing a
contractor’s site work before deciding whether to hire the
“We do feel like we’re a very responsible company,” Roberts said.
“We do take responsibility and correct things and want to do