Environmental regulators investigate pipeline discharge release
BY DAVID FALCHEK
Times Shamrock Writer
A pipeline interchange in Susquehanna County released brine that appeared to leave a copper-colored dust over land owned by the Loomis Lake Association.
The state Department of Environmental Protection is investigating the release, which affected about 200 square yards of ground in Harford Twp., according to the agency. Williams hired Environmental Products and Services to clean up the area and take soil samples, the department said.
The 21-member Loomis Lake Association, meanwhile, is waiting for the results of its own tests of the copper-colored, acrid-smelling dust, and it wonders about the substances it can’t see that may already be migrated to its lake.
“We are going to watch for the results of the DEP investigation and see what Williams has to say,” said attorney Stephen Saunders, who represents the association. “It’s clear Williams will be required to do some kind of cleanup and remove this from the association’s property.”
Appalachia Hydrogeologic & Environmental Consulting has been on site collecting samples of the brownish material, said Alan Hughes, vice president of the associaion.
A statement from Williams Partners described the release as brine from a pipe interchange near the Zick Compressor Station occurring during routine maintenance. Site remediation is underway and will continue through Wednesday, the statement said. That interchange at the Jeffers Farm Pipeline sits 20 yards from the Loomis Lake Association property line in the corner of the Christmas tree farm.
Members of the association surveyed the site daily since getting a call Friday from a Williams Pipeline official notifying them of the brine release.
On a clear, chilly Monday afternoon, Alan Hughes, another property owner, and Saunders took a walk from a lake home along the old boundaries of forgotten farms to the association’s property line overlooking the pipeline interchange. The land between the valve station and the property line was covered with plastic sheeting. Several sediment control booms were crossing the area where the farm drains into a small creek that feeds a pond that then drains into Loomis Lake. Two Williams truck were onsite including one that had a pig launcher, a device to inspect or clean pipelines.
After looking at the brown dust’s reach, as high as 20 feet on trees, the property owners and Saunders followed the runoff as it entered association property, flowed into a wetland, then the pond and Loomis Lake. The homes there are predominantly summer homes. The association had baseline testing of the lake water before natural gas drilling began in the area. Saunders recommended testing the ponds, too.
DEP spokeswoman Colleen Connolly said the agency expects a report from Williams about the incident by early next week.