The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

January 11, 2011

DEP fines environmental services company

WILLIAMSPORT — Minuteman Environmental Services, of Mifflinville, Columbia County, was fined $7,000 by the state Department of Environmental Protection for operating transfer facilities last summer in Clinton and Union counties without approval, the agency announced Monday.

The facilities held waste from natural gas drilling sites in the Marcellus Shale, the DEP said in a statement.

Tipped off by a citizen complaint in July, DEP inspectors found Minuteman was “dumping and storing waste” without agency approval at a site in Greene Township, Clinton County, and at a site in White Deer Township, Union County, Waste Management Program Manager Patrick Brennan said.

Inspectors found 10 containers filled with gas-well drilling cutting waste at the Clinton County site. Seven containers were found at the Union County location, six holding plastic liners and one with liquid from a gas-well spill. There also was a pile of waste on the ground.

“We got a complaint and conducted an investigation,” said Daniel Spadoni, DEP spokesman. “We found what we found and followed up with a notice of violation letter because the activities at these sites were done without approval.”

Spadoni said he could not release the name of the complainant, citing DEP confidentiality policy.

Minuteman received a notice in August requiring removal and proper disposal of the waste. A DEP inspection the next month confirmed the company had complied, Spadoni said.

Spadoni would not elaborate on whether DEP has authority to close down businesses found in violation in this manner, but noted, “We have no intention of shutting this business down.”

A call to Minuteman’s Mifflinville headquarters was not returned by press time Monday.

According to information on Minuteman’s website, the company is “a participant in good standing” with the PEC Premier Contractor Assistance Program.

PEC/Premier Safety Management is a Mandeville, La., company that offers training and consulting in complying with safety and environmental regulations. Its Contractor Assistance Program aims to keep companies up to date on safety and industry and regulatory standards.

A call to PEC/Premier for comment was not returned by press time Monday.

The fine was paid to the Solid Waste Abatement Fund, which helps to fund cleanups across the state, the press release said.

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