DEP Continues to Investigate Tank Fire at Washington County Well Site

PITTSBURGH — The Department of Environmental Protection continues to investigate the cause of a Feb. 23 tank fire at a natural gas drilling site on the Joseph Powers Farm in Independence Township, Washington County.

Chesapeake Energy workers were flow-testing at the active well site, which includes separating wet gas constituents and transferring water from tanks to trucks, when the fire started at 6:15 p.m. The incident was contained to the tank area and did not affect the site’s three wells.

DEP’s Oil and Gas and Environmental Emergency Response personnel responded to the fire and remained on-site until all emergency response units left the scene.

On Feb. 24, a team from DEP’s Bureaus of Investigation and Oil and Gas visited the site to probe the cause of the fire and whether it impacted the environment. Based on the initial findings, there is no evidence that surface runoff from the tanks extended beyond the well site’s permitted boundaries. Further review confirmed that there are no nearby streams or wetlands that would have been directly impacted.

Investigators will continue to conduct interviews as part of the probe, after which staff will advise acting DEP Secretary Michael Krancer of the findings.

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