Inspections Show 40 Percent Of Haulers Non-Compliant

Potter County Today

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Transportation companies involved in the Marcellus Shale natural gas business had a chance to learn more about public safety laws and enforcement activities this week at the annual Marcellus Shale Summit in State College. Four state agencies – Pa. State Police, PennDOT, PUC and DEP – participated in a hands-on seminar sponsored by an industry group, the Marcellus Shale Coalition, and attended by more than 200 drivers, transportation companies and safety leaders.

State Police Col. Frank Pawlowski detailed the most common violations found during roadside inspections of trucks supporting gas drilling operations. Also discussed during a “walk-around” truck inspection were PUC and federal motor carrier requirements; DEP regulations pertaining to the transportation of environmental waste, with particular emphasis on waste water; and PennDOT regulations covering oversize and overweight loads.

The seminar came in the wake of a recent update from State Police and PennDOT on “Operation FracNET.” That spot inspection campaign has determined that about 40 percent of trucks hauling equipment or water for gas drilling are violating one or more regulations.

Police placed 208 trucks out of service during a recent three-day enforcement effort; 140 of the vehicles were hauling waste water from the drilling operations. Some 1,135 trucks were inspected Sept. 27-29. In addition to placing vehicles out of service, police also issued 959 citations and placed 64 drivers out of service. The most common problems involved faulty brakes, exterior lighting issues and hauling permit violations. Statistics for Troop F (Potter, Cameron, Tioga, Clinton, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder and Union counties) were: 258 vehicles inspected, 30 vehicles placed out of service and 160 citations issued.

DEP and the State Police will continue Operation FracNET through funding from the Waste Transportation Safety Account, which is supported by fees, fines and penalties paid by the waste-hauling industry.

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