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Drilling company may face settlement agreement

January 24, 2012

Photo by Gian DeLoia - Elk County Waterways Conservation Officer Thomas McMann of the Pa. Fish and Boat Commission, right, reports on a bentonite spill that occurred Nov. 15, 2011 along Silver Creek near Johnsonburg.

RIDGWAY - Elk County Waterways Conservation Officer Thomas McMann of the Pa. Fish and Boat Commission attended Monday night's Elk County Conservation District [ECCD] meeting to report on a bentonite spill that occurred along Silver Creek near Johnsonburg in November 2011.
On Nov. 15, the Hunt Marcellus Operating Company spilled a large amount of bentonite into the stream. The bentonite quickly made its way into a reservoir controlled by the Johnsonburg Municipal Authority.
Bentonite is a form of impure clay that easily absorbs water and is often used to facilitate gas drilling.
McMann said he is preparing to offer Hunt a settlement agreement and will add up the hours he has put into the investigation, including an additional $44.78-per-hour pollution penalty that has recently been instituted by the Pa. Fish and Boat Commission.

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