Chesapeake works to resolve issues at slip site

November 22, 2012
Shale Play

GLEN EASTON, W.Va. - Citing an "imminent danger to persons," the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection last year ordered Chesapeake Energy to stop operating at the Ray Baker well pad in southern Marshall County.

Although the department still lists Chesapeake under violation, spokesman Thomas Aluise said regulators may rule the driller's violations abated - allowing Chesapeake to resume gas production - pending an inspection today at the site along Valley Run Road.

"Work is nearly complete on getting the site back into compliance.

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"The slip area has been taken care of, but the company is still doing some excavation work on site," said Aluise. "Chesapeake has made significant progress stabilizing the site. As you know, its issues were erosion and sediment control related."

The environmental department originally cited Chesapeake for "pollution of the waters of the state" at the Baker site in February 2011.

Additional citations for, among other violations, creating an "imminent danger" at the site came in October 2011.

In order to resume operations at the pad, the department is requiring Chesapeake to properly secure all well heads and install protective cages around them; remove the sediment and debris from the road and unnamed stream; reclaim all affected areas to ensure a stable slope; and install erosion and sediment control devices.

This is the same pad the Army Corps of Engineers required Chesapeake to repair because of slipping soil and "discharging pollutants into the adjacent stream."

Stacey Brodak, Chesapeake senior director of corporate development, previously said the "complex design and extensive earth-moving work" at the site would result in workers taking several months to fix the pad.

"The slips have been stabilized. Ground cover and erosion and sediment controls are in place. Those repairs have remained intact during this week's storm with no adverse impacts," Brodak said last week.

"We continue to monitor all of our sites regularly given this week's weather conditions."