Complaint and Compliance
Image 1: Sand left on road by sand truck traveling to fracking site in Penn Township.
Image 2: Before and after: pictures from Fatur Well Site where resident complained to DEP.
Image 3: Protect PT staff at DEP for a file review.
Complaint and Compliance Management
Documenting and reporting to the proper agency is critical to your protection
Lights, Noise, Action. Lots of action! As unconventional gas development commences in Penn Township, residents will be exposed to the different stages of this heavy industrial process in close proximity to our homes, businesses, and schools. These stages include construction of well pads, drilling of vertical and horizontal bores, hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), flowback wastewater management, and completion.
Undeniably, each stage of this process brings with it unwanted impacts to our quiet, rural community. Some of the issues are, but not limited to, bright lighting, loud constant noise, truck traffic, dust filled air, and safety hazards. It is a misconception that state and local regulations alone will ensure your protection. And with over 50 wells currently proposed by Apex and Huntley & Huntley in our township, residents need to be extremely aware of their surroundings. Citizen watchdogs are our best defense against violations and non-compliance.
Keep reading to learn how to properly recognize, document, and report violations.
Apex Settlement Conditions
In a recent Federal Court Settlement between Penn Township and Apex Energy, LLC, titled Resolution No. 104-2016, 8 conditions were incorporated into a 22-page agreement in hopes of lessening unconventional gas development impacts to residents.
These 8 conditions that Apex Energy, LLC agreed to are as follows:
1. Apex Energy, LLC will install “sound walls” on all well pads during the construction, drilling, and completion phases of the operation.
2. Apex Energy will employ a third party to engage in sound monitoring during the construction, drilling, and completion phases of the operation. Apex shall also maintain a log of on site monitoring conducted for OSHA purposes and shall notify the Township of any reading beyond the sound barriers showing Apex’s operations above 90 decibels for a period in excess of two (2) hours.
3. Apex Energy, LLC will engage in landscape restoration in consultation with Penn Township for each well pad in the township.
4. Apex Energy, LLC will maintain a 24 hour hotline for use by the township for use in case of any emergency.
5. Apex Energy, LLC will employ a third party to engage in air quality monitoring during the construction, drilling and completion phases of the operation.
6. Apex Energy, LLC will engage in a light mitigation plan in consultation with the Township during the construction, drilling, and completion phases of the operation.
7. Apex will consult with the Township of Penn and Penn-Trafford School District regarding truck traffic and will take steps to ensure trucks will not idle on any well pads.
8. Apex Energy, LLC will allow the Township to immediately engage in air monitoring on any date in which there is a DEP reportable spill or a spill has been reported to DEP until the spill is abated or remediated.
*For more details on these conditions, please read this excerpt of the Resolution NO. 104-2016.
How to Document and Report Violations
As mentioned above it is imperative that citizens of the community are vigilant and active in protecting themselves, their property, and their environment. Documenting activity you see that doesn't follow local or DEP regulations is important because enforcement agencies don't necessarily know about or give attention to violations being committed unless you speak up and report them. You can follow the steps below to properly document and report violations.
Tips for documenting and reporting violations
1.Track how development affects your daily life. Keep a journal as a record of what happened and when. You have rights under the Pennsylvania Constitution to clean air and pure water. Authorities must address your concerns and take steps to mitigate any potential harm or nuisance affecting you or your family.
3. Take time-stamped pictures or video of activities that are affecting you, in particular, dust, smoke, excessive noise, or smells that indicate fugitive emissions.
4. Contact responsible parties to voice your concerns and demand an appropriate response.
- Contact officials and companies in writing, so there is documentation of your complaint. Quite often, complaints taken by phone do not become part of the permanent record. Written complaints will establish a timeline of the complaint and demonstrate how the government has responded to it.
- Citizens can see the timeline of a violation or complaint and documentation associated with it through a Right To Know or Freedom of Information request filed with the entity that handled the complaint.
Local Government Contacts
Ward 1 Commissioner, Jeff Shula: email@example.com
Ward 2 Commissioner, Grant Pence: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ward 3 Commissioner, Chuck Konkus: email@example.com
Ward 4 Commissioner, Tim Gwynn: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ward 5 Commissioner, Larry Harrison: email@example.com
Twp. Manager, Alex Graziani: firstname.lastname@example.org
Zoning Officer, Mike Stack: email@example.com
Not sure what ward you are, click here for a map
State and Federal Contacts
DEP (state) and EPA (federal) oversee shale gas development regulations. For some tips on how to best document and report a problem, click here for Environmental Integrity Project 's complaint guidelines.
DEP Complaint Hotline: Kurt Smith 412-442-4184 or 1-866-255-5158, or file an online complaint here.
EPA’s Eyes on Drilling Hotline: 877-919-4372 (877-919-4EPA)
Track inspections from your complaint
Be sure to follow up on complaints you have filed you can track inspections on the DEP's Oil and Gas Mapping website. Click here to download detailed instructions for locating the well sites and the results of inspections.
Let us know if your expectations were met by local or state authorities. We would like to help you by ensuring that the agencies responsible for addressing your concerns are meeting expectations and they are being held responsible for public welfare. Please fill out our online form and tell us how the above individuals responded.