The PA DEP & Problematic Pits

by Sarah Cox

Widener University Political Science Major

Clearly the gas drilling industry has many concerns when it comes to environmental safety as well as how human health will be affected. Range Resources Corp. has dug a retaining plastic covered pit next door to a small Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania farm. The pit is bigger than a football field and can hold 15 million gallons of water for shale-drilling purposes. As expected, the once peaceful neighborhood is in upheaval around the noisy, smelly and dangerous pit. These pits are susceptible to spills of chemical water, which makes them extremely dangerous to the farm land around them.

The fact that the State Department of Environmental Protection is letting this pit stand is slightly disheartening. Why will the DEP fight to block smaller, open top pits, but not these larger pits? These large pits are designed for transfer stations, which means heavy truck traffic will be driving in and out of the neighborhood location, often spilling chemicals and releasing air pollutants if the tanks are not sealed properly. Even more concerning is the fact that there are seven Range sites like this one in the DEP’s data base and all seven have received at least one state violation. These environmental violations are usually focused around improper waste handling, which is exactly what you would want in your back yard and around your kids, right?

Industrial sites such as these pits do not belong in residential or agricultural based areas.


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