On 06/20/2016, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) Oil & Gas Management Program (OGMP) contacted the OSC to schedule a conference call to discuss Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund (OSLTF) regarding a particular abandoned (orphan) well on state-held lands (Sproul State Forest in Clinton County, PA) which had been observed to be discharging liquids with a petroleum sheen to a nearby stream (Cooks Run). PADEP-OGMP informed the OSC that observations have been made periodically over a relatively long history, but PADEP-OGMP and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) have recently ramped efforts to "risk assess" wells and explore alternatives for addressing the highest risk sites on state-held lands, and this well landed near the top. The depth is unknown, but it is suspected to be a deep Oriskany well (6,000 feet).
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On 06/28/2016, via conference call, the OSC and PADEP-OGMP discussed the applicability of funding from the OSLTF to address the abandoned (orphan), leaking well. The OSC posed a number of preliminary assessment questions to evaluate if DCNR acquired ownership of the well when the land was acquired, when the discharge into navigable waters was discovered, what removal actions have already been undertaken and what removal actions are anticipated to be undertaken remove or arrange for the removal of the discharge, and mitigate or prevent a substantial threat of a discharge. The OSC and PADEP-OGMP concurred that such removal actions could include, but not necessarily be limited to plugging the abandoned well. PADEP-OGMP was able to provide some preliminary answers to the OSC’s question. No defensive actions have been implemented by PADEP-OGMP to date, because the source could be secured due to the condition of the abandoned, leaking well. The OSC suggested deployment of sorbent boom between the source and Cooks Run, and that a follow-up meeting be scheduled with PADEP-OGMP and DCNR at the PADEP offices in Harrisburg, PA where PADEP and/or DCNR may have additional information.
On 07/06/2016, PADEP-OGMP implemented defensive actions and photo-documented conditions on-site.
On 07/18/2016: PADEP-OGMP, DCNR and the OSC met at the PADEP offices in Harrisburg, PA; continued discussion on the State Access to the OSLTF, PRFA’s and Claims process applicable for PADER/DCNR to seek reimbursement of removal costs from the OSLTF regarding the abandoned (orphan) leaking well on state-held lands (Sproul State Forest in Clinton County, PA). Information provided by PADEP and/or DCNR answered some additional questions, pending continuing the preliminary assessment on-site, the OSC determined the incident most likely to be an OPA incident.
On 07/19/2016, PADEP-OGMP notified the National Response Center (NRC) and NRC #1153782 was assigned to the incident. In follow-up to the NRC Report, the OSC continued with the preliminary assessment including but not necessarily limited to the following actions: using available information, supplemented by an on-scene inspection, evaluated the magnitude and severity of the discharge; assessed the feasibility of removal; continued efforts to the extent practicable, to identify potentially responsible parties; determined whether a state or political subdivision thereof had the capability to carry out any or all removal actions (if so, the OSC may arrange funding to support these actions); and ensured prompt notification of the trustees of affected natural resources in accordance with the applicable RCP and ACP.
On 07/22/19, the OSC met PADEP-OGMP on-site, continued preliminary assessment. The OSC observed and photo-documented the discharge of crude oil from the abandoned on-shore facility, determined the incident met the criteria for funding under a federal removal action (PFRA) or otherwise reimbursement via the Claims process. The OSC to continue to monitor the situation. PADEP-OGMP to continue to maintain defensive actions and assist the OSC with efforts to identify potentially responsible parties pending OSC’s availability to conduct on-site assessment.
On 08/09/2016, the OSC met with PADEP-OGMP and DCNR on-site, continued preliminary assessment, and discussed removal funding options (PRFA and Claims process) and the Natural Resources Damage Assessment (NRDA) process. PADEP-OGMP to consider conducting the removal action under a PRFA. PADEP-OGMP to enhance and maintain defensive actions and arrange for the removal of the discharge, and mitigate or prevent a substantial threat of a discharge, including but not necessarily limited to plugging the abandoned (orphan) well. PADEP-OGMP to pass information along to the State Natural Resources Trustee for consideration of a NRDA.
The OSC accessed CANAPS and obtained an initial project ceiling of $50,000 to continue to monitor the situation, enhance defensive actions, and in absence of a viable Responsible Party, arrange for the plugging of the abandoned (orphan) well. PADEP-OGMP and DCNR to coordinate funding to implement the PRFA scope of work and submission of documentation for costs reimbursement from the OSLTF through the OSC.
On 08/09/10 - PADEP-OGMP completed plugging of the abandoned well.