At the request of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), EPA conducted a site assessment of eight leaking oil wells in the Town of Carrollton, Cattaraugus County, New York. The oil wells had been actively leaking crude oil along the drainage basin of Chipmonk Creek, a named tributary of the Allegheny River, where there was a potential for the crude oil to be released into the Allegheny River, a navigable waterway of the United States.
These crude oil production wells were operated sporadically over the years and have subsequently been abandoned. This type of well is known as an orphan well.
A deed and title search for the identification of a viable responsible party indicated that the mineral rights ownership was held by one individual who operated the oil wells. A second oil well operator was referenced by the property owner. There is limited state oil and gas database records for these oil wells.
EPA initiated a project known as the Sue Oil Lease Site which will involve the permanent plugging of the abandoned and orphaned crude oil production wells.
This project is being conducted under the authority of the Clean Water Act and the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA90). This project is being funded with federal money from the OPA90 Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.