PITTSBURGH (KDAK) – Environmental officials are investigating after drilling waste water leaked at a Range Resources impoundment site in Washington County.

The John Day impoundment site sits atop an Amwell Township hillside near I-79, but it has not been active in storing processed fracking water for more than a year.

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Range Resources has been working towards replacing the holding ponds two liners, which is exactly what they were doing earlier this week.

“Underneath that there’s a geo-textile material, like a black fabric, and parts of that had some white marks on it, which would be indicative of some sort of a discharge,” said Range Resources spokesman Matt Pitzarella.

Range Resources immediately told the state Department of Environmental Protection.

“There are salts there, which would be the residue from water that’s used in the drilling process,” said DEP spokesman John Poister.

But it’s presence under the liners means the soil in the immediately area was contaminated with a mixture that could kill vegetation.

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“We don’t think so. We don’t think that this is a major environmental impact, but nonetheless, it has to be cleaned up and has to be remediated,” Poister said.

“We don’t believe that there was a leak,” added Pitzarella. “There’s no signs that there was a leak. We did have a spill there a year ago, so there could have been some residual as a result of that issue.”

There’s no way to know how much of the salty mixture got in the soil, and the DEP wants to know why the site’s leak detection didn’t pick up the issue.

“In this case, something didn’t work,” Poister said.

The DEP plans to issue a citation to Range Resources next week.

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