The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has reached a $1.8 million settlement with Halliburton Energy Services’ Homer City facility over solid waste management violations.
According to the department, the facility stored, treated and transported hydrochloric acid without obtaining proper permits between 1999 and 2011.
The department said the waste came from various natural gas well sites, and Halliburton transported it without proper trucking records and without using a licensed hazardous waste hauler.
The department said it learned of the violations through a 2011 facility inspection, prompting further investigation. That investigation, it said, revealed violations dating to 1999.
In addition to violations over the storing and transportation of the material, the DEP said Halliburton sent the waste to an unauthorized treatment and disposal operation.
The department did not name the disposal operation in a press release, but the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that one of the facilities it was sent to was the former Hart Resource Technologies plant in Creekside.
According to the newspaper, which did not cite a source, Hart cooperated in the investigation and was not cited for accepting the waste.
The Post-Gazette also reported that the fine is one of the largest the state has ever assessed against an oilfield services company.
The department said there’s no evidence the 255 violations it found caused actual harm to the public or to the environment.
DEP spokesman John Poister said hydrochloric acid has several uses in the oil and gas industries, including as a degreaser.
Halliburton, based in Houston, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
As part of the consent agreement, which the company signed on Feb. 7, it has promised not to appeal the penalty.
This story edited at 1 p.m. to delete photo of facility unrelated to the settlement.