Pennsylvania coal and gas drilling waste treatment plant closes, leaving mess behind

Markets Associated Press

A company that treated wastewater from coal mines and gas drilling operations near Pittsburgh has closed, and state officials are scrambling to clean up a mess that's still there.

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Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection spokesman John Poister says the majority of the waste at the former Tunnelton Liquids site in Saltsburg is coal-related, but a considerable amount of sludge in a pond appears to be from the recent Marcellus Shale gas drilling boom. Acid mine water and sludge is building up and could overflow into the Conemaugh (KAHN'-uh-mah) River if left untreated.

Al Lander is one of the Tunnelton owners. He says they tried to work with DEP but got nowhere.

Poister says DEP has a cleanup plan and is waiting for results from recent tests.