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Last updated: March 17. 2014 11:55PM - 4081 Views
By Jon O'Connell joconnell@civitasmedia.com



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Editor's note: A previous version of this story misstated what Williams spokesman Mike Atchie had said about a brine discharge. Atchie told the reporter a pipeline in Susquehanna County discharged brine.
LENOX TWP. — Williams, a natural gas pipeline company, has confirmed a gathering line discharged brine Thursday in a rural Susquehanna County town.
 
Ice had built up in an above-ground pipeline connection between the Jeffers Farms wells and the Zick Compressor Station near Route 106, causing the pipes to discharge brine, Williams spokesman Mike Atchie said in an email.
 
Williams owns the gathering line and the compressor station.
 
The discharge happened during routine maintenance on Williams' gathering facilities in Susquehanna County, Atchie said. Williams officials told DEP approximately 30 gallons of brine was discharged, department spokeswoman Colleen Connolly said in an email.
 
Gathering lines carry untreated gas to compressor stations, where it is cleaned and compressed for transport to distribution lines. Atchie said the line serves older wells and the discharged fluid should not be considered “fracking brine.”
 
In hydraulic fracturing, most of the original fluid used to fracture, or frack, the well returns to the surface in the early stages of the well.
 
Pipelines are laid underground below the frost line. The blowout occurred at an above-ground connection less than 1/4 mile from the nearest Loomis Lake home, according to Alan Hughes, vice president of the Loomis Lake Association.
 
The lakeside cottages are mostly vacant for the winter, Hughes said, but a residue, which appears to have sprayed for about 150 feet, covers the ground on association property near a stream that eventually leads to the lake, Hughes said.
 
Residents from the Loomis Lake community, which is mostly a collection of summer cottages, were concerned that the release may affect the 37-acre lake.
 
One staffer from DEP's emergency response team and two from its environmental clean-up team were on the scene, and Connolly said clean-up is underway.
 
A third-party testing and clean-up contractor is taking samples and starting to remediate, Hughes said.
 
Site remediation will conclude Wednesday, Atchie said.
 
Connolly said DEP does not believe the spill has impacted Loomis Lake. The department expects Williams to submit a incident report by next week.

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