Oklahoma-based Gulfport Energy has paid a $250,000 fine after the Ohio Department of Natural Resources discovered "ground contamination" at seven natural gas well pads in eastern Ohio.
The company must clean up the contamination and plant new vegetation at the sites in Belmont and Harrison counties.
ODNR spokesman Mark Bruce said one of the agency's inspectors found contamination at a Harrison County well, which prompted a more thorough investigation.
The state found that brine and other drilling fluids were escaping from underneath the containment liner of the Gulfport pads,, the state said.
"There are really two problems here," said Bruce. "There should not have been a fluids spill in the first place. But then, they had a ripped liner, which allowed the fluids to escape into the environment."
The "compliance agreement" to which Gulfport agreed states the company failed to "properly construct and maintain the dikes and pits ... in a manner that would prevent the escape of brine and crude oil."
Bruce said Gulfport tested several local water wells but found no contamination. There also was no pollution in streams or ponds.
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Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.
Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.
Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.
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