HARRISBURG – Citations were issued to 1,066 of the more than 1,400 trucks inspected late last month under the state’s latest enforcement operation focusing on commercial vehicles hauling wastewater from Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling operations.
Known as “Operation FracNET,” the inspections were conducted Oct. 25-27 by the Pennsylvania State Police and the Department of Environmental Protection.
State police inspected 1,175 trucks, of which 207 were placed out of service because of safety concerns. Fifty-two drivers were also removed from service, while troopers issued a total of 1,057 traffic citations. The most common problems involved unsecured loads and inoperable vehicle lights and lamps.
“Significant truck traffic has resulted in areas of Pennsylvania where Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling operations are taking place,” state police Commissioner Frank E. Pawlowski said. “Large numbers of vehicles are required to support the drilling operations and the state is committed to ensuring that those vehicles are in good condition and operated safely.”
Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger said DEP personnel inspected 254 other trucks during the three-day operation, issuing notices of violation to 65 of the vehicles. DEP staff also issued nine citations.
“These inspections are crucial because they ensure that wastewater haulers are working to comply with the commonwealth’s environmental regulations and are keeping our roadways safe for other drivers,” Hanger said. “Taking the time to do so now will go a long way toward making a positive difference as drilling continues.”
During FracNET inspections, state police teams check vehicle braking systems, exterior lighting and other equipment that plays a role in operational safety, as well as whether drivers possess the appropriate operator licenses.
DEP inspects a more narrow range of issues pertaining to vehicle weight, proper waste hauler authorizations and standards for maintaining safe and secure loads.
In September, DEP and the state police entered into an agreement that increased funding so that both agencies are to conduct more frequent roadside inspections, helping to ensure waste haulers obey state laws.
Editor’s Note: Following is a breakdown, by state police troop area, of the number of inspections conducted; number of vehicles placed out of service; and citations issued by state police during the three-day program:
• Troop B (Allegheny, Fayette, Greene and Washington counties), 234 inspections; 27 vehicles placed out of service; 101 citations;
• Troop C (Clarion, Clearfield, Forest, Elk, Jefferson and McKean counties), 231 inspections; 20 vehicles placed out of service; 101 citations;
• Troop F (Cameron, Clinton, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Union and Tioga counties), 340 vehicles inspected; 55 vehicles placed out of service; 289 citations;
• Troop P (Bradford, Sullivan, Wyoming and part of Luzerne counties), 202 inspections; 84 vehicles placed out of service; 476 citations;
• Troop R (Lackawanna, Pike, Susquehanna and Wayne counties), 168 inspections; 21 vehicles placed out of service; 90 citations.
Following is a breakdown, by region office area, of the number of inspections conducted; number of notices of violation issued; and citations issued by DEP during the three-day program:
• North-central region(Bradford, Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga and Union counties), 16 inspections; five notices of violation; no citations;
• Northeast region (Carbon, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Luzerne, Monroe, Northampton, Pike, Schuylkill, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming counties), 78 inspections; four notices of violation; two citations;
• Northwest region (Butler, Clarion, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, McKean, Mercer, Venango and Warren counties), 91 inspections; 35 notices of violation; no citations;
• Southwest region (Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Cambria, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Somerset, Washington and Westmoreland counties), 69 inspections, 21 notices of violation; seven citations.