2012-02-16 / Local & State

W. Pa. Man Dumped Drilling Waste Water Into Creeks

WAYNESBURG, Pa. (AP) – The former owner of a southwestern Pennsylvania wastewater firm has pleaded guilty to dumping millions of gallons of water containing natural gas drilling wastewater, sewage sludge and restaurant grease into streams and mine shafts in a six-county area.

Robert Allan Shipman, 50, of New Freeport, which is about 70 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, also pleaded guilty to theft for taking money from his customers, who believed their waste was being properly disposed, The Observer-Reporter of Washington, Pa. reported Friday.

As part of Shipman's guilty plea in Greene County, he has sold his interest in Allan's Waste Water Services Inc., and will pay a $100,000 fine and a $25,000 nondeductible donation to an environmental group.

State prosecutors said Shipman illegally dumped the water from 2003 to 2009 in Allegheny, Fayette, Greene, Lawrence, Washington and Westmoreland counties.

Authorities said that from 2003 to 2009 Shipman failed to comply with DEP regulations and permitted gas well production water to be discharged into Rush Run, Toms Run, Morris Run and tributaries of Dunkard Creek in Greene County, and Pigeon Run in Washington County.

Agents from the state attorney general's office also said Shipman directed his drivers to falsify manifests so his company could bill customers for the full capacity of their trucks, regardless of the amount of waste actually being disposed, the paper reported.

Shipman and his wife must also agree at sentencing not to apply for or obtain DEP permits for any “conduct relating to environmental activity in Pennsylvania.”

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