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Coal, gas drilling waste plant closes, leaves mess

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 4, 2014 at 9:44 am •  Published: July 4, 2014

PITTSBURGH (AP) — 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.

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection spokesman John Poister says the majority of the waste at the former Tunnelton Liquids site in Saltzburg 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.