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State DEP fines Michels for drilling mud pollution

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A pipeline construction company that West Virginia regulators say polluted a stream must pay a $3,800 fine and stop storing mud from gas drilling operations at its site near Lumberton.

The Department of Environmental Protection is taking comments until March 15 on a consent order for Wisconsin-based Michels Pipeline Construction. It runs an equipment and supply storage site known as Michels Equipment Yard.

The DEP says inspectors discovered last fall that Michels had put drilling mud from an Antero Resources operation into an unlined waste pit.

That improper disposal method allowed the slurry to run offsite and foul a tributary of Stewart Run.

The agreement says Michels completed a cleanup five days later.

Michels admits no wrongdoing in the agreement but says it will comply with state law going forward.


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