XTO Energy, an ExxonMobil subsidiary, will reluctantly shell out $20 million to properly treat and dispose of fracking wastewater in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. It will also pay a $100,000 EPA fine as part of a settlement agreement [PDF] over water-pollution charges [PDF].
The company is accused of violating the Clean Water Act by releasing over approximately 65 days between 6,300 and 57,373 gallons of fluids that contained barium, calcium, iron, manganese, potassium, sodium, strontium, bromide, chloride and total dissolved solids.
A DEP inspector discovered a valve open on one of 57 tanks and its contents flowing on the ground. The fluids got into a subsurface spring and a tributary of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River.
Each of the tanks had a capacity of 21,000 gallons and the one with the valve open was connected with five others, EPA says.
ExxonMobil last year narrowly missed beating its own record for the highest annual profit of any company in history, so we’re guessing it could help out subsidiary XTO with a little cash if need be.