PITTSBURGH -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Pittsburgh is alerting Loyalhanna Lake visitors that a Sunoco pipeline contractor, drilling adjacent to Corps property, has reported three releases of bentonite slurry this week near Loyalhanna Lake.
The contractor informed the Corps that the releases pose no risk to the public.
Bentonite slurry is a clay and water substance used in the horizontal directional drilling process to cool and lubricate drilling equipment.
The releases occurred at or near Loyalhanna Lake’s Bush Recreation Area. The first two releases resulted in no bentonite entering into the catch basins or Loyalhanna Lake; however, the latest release resulted in approximately one pint of bentonite flowing into Loyalhanna Lake according to the contractor.
As part of the remediation, the contractor has placed sandbag rings, barriers and cones around the release sites. Visitors are restricted from entering these areas.
Contractor operations at the drilling and remediation sites may inconvenience visitors to the lake. The public may experience noise disruptions, and should be mindful of tripping hazards and other obstacles, in the water and on land, at or near the Bush Recreation Area.
The contractor deployed a boat to monitor drilling operations occurring under the lake and assigned additional staff to assist with remediation and monitoring efforts. Corps environmental and lake staff are working with the contractor to minimize disruption to recreational activities.
The contractor shut down drilling operations after the releases were discovered and resumed operations only after mitigation measures were put in place. The contractor stated that it had reported the releases to the Westmoreland Emergency Operations Center, Westmoreland County Conservation District, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
Any concerns should be brought to the attention of the campground host or park ranger.
Please contact the Pittsburgh District Public Affairs Office with any concerns or questions at 412.395.7500/01 or at CELRP-PA@usace.army.mil