Summit Midstream Partners to pay $35M in penalties for largest inland spill of waste product from oil drilling


The spilled produced water contained arsenic, ammonia, aluminum, barium, benzene, boron, chloride, crude oil, copper, nickel, thallium, selenium, and zinc. Produced water is harmful to humans and can be toxic to plants, fish, and other aquatic wildlife.

Details of the plea agreement and the civil settlement agreement

Under the plea agreement, Summit Midstream will pay $15 million in federal criminal penalties for negligently causing the continuous spill of produced water, failing to stop it, and deliberately failing to comply with the requirement to immediately report the incident.

Additionally, the pipeline company agreed to serve three years of probation, which requires comprehensive mitigating measures.

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Summit Midstream pleaded guilty to intentionally not reporting all relevant information regarding the duration and volume of the produced water spill. The pipeline company admitted that the reports it submitted to federal and state authorities “were incomplete and misleading.

Under the proposed civil settlement, Summit Midstream, Meadowlark Midstream, and another subsidiary, Summit Operating Services Company will pay $20 million in penalties. The companies will also pay $1.25 million in natural resources damage.