Chesapeake Energy pleaded guilty in federal court today to three violations of the Clean Water Act, admitting it had dumped 60 tons of crushed stone and gravel into the Blake Fork stream in West Virginia on three different occasions in 2008.
One of the dumps obliterated a natural waterfall, federal officials said.
The U.S. Attorney's office said contractors hired by Chesapeake discharged gravel from dump trucks into Blake Fork when developing access roads to a natural gas drilling site in Wetzel County, which borders southwestern Pennsylvania.
Each violation carries a $200,000 fine, so Chesapeake will pay a total of $600,000. The company will also be placed on probation and supervised by the court for two years.
Chesapeake also agreed today to settle other undisclosed violations with civil penalties and not criminal charges.
Erich Schwartzel: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1455.