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Western Pa. contractor fined for illegal dumping of oil and gas waste

Marie Cusick
StateImpact Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection fined a Fayette County business owner $600,000 for improperly disposing of solid waste from the oil and gas industry at several sites in Fayette County from 2012 to 2015.

The DEP says John A. Joseph, owner of trucking and stone supply businesses, illegally dumped the waste at five sites he either owned or where he had contracts to provide fill.

The agency said Joseph used his companies to dump over 1800 truckfuls of solid waste without a permit. The agency said the waste included drill cuttings from pipeline projects in West Virginia, according to the Consent Assessment of Civil Penalty that Joseph signed.

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Joseph dumped waste in a pit on property he owned in Jefferson Township. Other spots dump spots included: a property he owned in Dunbar Township, where it was used to fill in a pond and part of an excavated field; a property in Perry Township, where a magistrate’s office now sits; and a spot between Route 40 and the Uniontown Mall parking lot.

The DEP says Joseph also burned oil and gas debris, including wooden mats and silt fences, at his pit in Jefferson Township. It collected soil samples at each of the five sites where Joseph illegally dumped waste, and said none of the samples registered high enough levels of pollution or radioactivity to warrant further cleanup under Pennsylvania’s residual waste regulations.

“(N)one showed any risk of harm to the public or environment from radiation,” the DEP said in a statement.

Joseph, reached by phone Thursday, declined comment, referring questions to his attorney. Christopher Nestor, Joseph’s attorney, did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.

This story is produced in partnership with StateImpact Pennsylvania, a collaboration among The Allegheny Front, WPSU, WITF and WHYY to cover the commonwealth's energy economy.

Reid R. Frazier covers energy for The Allegheny Front. His work has taken him as far away as Texas and Louisiana to report on the petrochemical industry and as close to home as Greene County, Pennsylvania to cover the shale gas boom. His award-winning work has also aired on NPR, Marketplace and other outlets. Reid is currently contributing to StateImpact Pennsylvania, a collaboration among The Allegheny Front, WESA, WITF and WHYY covering the Commonwealth's energy economy. Email: