The Marcellus Shale is attracting a lot of interest from natural gas producers, and from Pennsylvania truck inspectors, too.

During the latest crackdown on trucks hauling wastewater from Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling operations, Pennsylvania State Police and officials from the Department of Environmental Protection issued 1,066 citations, and put 207 trucks and 52 drivers out of service. Most of the citations were for unsecured loads and inoperable vehicle lights and lamps.

The latest blitz, called "Operation FracNet," took place Oct. 25-27. It involved state police from 27 counties, along with DEP enforcement teams from across the state.

"Significant truck traffic has resulted in areas of Pennsylvania where Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling operations are taking place," Police Commissioner Frank E. Pawlowski said. "Large numbers of vehicles are required to support the drilling operations and the state is committed to ensuring that those vehicles are in good condition and operated safely."

Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger said DEP personnel inspected 254 other trucks during the three-day operation, issuing notices of violation to 65 of the vehicles. DEP staff also issued nine citations.

"These inspections are crucial because they ensure that wastewater haulers are working to comply with the commonwealth's environmental regulations and are keeping our roadways safe for other drivers," Hanger said. "Taking the time to do so now will go a long way toward making a positive difference as drilling continues."

In September, DEP and the state police entered into an agreement that increased funding so that both agencies are able to conduct more frequent roadside inspections, helping to ensure waste haulers obey state laws.