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Thursday, October 15, 2009

More Treatment Plants Coming For Gas Drilling Waste Water

gaswellsiteA state environmental official told members of the Potter County Natural Gas Task Force Tuesday that upwards of 60 operators are interested in building treatment plants to handle waste water from natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania. None of the facilities are proposed for Potter County.

Robert Hawley, program manager for the Pa. Dept. of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Bureau of Water Management, detailed the complex federal and state regulatory process that’s in place to safeguard public water resources. Hawley confirmed that the environmental challenges from production of natural gas from Marcellus shale formation deep underground in Pennsylvania will require oversight for more than a quarter-century.

Four state-permitted treatment facilities are in operation, Hawley said, with a capacity of about 1.3 million gallons per day. Over the next three to eight years, Marcellus shale gas well hydrofracturing by energy companies could average more than 20 million gallons per day, he added.

Hawley presented a detailed summary of the standards that apply to water released into rivers after being treated. “We take water quality quite seriously,” he emphasized.

Acknowledging that DEP faces budget restrictions and limited personnel, Hawley called upon local government officials and conservation organizations to be on the lookout for any violations by energy companies operating in Potter County. “The biggest concern that I can see is the potential for illegal discharges,” he explained. “We really look to our local governments, sportsmen and watershed groups to be on the lookout.” Hawley said DEP takes seriously every report of a suspected violation and will follow up on all reports — even those made anonymously — including site visits, if warranted.

Some Potter County Natural Gas Task Force members have volunteered for a citizens’ organization, known as “Water Dogs,” to keep watch over water quality on Pine Creek, from eastern Potter County through Tioga County. Dr. Peter Ryan, representing God’s Country Chapter of Trout Unlimited, suggested that a similar organization be considered in other parts of Potter County.

Tuesday’s meeting also featured presentations on job training and employment opportunities; public education; taxation policies; emergency management/public safety, as well as local government and planning issues. Additional information from the Task Force meeting will be posted on Potter County Today in the coming days.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

To bad but alot of these companys steer away from Potter County.To much bulls#*t to deal with!