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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Town To Pay $6,000.00 To Test 30 Water Wells Before Marcellus Drilling Starts

Pine supervisors hear details of water testing

By Dianne Byers Staff Writer
Clearfield Progress

Pine Township Supervisors heard details about what is entailed in water testing of residents' wells at last night's meeting.

At the Nov. 24 meeting, the supervisors accepted a low offer from Mahaffey Laboratory Ltd., Curwensville, to test approximately 30 water wells located on township residents' properties in preparation for the possibility of drilling for Marcellus shale. A portion of the Moshannon State Forest land located in Pine Township and managed by the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has been opened up for the possibility of well leasing.

At the board's Oct. 28 meeting, the supervisors said the township wants to offer its residents living in the three populated areas of the township, Greenwood Road, Crystal Springs and Anderson Creek, an opportunity to have their water tested, at no cost to the property owner, before drilling starts. The testing would provide a record about each well's quality in the event the water would become contaminated through the drilling process.

The costs for testing residents' wells will be paid by the township and are expected to cost approximately $6,000. Those who own camps in the township may also have their water tested at the same time, but owners will assume the expense. More...

2 comments :

Anonymous said...

PhillyDeals: Gas-field water treatment put at $3 billion
By Joseph N. DiStefano

It's going to cost $3 billion a year to treat wastewater in the Marcellus Shale gas fields in upstate Pennsylvania and neighboring states once the industry gets going, says Ryan M. Connors, a water-stock analyst with Boenning & Scattergood.

It can take six million gallons of water to hydraulically fracture ("frack") a single deep natural gas well into production. Drillers contemplate tens of thousands of Marcellus wells. Boenning expects 3,300 wells coming online in 2020, pumping water at 14 cents a gallon.

"Most of this water returns to the surface in the form of a contaminated liquid," bearing "chlorides and sulfates as well as heavy metals," the disposal of which "presents yet-to-be-fully resolved challenges for gas companies," Connors told clients in a report.

Exxon Mobil Corp. is so fearful that stricter water laws could derail shale-gas drilling that the company "inserted a protection clause allowing it to walk away should new laws restrict the company from fracking" in its $41 billion deal this month to buy Marcellus driller XTO Energy, Connors adds.

In Texas shale fields, where water-quality laws are relatively lax, drillers dump waste down dry oil wells. Upstate Pennsylvania has more water, but mountain-road trucking costs are high, pollution laws are stronger, and disposal is expensive. Drillers would like to dump waste in municipal treatment facilities. But those are "designed to treat biological, not chemical, wastewater."

The best solution, Connors concludes, is to boil wastewater away, using natural gas burners, leaving the bad stuff as manageable solids. He says that would be good business for U.S. boilermakers, at least.

http://www.philly.com/philly/business/80045547.html

Anonymous said...

Accountability For Marcellus Shale Drillers
by John Laumer, Philadelphia on 12.24.09

Groundwater, invisible, and ordinarily slower than a snail, rushes movement of the spillings and drillings of man when bedrock cracks are opened wider, and held that way through hydraulic fracturing or "fracing". Extraction of natural gas held tightly in Marcellus Shale rock, thousands of feet below the earth's surface, has until now been a hydraulic smash-and-grab operation. Gas wells are punched deep into the earth; layers of rock are then "cracked" by injecting sand- and chemical-filled water under great pressure - the so-called "fracing" process - allowing natural gas to escape to the surface via well head, and so it is feared, allowing contaminants from fracing fluids to move into nearby water wells. Ironically, like putting a micrometer on a fog bank, measurement of contamination potential comes too late: when the measurer is fully enveloped. Now, a novel protection has been proposed - that tracer dye be injected into exploratory wells drilled into the shale formations - as a best management practice (BMP).

Planning work by the Colorado, USA communities of Grand Junction and Palisade came up with the idea, as reported in ProPublica:

At first, Grand Junction and Palisade tried to buy the mineral rights themselves. In early 2006 they bid more than $300 an acre at auction -- eight times what gas companies were typically paying for mineral leases in that part of the state at the time -- but were outbid by Genesis Gas and Oil.

Then they tried a different tack: If drilling had to go forward, they wanted to define the terms, making sure the safest techniques would be used [4] to protect the quality of their water. In this case, they wanted measures more stringent than what state regulations required.

With BLM officials arbitrating -- the agency made a goodwill agreement a condition of the leasing and permitting process -- the municipalities and Genesis Gas and Oil spent the next two years negotiating a compromise that could now stand as a model for towns across the country.

The result is a 60-page Watershed Plan [5] (PDF) that dictates that Genesis will only use "green" hydraulic fracturing fluids, will reveal the chemical makeup of those fluids and will inject a tracer along with those fluids so any alleged contamination in the area can be quickly linked to its source.

Ideally, the tracer would be red. A gas developer then either passes the 'red face' test or does not.

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/12/tracer-in-hydraulic-fracturing-fluid-accountability-for-marcelus-shale-drillers.php