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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Comments Requested To Support Legislation To Protect Rivers From Wastewater Discharges

This Legislation Is Vital To Protecting Our Water

DEP Secretary: New Treatment Plant Showcases Technology to Meet Stronger, Greatly Needed Water Quality Standards

NEW STANTON -- Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger today toured the new Reserve Environmental Services wastewater treatment in Westmoreland County, saying the facility uses the technology needed to meet stronger water quality standards now being considered to better protect Pennsylvania’s waterways from the effects of natural gas drilling.

Hanger said the proposed standards will prevent rivers from being polluted with total dissolved solids, often referred to as TDS, which can kill aquatic life, threaten drinking water and create higher costs for industrial users. As examples, he pointed to incidents over the past two years involving the Monongahela River, where polluted water created foul-smelling drinking water and damaged industrial equipment; and Dunkard Creek, where a toxic algae bloom killed fish and aquatic life over a 30-mile stretch.

“Natural gas exploration and drilling in the Marcellus Shale is booming here in Pennsylvania, creating a significant challenge in terms of how the industry can treat and dispose of gas drilling and fracturing wastewater. This wastewater contains exceptionally high TDS levels and most drinking-water treatment facilities are unable to deal with water containing those high concentrations,” Hanger said.

“High levels of total dissolved solids pollution from natural gas drilling and other sources pose a real threat to Pennsylvania’s streams and rivers, including aquatic life. DEP has created and proposed new regulations that will ensure that drilling wastewater does not pollute drinking water supplies, damage industrial equipment or endanger delicate aquatic life.

“The technology and resources to recycle, treat and dispose of gas well wastewater are available here at this RES facility, making it an essential tool for the oil and gas industry to minimize its impact on the state’s waterways,” Hanger added.

Reserve Environmental Services’ new facility will be a zero-discharge wastewater recycling operation with the capacity to treat one million gallons per day. Over the course of a year, that’s enough capacity to treat the volume of wastewater created by about 350 Marcellus wells.

DEP’s new proposed regulations would establish two standards—one for natural gas drillers and one for new or expanding facilities. Wastewater discharges from new and expanded facilities must meet a concentration threshold of 2,000 milligrams per liter and wastewater discharges from drilling operations cannot exceed 500 mg/l.

The lower standard was set for the drilling industry because drilling wastewater is so heavily polluted and because drillers have options other than returning water to rivers and streams, such as reusing and recycling it, or injecting it deep into caverns situated below ground water supplies when approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Several states, including Texas, Oklahoma, New York, Iowa, Virginia, Arkansas and Tennessee, prohibit returning any drilling wastewater to streams.

On June 17, the Independent Regulatory Review Commission will meet to consider the proposed regulations, which were approved by the Environmental Quality Board on May 17. The National Association of Water Companies and many other individuals and groups across the state strongly support the adoption of this rule.

To comment on the proposed regulations to better protect Pennsylvania’s water quality, email and reference “Reg. No. 7-446 – Wastewater Treatment Requirements.” Comments must be submitted by June 15.

Compose our own comment or copy & paste this one:

“Reg. No. 7-446 – Wastewater Treatment Requirements.”

Dear Commissioners,

I would like to voice my support for the new wastewater regulations to protect our streams and rivers from drilling wastewater in quantities that will have devastating effects on aquatic life and drinking water downstream. The new standards set by DEP will help to effect this goal.

Thank you,

Your name and address here

For more information, visit or call 412-442-4000.


John Q Public said...

Nice to hear ... however, our sewer rates and taxes will go up drastically to cover the cost.

How much will the drillers cough up to cover the cost?

Anonymous said...

Many are building their own treatment facilities so it won't cost you anything.

Find something else that you are obviously uneducated on to bitch about.

Anonymous said...

These companys pay to have the water disposed of.If anything your taxes would go down if our elected officals were smart enough to add on to existing plants to treat the water instead of forming task groups that seem to have no other task than to flap their gums!!
We need to quit worrying about what we can't control and and be a little pro-active.How about we quit studying what was done at the Barnett play,and start doing something at the Marcellus play!

Anonymous said...

By the time they build these so called facilities,our water will be can tell that the last two posts are drll need to get educated ditch digger.

Anonymous said...

"By the time they build these so called facilities our water will be polluted"
Let me tell you a little secret..
All the water from the wells in this area either goes to Warren for treatment or is hauled to Franklin on train cars.
How about lets treat it right here,cut down on all the truck traffic,and reduce our taxes?
I don't think anyone (drillers included)are against having better water treatment closer to the exploration.They save on the huge hauling costs,and the taxpayers get some relief to boot.These treatment facilities are not rocket science and could be installed as primary treatment to existing systems in pretty short order!Not to worry though,Shell and Exon will just put in there own and turn a buck on both ends!!!

Really! said...

4:11:00 PM
Great post, agree with you 100%!

Anonymous said...

4:11 your a moron.if they build a waste water facility around here, they will truck that crap from all around in to our area.Its apparent you are an uneducated ditchdigger.
spill em if you got em!

Anonymous said...

Someone is going to build them!
Funny how you change your tune about all the polluted water when someone enlightens you as to where the brine water has been going. Same old TREE HUGGER,NOT IN MY BACK YARD,story.
Your not concerned about OUR enviroment,just YOURS!Seems it is ok if you are CRAPPING in someone elses yard!My yard is full.Am digging a ditch on over to yours.

Anonymous said...

Pennsylvania is my back yard dum didn't enlighten us on where the brine water goes,its my job to know. their are 5 waste water treatment plants in the state that are able to handle heavey minerals.I don,t want number 6 in my area.hope you don't trip in that ditch drill baby.