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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Editor Writes About Frack Water Disposal Edict

Featured Editorial
Getting serious about frac water

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Better late than never.

Trust, but verify.

Both of those axioms apply to recent efforts by state regulatory officials to get drillers for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale geological layer to stop dumping the recycled hydrofracturing water, and its added and picked-up compounds and mixtures, into our rivers and streams after inadequate, incomplete "treatment" at local sewage treatment plants.

First off, we don't know what is in that "water," and neither, to our knowledge, does the state Department of Environmental Protection. The DEP knows what drillers say is in the water. That is not anywhere near the same thing as having DEP-taken samples, unannounced, from drilling sites analyzed by DEP's own laboratories - as though DEP has the capability of doing such analyses.

And until we know definitively, truckload by truckload (not samples from one of every 1,000 truckloads), the chemical-laden fracking water does not belong in our streams and rivers, no matter the dilution.

We're not all that thrilled with the "disposal" method used in other states, which involves dumping the waste water into deep injection wells. According to our layman's knowledge of geology, earthquakes can spew that water upward. Well casings can crack. And, though this might be far-fetched, the planet's interior is hot. Steam, anyone?

But deep-well disposal seems to be preferable to groundwater disposal, at least for now.

Yet the state is urging it, not ordering it.

That concerns us.

And judging by the inquiries we are receiving, it concerns fellow Pennsylvanians of all political persuasions as well.

- Denny Bonavita
Editor of the DuBois Courier Express

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