Natural Gases in Ground Water near Tioga Junction, Tioga County, North-Central Pennsylvania

The following is the opening statements from journeyoftheforsaken.com

Note: The following is excerpted from an excellent and relatively revealing study of the Tioga Junction area, conducted by the USGS. I found this report particularly helpful because it helps explain the uncertainty associated with isotopic analysis – particularly in alluvial mixing zones.

Currently, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and some area oil and gas operators in our region rely upon a thermogenic signature detection method that fails to account for obvious environmental factors and relies too greatly upon flawed assumptions ultimately yielding bias and therefore inaccurate results suggesting that a sudden appearance of methane gas in stream beds and alluvial areas is purely biogenic in nature.

This report reveals key factors which, when properly considered, demonstrate certain mechanisms which would facilitate a mixed and more complicated hydrogeologic dynamic and therefore truer assessment of groundwater/surface water contamination.

I’ve noted some of these key revelations in bold blue font.

Read the report here:

http://www.journeyoftheforsaken.com/tiogajunctionpa.htm

Gas industry’s potential impact on the environment discussed at public hearing here

By DAVID THOMPSON dthompson@sungazette.com

POSTED: April 14, 2010

While few people are questioning the enormous economic impact of developing the natural gas resources in the Marcellus Shale, the gas industry’s potential impact on the environment is generating a lively debate.

That debate came to Lycoming College Tuesday during a public hearing by the state House Democratic Policy Committee.

The event, which mostly focused on environmental issues related to gas exploration, and to a lesser extent, the Chesapeake Bay, was co-chaired by state Reps. Rick Mirabito, D-Williamsport, and Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster.

Also sitting on the panel was state Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Lock Haven. Hanna said he supports a moratorium on leasing state land until the full impact of the gas industry is known.

A diverse group of speakers provided testimony regarding the Marcellus Shale during the near four-hour session.

Read it all here:

http://www.sungazette.com/page/content.detail/id/542033.html?nav=5011

Just a few Faces in Frackland

It is so easy to feel overwhelmed and powerless in this struggle to get the real story about drilling for natural gas into the eyes and ears of the residents in the areas where this is happening. For this reason I decided to take a larger step in getting closer to the truth.

This past weekend I took a trip to Washington County, PA to visit some of the folks in Hickory. This is the site of some of the very first hydro-fracked wells that existed in PA.After all, some of these wells went in back in 2005 so it seems that by this point they should all be millionaires living the good life, the economy should be well on the upturn with plenty of jobs…..at least this is what the gas industry keep telling us will be.

I have to say that isn’t quite how it’s gone down for the residents there.

I met with Ron Gulla who lost his 141 acre farm due to water pollution and dirty drilling practices by Range Resources.  Terry Greenwood and his wife are also farmers who have lost at least 7 cows due to contaminated pond and spring water. They are wondering when they might get sick too. Terry’s royalties are just enough to cover the cost of him meeting with his lawyer for 1 hour per month! He stuck in a perpetual lease signed in 1921.

Hickory Pa stinks…literally! Would you like to know what the smell of toluene, benzene, butane, ethane, propane and other NGL’s (natural gas liquids) smell like? Do you know what it’s like to go out your backdoor and walk 30 feet to the top of the ridge and get hit in the face with a blast of this stuff coming from a compressor station less than a mile from your house? Stephanie Hallowich sure does. After spending about 20 minutes in her yard I felt sick to my stomach and had a headache. I can’t imagine what it’s like to have to live there!

Wayne and Angel smith live near Clearville, PA and they’ve lost livestock as well as beloved pets due to contaminated drinking water. Both Angel and her husband Wayne are sick themselves. They’ve spent over $10,000.00 on a system to treat their water which they also use to water livestock. They hope this system is working on their water problems but what’s going to clean the air that is full of contaminates from a nearby gas storage facility? Both Spectra Energy and the DEP have been called out many times to test and view these issues and each time they have turned a blind eye to the problems in this valley.

For more information on any of these people and their stories please click on their names.

In the future you will be able to find all their faces at http://pafaces.wordpress.com/

We will post a new face and new story each day. If you have a situation that you want others to hear about please contact me through a comment on this blog or directly from the site below.

http://pafaces.wordpress.com/

Broad Scope of EPA’s Fracturing Study

by Abrahm Lustgarten, ProPublica – April 7, 2010 7:09 am EDT

A federal study of hydraulic fracturing [1] set to begin this spring is expected to provide the most expansive look yet at how the natural gas drilling process can affect drinking water supplies, according to interviews with EPA officials and a set of documents outlining [2] the scope of the project. The research will take a substantial step beyond previous studies and focus on how a broad range of ancillary activity – not just the act of injecting fluids under pressure – may affect drinking water quality.

The oil and gas industry strongly opposes this new approach. The agency’s intended research “goes well beyond relationships between hydraulic fracturing and drinking water,” said Lee Fuller, vice president of government affairs for the Independent Petroleum Association of America in comments [3] (PDF) he submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Read the rest here:

http://www.propublica.org/feature/broad-scope-of-epas-fracturing-study-raises-ire-of-gas-industry

Waterdog Advanced Training April 10th

Here is info for the rescheduled the Advanced Waterdog Training for April 10 from 9am – 1 pm at the Ives Run Facility.

Remember that you need to be signed up to take this course and you need to have completed the first Waterdog training.

Thanks

Heartbreaking Stories Warn New Yorkers of What May Be in Store if the State OKs Controversial Gas Drilling

Written by Maura Stephens

…Most of these Pennsylvanians told us they rue the day they signed the gas leases. Some of them “inherited” gas leases — or bought property on which there was a mineral rights lease they were unaware of — and now are paying the consequences.
Their stories were heartbreaking. This is some of what they told us, including several things not mentioned in other articles I’ve read about fracking:
1) There is no longer any privacy on their own property.
Posted signs are a thing of the past; there’s no way to guarantee that anyone would pay attention to them. The gas drillers have access to leased land 24/7, 365 days a year, because there is always something to deal with on a gas pad. The land owners no longer have privacy or the ability to walk at will on their own property. One woman told us she and her teenage daughter feel like prisoners in their home. They used to walk around in bathing suits or pajamas in the privacy of their 100-plus-acre farm. That’s no longer an option — they stay inside with the blinds drawn even on nice days because they never know when and where a stranger will be walking around the property.
2) The gas companies can pretty much do as they please.
There is no consultation with the landowners about placement or size of the pads, or the numerous roads that have to be cut into the property, or drainage fields, or pond sites, or planned building sites. One farmer, who had dreamed of this since his elder son’s birth in 1983, gave his son and new daughter-in-law three acres on which to build a house, on a lovely corner of his farm. The newlyweds were just about to begin building the home they’d designed when the gas company decided to drill on the very same spot. The family had no way of fighting the gas company, which refused to change its drilling location. The young man and his bride were forced to rent an apartment in town. Subsequently the drilling contaminated the well that provided drinking water to the family and farm animals. And although the site did not yield gas, the land is no longer usable for farming or placing a home. The farmer, incidentally, had bought the land in the early 1980s without realizing a gas company held mineral rights to it via a 1920s lien.
3) The gas companies do not respect the land.
The gas companies have in numerous documented cases torn out mature stands of trees — 20, 30, 60, 80 years old — leaving the tree carcasses scattered about the land. “These guys just don’t care,” one landowner told us, close to tears. “They treated my farm like a garbage dump. They moved their bowels in the woods and left their filthy toilet paper behind. They threw all their rubbish around — plastic bottles, McDonald’s bags, you name it. I used to always kept this place manicured. It’s been my pride and joy. But now, it’s a rubbish heap. I’m still finding junk they left around, long after the fracking ended.”
4) There’s light and noise nonstop.
“No amount of money can buy you sufficient sleep,” said a farmer. “It’s bright and loud, all the time. Not that I’d sleep anyway. All I do is worry about the land and the water and what we are going to do.”
5) Their property has lost its value.
“We can’t drink our water,” said the same farmer. “We can’t reclaim the land. They’re putting my farm out of business. The land is worthless. Nobody would want it, like this.”
6) They can no longer fish in their streams and ponds.
So many of these waterways have been poisoned by fracking waste, runoff, spillage, or dumping, that fishers are afraid to eat the fish they catch. One farmer, who told us he’d planned to stock his farm pond with seven varieties of fish that he would raise and sell to other landowners, has lost this income stream because his pond was polluted by fracking.
7) The water is dangerously unsafe.
“A primary reason we chose to live in this area,” says a woman from central New York, “is that is has abundant clean water. The western half or two-thirds of the United States, and the Southeast — the entire rest of the country — has precious little water. But we have always had plenty of fresh, safe, available water. Now we are threatened with gas fracturing, or ‘fracking.’ The contaminants released in the fracking process are carcinogenic (cancer-inducing) and even radioactive. Everyone around here depends on our wells for safe drinking water. Now how can we ever drink our water again? City water is no safer.”
To read the full blog, click here

http://chenangogreens.org/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=0&Itemid=70&limit=9&limitstart=18

DEP: Gas industry treatment behind discharge on hillside

This article came to me this morning from the RDA. About an hour after receiving it I also received some info form them on what “airfoam HD” is and what is in it. See after the article.
By PATRICK DONLIN – pdonlin@sungazette.com
POSTED: March 17, 2010

WATERVILLE – A substance used in the natural gas drilling process is discoloring and distorting the texture of spring water running off a Cummings Township sidehill. Cheryl Sinclair, a geologist for the state Department of Environmental Protection, was collecting suspicious water samples mid-day Tuesday along Route 44, one mile south of Waterville. The mysterious substance was seen flowing down the slope, under the road and into Pine Creek, said Daniel T. Spadoni, spokesman for DEP’s northcentral region office. Officials from another state agency alerted DEP…

Terming it a surfactant, Spadoni said a substance known as Airfoam HD was causing the water run-off to be unnatural in appearance…. Surfactant used to treat Pennsylvania General Energy wells affected the water run-off, which Spadoni said had nothing to do with hydrofracturing….They were using the whitening substance as a lubricant that lowers the surface tension between air and water, according to Spadoni…

“They’re attempting to determine what caused this problem and what actions they can take to stop it,” Spadoni said of energy company representatives, with whom DEP members have been communicating… The only precaution Spadoni recommended to residents is to avoid the suspicious spring water run-off in the area….

“I don’t think you would want to drink this discharge,” he said.

The substance leaking down the hill isn’t listed as dangerous on a Material Safety Data Sheet, according to Spadoni.

“We don’t know for sure what its chemical composition is,” Spadoni said.

To read the full article and view all photos, click here:

http://www.sungazette.com/page/content.detail/id/540787.html?nav=5011

Some might ask:
(1) if we don’t know the chemical composition, how can we know if it is or is not on the Material Safety Data Sheet and is or is not dangerous?
(2) how to get the word out to illiterate wildlife and aquatic organisms not to drink from this stream.

From Damascus Citizens for Sustainability

2-Butoxylethanol (2-BE) is a foaming agent used for natural gas production and is proven to cause cancer in animals. 2-BE is a primary component of AirFoam HD, a product that has been found on drilling pads in Pennsylvania — the MSDS sheets for Air Foam HD state that is dissolves in water and that chronic exposure causes cancer.   Testing for 2-BE costs over $100 per test, and the cost burden is on the landholder — the DEP has failed to test for drilling or fracking chemicals in their standard tests which are only performed when landowners report problems in their water supply, not before the problems occur.  Residents who will soon have natural gas production occuring in their region or upstream from their groundwater supply must hire an independent water testing company to do a “baseline test” to show the lack of contaminants prior to the drilling.  Without a baseline test, it is more difficult to convict a drilling operator for water contamination – the drilling operator can claim that there is no proof that the contaminant was not in the groundwater supply prior to the drilling.

From TEDX

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs)
MSDSs are designed to inform those who handle, ship, and use the products about their physical and chemical
characteristics, and their direct and/or immediate health effects, in order to prevent injury while working with
the products.  The sheets are also designed to inform emergency response crews in case of accidents or spills.
The total reported composition of a product on an MSDS can be less than 0.1% up to 100%. MSDSs are not
submitted to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for review. The product
manufacturers determine what is revealed on their MSDSs.
The health information on MSDSs most often warns of possible harm to the skin and eyes, gastrointestinal and
respiratory tracts, followed by the nervous system and brain. Many MSDSs do not address the outcome of long
term, intermittent or chronic exposures, or adverse health effects that may not be expressed until years after the
exposure.

RDA comment

2-Butoxylethanol (2-BE) is one of the nastier things the drilling industry uses, It is soluble in water, vaporizes in air, and is taken up through the skin. It can cause a very specific adrenal tumor linked to its exposure. According to Theo Colborn at the Endocrine Disruption Exchange, it is implicated in a wide variety of health effects in most systems of the body and should be handled with great care.  Studies have indicated there is no known level of dilution where 2-BE doesn’t have effect on organisms. You can download the spread sheet at the link below.

http://www.endocrinedisruption.com/chemicals.fracturing.php

Basic Waterdog Training

Here’s a note from Erica about the next basic Waterdog training. Don’t forget to register for this class; they would rather not have walk-ins.

The next Basic Waterdog Training will be held on March 23 from 7 pm – 9 pm at the North Campus of Penn College.    You can either call or email me to register for the training!

Thanks

Erica Tomlinson

Watershed Specialist

Tioga County Conservation District

570-724-1801 ext 118

SRBC’S REAL-TIME WATER QUALITY DATA AVAILABLE ONLINE

Water Managers and Public Can Track if Streams Are Impacted by Pollution

HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) today announced that real-time data from six initial remote water quality monitoring stations are now available on SRBC’s web site at www.srbc.net/programs/remotenetwork.htm.  A user-friendly map, graphs and charts are key features for viewing and understanding the data.

SRBC is deploying water quality monitoring stations in regions where natural gas drilling in the Marcellus shale is most active, as well as other locations where no drilling activities are planned so SRBC can collect control-data.

SRBC’s remote water quality monitoring network continuously measures and reports water quality conditions of smaller rivers and streams in northern tier Pennsylvania and southern tier New York to track existing water quality conditions and any changes in them on an ongoing, real-time basis.

“The Commission is committed to applying good science to monitor water quality conditions in the Susquehanna basin,” said SRBC Executive Director Paul Swartz.  “The use of advanced technology through these monitoring stations is making it possible for us to generate the data needed to determine whether or not water quality impacts are occurring from various activities, including natural gas drilling.”

Five of the initial monitoring stations are located in Pennsylvania on Meshoppen Creek near Kaiserville in Wyoming County, Sugar Creek near Troy and Tomjack Creek near Burlington in Bradford County, Hammond Creek near Millerton in Tioga County and Trout Run near Shawville in Clearfield County.  The sixth station is located on Choconut Creek near Vestal Center in Broome County, New York.

Each monitoring station is equipped with water quality sensors and a transmitter to continuously report water temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity (water clarity), water depth and conductance (ability to conduct electricity).  Elevated levels of conductance in water can be a leading indicator of impacts from natural gas activities if they occur.

SRBC receives the data collected by the network then makes it available to other resource agencies and the public through its web site.  The monitoring network will provide early warnings to help environmental protection officials respond more rapidly and better pinpoint causes if water quality conditions change.  It will also help local public water suppliers, local watershed groups and communities stay informed.

SRBC will continue installing additional stations in Pennsylvania and New York and making data available on the web site.  Thirty (30) total stations are planned by summer 2010.  More stations will follow this fall as a result of additional funding commitments SRBC has received.

The Harrisburg-based SRBC (www.srbc.net) was established under an interstate compact signed on December 24, 1970 by the federal government and New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland to manage the water resources of the 27,510-square-mile Susquehanna River Basin.  The Susquehanna River starts in Cooperstown, N.Y., and flows 444 miles to Havre de Grace, Md., where the river meets the Chesapeake Bay.

Energy & Commerce Committee Investigates Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing

Chairman Henry A. Waxman and Subcommittee Chairman Edward Markey today sent letters to eight oil and gas companies that use hydraulic fracturing to extract oil and natural gas from unconventional sources in the United States. The Committee is requesting information on the chemicals used in fracturing fluids and the potential impact of the practice on the environment and human health….

To read the full article, click here.

http://energycommerce.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1896:energy-a-commerce-committee-investigates-potential-impacts-of-hydraulic-fracturing&catid=122:media-advisories&Itemid=55

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