DEP should be ashamed of itself

Somebody please tell me WHY they gas industry is still drilling when we have all these problems popping up!?!?! Helen Humphrys comment about “a real challenge” is a terribly understated comment about polluted water!  I have been reading about the DEP’s findings and they are slowly realizing that they are going to have to create some new regulations and maybe change a couple of the old ones…and that will take effect in 2011, 2012. So what happens until then? What about the waste water from the drilling sites now?
At this point the DEP needs to step in and say NO DRILLING until this is resolved. I don’t understand why all of these public offices are treating the gas companies like we own them something. We don’t owe them anything! They owe the land owners and the state of PA and since the budget was signed with no severance tax we’re not even going to get that much out of them. If these companies want to continue to drill here then they should have to pay for all the waste water treatment facilities, all the water monitoring stations, heck they can pay for the state to hire more workers to keep tabs on all of this! If they want to drill here and take a resource that is going to make money for them then they should have to take the time and energy to make sure all the requirements are being met and the problem there lies in the the state of PA. PA has terrible regulations for their water and state land and as these problems arise they have done practically nothing to amend those regulations to make sure our water and forests are preserved and healthy. They’ll do but it will be too late. There is an awful lot of contamination that is going on and can go on between the start of the major drilling, about year ago, and 2012 when the new regulations actually take effect.
Okay, that’s my rant for the day. I used it up before noon…crap.
Levels of total dissolved solids spike in Monongahela
Thursday, October 15, 2009
By Don Hopey, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

For the third time in the past 12 months, dissolved contaminants in the Monongahela River have spiked well above federal and state water quality standards for taste and odor, and the situation is expected to get worse.

The state Department of Environmental Protection announced yesterday that high levels of total dissolved solids, or TDS, in the river began showing up two weeks ago near the town of Crucible in Greene County. Since then, additional violations of the 500 parts per million TDS standard have been recorded in 46 miles of the river to Elizabeth in Allegheny County, where levels peaked on Saturday at about 600 parts per million.

“This is the second time we’ve noted high TDS levels this fall and that’s telling us that this is a problem,” said DEP spokeswoman Helen Humphreys. “We’ll be continuing to monitor the situation, but there’s no reason to think that levels will not go higher again. There’s no question we have a challenge before us.”

Last fall TDS levels exceeded water quality standards in more than 90 miles of the river and peaked at more than 900 parts per million.

The Monongahela River is the water supply for 350,000 people and the 11 public water treatment facilities that draw water from the river are not equipped to remove TDS, which is a measure of all elements dissolved in water, including carbonates, chlorides, sulfates, nitrates, sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium.

For most, high TDS levels will make the water smell and taste bad and spot dishes and glasses but do not make an affected water source unsafe to drink. But individuals allergic to sulfates can be sickened, and the DEP has once again advised concerned residents to use bottled water for drinking and cooking until river flows increase and TDS levels return to normal.

Sources of TDS include sewage treatment plants, drainage from abandoned and active mines, power plant scrubber and coolant water discharges and wastewater from oil and gas well drilling operations.

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