Marcellus Shale Webinar Series

Marcellus Shale Webinar Series Continues on Dec. 19 (Gant Daily) — An ongoing series of monthly, Web-based seminars addressing issues surrounding Pennsylvania’s Marcellus shale natural-gas boom will continue through the winter.

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Getting the water in your well tested?

If you are having a gas well put in on your property, I hope you are also having the water in your well tested prior to any drilling. Despite the costly manner of having your well water tested I would say that it should be a mandatory procedure. A basic test can be anywhere from $300.00 to $1,000.00. If you live next to someone else who is having a well put on their property you should also seriously consider having your well water tested.

There has been some discussion and worries about what sort of metals of chemicals and toxins should be tested for and who should/can to do the tests. Seewald laboratories out of Williampsort, PA offers well water testing that covers all the basic tests AND the procedures used by Seewald to test the water are acceptable and will hold up in a court of law. If you are using some of the other “mom & pop” testing companies who may not always follow all the correct procedures, such as “chain of custody”, or doing it yourself (which can be much more affordable – $80.00) the chances of the test being useful for a court case is pretty insignificant. The phone number for Seewald is 570.326.4001. If you think the chance of needing to take the gas company drilling on your land, or your neighbors, is not likely, check out this link.

http://www.topix.com/com/cog

Penn State Cooperative Extention has published this, which you might find useful if you are wanting more information about water well contamination, what’s in the ground that can get in your well and water testing.

http://resources.cas.psu.edu/WaterResources/pdfs/gasdrilling.pdf

Tioga County Gas Exploration Map

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=109081933932637779023.00046dcc7610bfd716aaa&ll=41.828642,-77.102051&spn=0.553599,1.336212&z=10

Check out this map of the gas wells in our area, compliments of Google maps.

Regulations? What Regulations?

This is a such a bunch of bulls*@t! I cannot believe for one minute that these companies don’t have the means or the abilities to find out what the state regulations in PA are for drilling and maintaining their well pads! If they don’t know, then they need to find out BEFORE THEY DRILL! Don’t try to tell me they didn’t know there were some sort of regulations. It’s not like this is a new industry (like Rendell and a lot of other shoddy politicians want us to believe). These guys have been doing this for years now and they know better than to assume they can do whatever they want and tear up whatever they need without the right permits and paper work, but they are doing it that way and getting away with a lot of it! Sure, we fine them after we find out they went beyond the 5 acres, etcetera. In the meantime they have destroyed an area that will take years to recover and become a field or forest again. But hey, it’s all worth it for the short-sightedness of greed and what we can have right now!

CLEARFIELD – Marcellus Shale wells are not a dead issue in Clearfield County.
At Monday’s Conservation District meeting, Conservation Technician Fred Berry said there has been an increase in gas well drilling activity. He said some of the companies are from Texas, Utah and Louisiana and are not familiar with state and federal regulations.
Berry said he has been working to get these companies into voluntary compliance. He said some of these operations have more than five acres total of land disturbance. According to the state regulations, any operation which disturbs five or more acres of land must have an erosion and sedimentation control plan.
This total acreage of disturbance includes pipelines, well pads, and access roads. Berry said there were other regulations in place, such as setbacks for well pads and access roads from wetlands and streams.
Berry said there was at least one company operating in the county which is under a stop order issued by the state Department of Environmental Protection. He said this company was issued the order for storing potentially contaminated fill materials and encroaching on wetlands.
Berry said on a more positive note, the county is seeing several spin-off jobs which have resulted from the gas well drilling. He said one local company has been supplying pipe line materials, while another has been providing tanks to store the “frac water,” which is a brine and chemical mixture. The mixture is forced into the drill site and is used to fracture or “frac” the layers of shale that is trapping the deposits of natural gas. The gas escapes through the cracks in the rock and is collected in the pipelines. The Marcellus Shale wells are constructed using both vertical and horizontal drilling practices.
According to previously-published Courier-Express articles, once the water has been used, the gas companies recover between 20-80 percent of the frac water which must be taken to specialized water-treatment plants. The frac water cannot be treated in a typical water-treatment plant. A lack of frac water treatment plants as well as a drop in natural gas prices put a temporary hold on the predicted “boom” of Marcellus Shale gas wells.
Berry said as the well activity increases, the conservation district will continue to work to make sure the drilling companies are brought into voluntary compliance.
“Our door is always open and they (gas companies) can always call us with questions,” Berry said. “We would rather work with the companies before there’s a violation, rather than after an encroachment or an erosion problem occurs.”
However, permitting and on-site inspection of the wells falls under the jurisdiction of the DEP.
“It’s scary because the state took it (the permitting) from the districts and gave it to DEP. Then DEP took all those cuts (in the state budget),” Board member and County Commissioner Joan Robinson-McMillen said.
Residents and hunters are urged to contact DEP if they notice any gas wells that appear to be in violation.
Also at the meeting, the district voted to approve an additional donation of $100 to the state Envirothon and the management summit contract.

Reported by Kimberly Finnigan, staff writer, E-mail: kfinnigan@thecourierexpress.com

NCRO Weekly Report

NORTHCENTRAL REGIONAL OFFICE-WILLIAMSPORT

WEEK OF NOVEMBER 9-13, 2009

Issues Requiring the Governor’s (or Governor’s staff) ACTION

 

Nothing new to report

 

Issues Requiring the Governor’s (or Governor’s staff) ATTENTION

 

Nothing new to report

 

Management and Productivity

 

Nothing new to report

Recovery Activities

 

Nothing new to report

 

What’s Hot/Major Actions

Chesapeake Appalachia LLC, Oregon Township, Wayne County: Chesapeake Appalachia LLC submitted partial sample results to the Oil and Gas program on Nov. 4 detailing operations at the Robson well pad.  NERO Environmental Cleanup program staff met on-site with Chesapeake on Nov. 5 to discuss further sampling requirements and site characterization needs.  The rock material that was salvaged from the pad as part of the required restoration process will remain on the property until it is determined that there are not any impacts associated with the material.  NERO Environmental Cleanup staff is providing guidance on the proper administrative procedures to achieve Act 2 compliance.  Oil and Gas program staff sent Chesapeake a notice of violation letter for the release.  (John Ryder 570-327-0533)

Penns Valley School District Biomass Project, Spring Mills, Centre County: On Nov. 10, OETD Manager Dave Shimmel and Air Quality Permit Chief Muhammad Zaman met with the Penns Valley School District facilities director and its consultant, Blazosky Associates, to discuss the requirements for submitting a competent Air Quality plan approval application.  The meeting was arranged to ensure that Penns Valley will not have more delays in its application process.  The Penns Valley project is for the construction of a biomass (wood chip) boiler that will be used to heat three buildings on the school district campus.  It also includes constructing a new power plant to house the wood chip fired boiler.  About 84,000 gallons of No. 2 fuel oil will be eliminated at the high school and 348,000 kilowatt hours of electricity will be eliminated to heat the elementary school. This will save more than $200,000 per year for the school district at current energy rates.  (Dave Shimmel, 570-327-3568)

Tennessee Gas Pipeline, Potter, Tioga, Bradford, Susquehanna, Wayne and Pike Counties: On Nov. 9, the Watershed Management Program accepted an NPDES/Chapter 102 permit application and a Chapter 105/Water Obstruction and Encroachment permit application for Tennessee Gas Pipeline’s proposed 300 Line expansion project.  The NCRO will take the lead on these reviews and coordinate with the respective county conservation district offices, NERO and the Army Corps of Engineers, who will be reviewing its own Nationwide Permit application for this project.  The applications did have some administrative deficiencies and the applicant was notified of these.  The applications will be assigned so technical reviews can begin.  (John Twardowski 570-321-6523)

Bionol Clearfield LLC, Clearfield Borough, Clearfield County: The Environmental Cleanup program received progress reports this week from the certified installer and inspector on this large aboveground storage tank installation project.  Bionol, its engineering firm, Fagan Engineering, and tank installer, Brown Tank, were cited by DEP on Oct. 8 when it was determined that 12 regulated tanks had been installed at the facility without using a Pennsylvania certified tank installer.  Bionol has since retained the services of the appropriately certified individuals who report satisfactory progress.  Hydrostatic testing of the tanks, the final step in the installation process, is scheduled to begin the end of this month.  (Steve Webster 570-327-3657)

Waste Vehicle Inspections, Wayne Township Landfill, Clinton County: On Nov. 4-5, Waste Management program staff, along with the Pa. State Police, conducted a waste vehicle operational and safety inspection at the Wayne Township landfill.  There were 108 vehicles inspected by DEP staff during the two day event, with 19 violations discovered on 12 vehicles. There were five violations for not having proper signs, three violations for not having a daily operational log, three violations for leaking loads, three violations for not having a PPC plan, two violations for not having the load properly enclosed, one violation for not having a fire extinguisher, one violation for being overweight, and one violation for not having safety/spill equipment. Ten field notice of violations and two written warnings were issued. The assessments for the violations will range from $100 to $1,500 per violation.  (James Greene 570-327-0536)

Potential Problems/Potential Major Actions

 

Emergency Response, Lawrence Township, Clearfield County: On Nov. 10, DEP Emergency Response Team member Jim Green responded to a truck accident that closed Interstate 80 westbound in Lawrence Township.  The truck was hauling 20 drums of hydroxy xyethylacrylate, an inhalation hazard, and 10 drums of Diethylaniline, an inhalation/corrosive hazard.  Green worked with Clearfield County Emergency Management Agency and Eagle Towing and Recovery.  They determined that the drums had not leaked and the only release was diesel fuel.  The load was transferred, contaminated soil excavated, and the road re-opened.  The incident was referred to the Environmental Cleanup program for follow-up.  (Gerald McKernan 570-327-3722)

Emergency Response, Mansfield Borough, Tioga County: On Nov. 10, DEP staff investigated a tank truck accident that closed Route 15 just north of Mansfield.  The tank truck was reported to be transporting fracking fluids for the gas well industry.  DEP staff determined that the truck was empty and the only environmental damage was lube oil from the tractor.  The incident was referred to the Environmental Cleanup program for follow-up.  (Gerald McKernan 570-327-3722)

 

Good News/Major Accomplishments

 

Pickelner Fuel Company Inc., City of Lock Haven, Clinton County: On Nov. 3, the Environmental Cleanup program finalized a $15,000 civil penalty with Pickelner Fuel Co. Inc. to settle violations of the Storage Tank and Spill Prevention Act.  The penalty was issued because the facility had failed to conduct tank or piping leak detection for 12 consecutive months for the facility’s five underground storage tanks.  This is the third time these violations have occurred at this facility.  (Steve Webster 570-327-3657)

 

Resilite Sports Products, Upper Augusta Township, Northumberland County: On Nov. 6, the Environmental Cleanup program acknowledged receipt of a Remedial Action Completion Report that documents the company’s efforts in response to the 1986 discovery of a release of methyl ethyl ketone, methyl isobutyl ketone, and acetone.  Resilite has operated at this location for nearly 50 years manufacturing and refurbishing athletic mats.  The release occurred from underground piping associated with two above ground tanks, a leaking underground tank and distribution system, and spills from the filling of the tanks.  Between September 1987 and December 1988, a groundwater containment/recovery system was installed and operated until June 2006.  Quarterly sampling of the groundwater since deactivation of the treatment system has shown all contaminants of concern to be well below the residential Statewide Health Standards.  Resilite conducted the cleanup effort voluntarily and chose not to participate in the Act 2 program.  (Larry Newcomer 570-327-3418)

 

Outreach/Upcoming Events

 

Water and Wastewater Energy Training for Decision-Makers, University Park, Centre County: OETD Manager Dave Shimmel joined several Local Development District (LDD) representatives and two persons from Penn State’s College of Earth and Mineral Sciences on a teleconference Nov. 10 to continue program development on a 90-minute energy training module for water and wastewater treatment plant board members, supervisors and others responsible for making decisions on energy efficiency in their operations. NWRO and NCRO have been training operators through a partnership with the Pa. Rural Water Association in a day long workshop developed by NWRO OETD.  This is an extension of that effort with the intent to use a multiple approach to reach those treatment plant individuals who decide whether capital expenditures will be made.  The workshop will be taped at Penn State studios to ensure a high quality video. It will be located on Penn State servers to provide fast streaming capabilities as well.  There will be DVDs of the video mailed as well.  The plan is to also offer the workshop on a live basis with presenters traveling to various LDD locations to make evening presentations. Conference call attendees included SEDA-COG, Northeast Pa. Alliance and Southern Alleghenies.  (Dave Shimmel 570-327-3568)

Act 2

Pecha Trucking Act 2 Site, Pine Township, Clearfield County: On Nov. 9, the Environmental Cleanup program approved an Act 2 Final Report for the Pecha Trucking accident involving a release of 50 to 80 gallons of diesel fuel from a tractor trailer that occurred on Aug. 1.  The fuel was discharged to the roadway and soil along Interstate 80. Eagle Towing and Recovery excavated about 50 tons of contaminated soil and sent the soil to a landfill.  Post-excavation soil sample results indicated that the diesel fuel compounds of concern were below DEP’s Statewide Health Standards for a residential setting. Taylor GeoServices completed the reporting requirements under Act 2.  This site received a relief of liability for soil under the Statewide Health Standard.  (Randy Farmerie 570-327-3716)

Former Penn Natural Gas Holder/Regulator Station Act 2 Site, Muncy Borough, Lycoming County: On Nov. 2, a contractor for UGI/Penn Natural Gas conducted remediation activities at a former natural gas holder/regulator station located in Muncy Borough.  The site is one of six included in a multi-site agreement between DEP and UGI/Penn Natural Gas  An NIR for remediation to a Statewide Health Standard for lead in soil was submitted on Oct. 31, 2007.  During site characterization that year, a 30 foot by 10 foot area of lead-contaminated soil was discovered where an aboveground storage tank had been located.  The contamination is believed to be the result of lead based paint; although the area contained fill that included cinders, coal ash and concrete, which may have been the source of lead.  Remediation consisted of excavating 52 tons of soil, backfilling with clean soil, and re-grading of the site.  Post-excavation samples confirmed that the soil left in place contains no lead above Act 2 Statewide Health Standards. (Larry Newcomer 570-327-3418)

NPDES Majors Backlog Status

 

Number of Overdue Permits-0

Number of Permits Issued This Week-0

Number of Permits Newly Expired This Week-0

(Chad Miller 570-327-3639)

 

Items for the DEP Planning Calendar

 

EPA Chesapeake Bay TMDL Public Meeting

Nov. 18 at 5 p.m.

Genetti Hotel–Williamsport

Upper Middle Susquehanna River Water Resources Committee Public Meeting

Nov. 19 at 1 p.m.

NCRO

 

EPA Chesapeake Bay TMDL Public Meeting

Nov. 19 at 2 p.m.

Toftrees Resort and Conference Center

(Daniel Spadoni 570-327-359)

 

Taking Cabot to Court

http://www.startribune.com/business/70652327.html?elr=KArks:DCiU1OiP:DiiUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aUU

Here is a bit of a follow up article from the Star Tribune about the folks who have the water pollution problems in Dimock, PA. Note that the same company, Cabot Oil & Gas, that had the spills in the Dunkard Creek area is the culprit here as well. (This company just seems to be terrible at what they do…) Much of the problem extends from the land owners not being aware of the possibility of gas migrations into their wells or homes, in part because the gas company choose to leave that important bit of information out of their spiel when encouraging land owners to sign leases. Who’s at fault? The gas company for not explaining and disclosing this info or the land owners for not being better educated about what drilling for natural gas entails? Whatever is decided, the people of Dimock, PA are most likely due some sort of retribution. I find it frustrating that a price tag can be placed on the value of people’s health and homes and that these companies have no problem paying folks off if they can. (Go check out  Split Estate if you haven’t yet) Honestly, I think Cabot Oil & Gas needs to throw in the towel and go find some other business to venture in. They seem to be wrought with problems due to negligence, greed and incompetence in everything they do! I mean, if you can’t get the ball in the hoop, don’t play basketball for a living.

Cornell Cooperative Extension Natural Gas Development Resource

http://gasleasing.cce.cornell.edu/index.html

This site provided by Cornell Cooperative Extension Natural Gas Development Resource Center has a lot of good info on it. Most of the events are old but the info about them is still there and as you scroll down the page there are links to other resources as well as explanations of answers to a lot of the questions that local residents have. If you are just starting to get involved with educating yourself or others on this topic it’s a great site to check out.