Is the Gas Industry Spreading Brine on Our Roads?

Hi all. Here are some responses to the question of brine being spread on dirt roads. If you have any further info on this topic from DEP, DCNR or PennDOT please get in touch with the PA forest Coalition. They are the ones providing this info in this form. There is contact info fro Dick Martin of the PA Forest Coalition at the bottom of this post.

July 8, 2010  –  Reference to a  2005 news report:

http://www.thepittsburghchannel.com/news/5334068/detail.html

Questions:

  • Is brine still being spread on dirt roads in Pennsylvania?
  • Are there restrictions, now that the brine could be from Marcellus drilling (with the fracking chemicals included in the flowback water).

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2 ] Initial responses

  • Brine water is being applied to control dust on dirt road in PA.
  • The permit is limited to shallow gas well wastewater
  • Wastewater from deep Marcellus wells that are horizontally drilled is NOT permitted to be road –applied.            JimApparently, road application of gas drilling wastewater is:

  • Limited to certain waste fluids for rural
    dust control and winter maintenance
  • DEP approval required
    Road authorization
    Chemical analysis of brine
    Limited application rates and frequency (monthly)
  • Other factors

– weather,

location of water bodies (150’),

road gradient (<10%)

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3 ]   From Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Studies

From: Tim Ziegler
Sent: Friday, July 09, 2010 10:44 AM
Subject: RE: Brine on dirt roads


The 2005 article exposes truths.

The ESM training for the Dirt and Gravel Road Program discusses brines in the Stabilization module, and these issues are included in that discussion.  However, the animal is bigger than we have influence over.

The Program will not fund any project that includes the use of
brine water.

Marcellus flow-back, however, has not received DEP approval for road dust control, due in large part to the chemical concoction that goes down-hole, as well as the heavy metals and the NORM.

Overall, not a good situation, but this is PA.

Tim Ziegler
Field Operations Specialist
Larson Transportation Institute
Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Studies
201 Transportation Research Building
University Park, PA  16802
814-865-5891
www.dirtandgravelroads.org

4 ] From DCNR

Subject: RE: Brine on BOF Roads
Date: 7/20/2010 9:17:38 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time
From: ra-forestrecreation@state.pa.us

Hello Mr. Martin,

The Bureau of Forestry does not permit the use of brine on BOF roads.

5 ]  Questions remain

If you see a truck spreading what appears to be brine on a dirt road,

  • how can you tell if it is legal brine or residual waste from the
    Macellus?
  • What should a Waterdog do?
  • Why shouldn’t trucks hauling Marcellus residual waste be properly
    labeled with the appropriate hazardous materials placard(s)?
  • Have the Waterdogs called for such requirements?
  • Have the Waterdogs written any officials asking for any changes to gas production regulations?        John Kesich

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

.  .  .  So it appears that there are some regulations in place, via DEP, DCNR, PennDOT or municipalities.

One Biologist is planning a research project in Sproul State Forest, Clinton County.  Soil will be tested where water trucks have been seen spraying fluids on Forestry roads.

It would be good if that research were replicated wherever Marcellus wells are located.    Any takers?

Dick Martin Coordinator     www.PaForestCoalition.org

The Pennsylvania Forest Coalition is a unique alliance of hunters, hikers, anglers, landowners, wildlife-watchers, paddlers, bikers, churches and conservation groups who are united in our concern for the good stewardship of our public lands. Caring for what God has created

Republicans for Environmental Protection
http://www.repamerica.org/

Gas vs Wine

In New York state’s Marcellus Shale region the Keuka Wine Trail may soon get a new neighbor: a disposal facility for toxic brine flowback from natural gas drilling. In his latest column about drilling in the Marcellus Shale formation, journalist Peter Mantius of Burdett writes that local government officials may face tough calls over which to favor: the natural gas industry or the wine industry….

To read the article, click here

http://www.odessafile.com/features-Mantius7.html

Marcellus Shale Coalition Releases the Facts on Flowback Water Treatment

CANONSBURG, Pa., Feb. 4 /PRNewswire/ — The Marcellus Shale Coalition today issued the following statement to provide the facts regarding water use and flowback water management in the development of natural gas from the Marcellus formation: “Pennsylvanians deserve to get the facts about water management for Marcellus Shale development.  We need to put an end to the suppositions that could threaten our state’s ability to create jobs and investment here at home. “Regulations governing the use and management of water needed to drill a Marcellus Shale well in Pennsylvania are among the most stringent in the nation, and ensure the protection of the Commonwealth’s water resources.  Water withdrawals from streams and rivers must be approved, including the withdrawal location and amount of water required for each well, as well as detailed storage and treatment plans. …

Some might ask how stringent are the regulations, and are they stringent enough. One of the regulatory agency representatives at a recent Marcellus Shale public meeting, said federal regulations are stronger than those in PA, but the feds only regulate a small portion of gas industry activities.

“The industry currently treats or recycles all of its flowback water. Recycling accounts for approximately 60 percent of the water used to complete Marcellus Shale wells, with greater percentages predicted for the future.  There are more than a dozen approved water treatment facilities available to treat flowback water, with plans for additional capacity in the future …

Some might ask what the nature of the treated or recycled end product actually is. How much of the original toxic materials and total dissolved solids (TDS) are removed by the treatment, and are ALL the permitted treatment facilities producing the same end product before discharge? Are some discharging only partly treated – or even untreated – fluid?  Is discharging any of the treated fluid into a waterway, injecting it deep into an abandoned well or burying it in a landfill environmentally benign and of no risk to public health? Also, given the number of wells currently producing flowback fluid, is a dozen treatment facilities adequate to protect the environment and public health?

“Claims about elevated levels of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) in the Monongahela River from natural gas development have been refuted by studies that attribute a minimal amount of the total TDS levels to Marcellus Shale drilling activity. In fact, historical monitoring shows the variability of TDS levels in the Monongahela and other rivers to be a cyclical phenomenon over the past 30 years. …
Some might say that TDS is a scientifically-established environmental pollutant, known to damage freshwater aquatic organisms, endanger public health, interfere with potable water supplier’s services and with industries using water. They might ask whether adding more TDS to the Monongahela – or to any waterway – makes sense, regardless of whether the TDS comes from gas drilling activities or from some other source.
To read the entire press release, click here:

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/marcellus-shale-coalition-releases-the-facts-on-flowback-water-treatment-83561557.html

For those unfamiliar with what the Marcellus Shale Coalition is, click here: http://www.pamarcellus.com/