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).

==============================

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%)

===================================

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/

Increased Gas Drilling Activities Bringing New Challenges to Local Governments in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa., May 24, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Counties and municipalities across Pennsylvania where natural gas drilling is taking place — particularly in the Northern Tier region — are also struggling to meet a number of additional challenges associated with the industry’s increased presence and rapid growth, according to state officials. PennDOT Secretary Allen D. Biehler, P.E. and Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank Pawlowski today said that in the wake of the drilling, there have been increases in truck traffic, traffic violations, crime, demand for social services, and the number of miles of roads that are in need of repairs. 

According to Biehler, hundreds of miles of secondary roads in Pennsylvania’s northern tier have been damaged or even rendered impassable because of heavy truck traffic associated with drilling activities. While drilling companies have committed to repairing roads they use, Biehler said, their efforts have not kept pace with the damage in a number of cases. “The high volume of heavy truck traffic carrying water, equipment and chemicals to drilling sites has caused extensive damage to secondary roads and even some primary roads,” Biehler said, noting … we’ve had to close roads and revoke a drilling company’s permit to use those roads because repairs were not made in a timely manner. The condition of some of these roads has made travel a safety concern.”

PennDOT has ordered drilling companies to post bonds for 1,711 miles of roads and that number is expected to double this year….  State Police Commissioner Pawlowski attributed much of the road damage to overweight trucks serving the gas industry. He cited a Feb. 9 enforcement effort in  Susquehanna County that found 56 percent of 194 trucks checked were found to be over the weight limit. Fifty percent of those trucks were also cited for safety violations….

“More and more, it seems the police reports coming out of the northern tier include arrests because of drug use and trafficking, fights involving rig workers, DUIs, and weapons being brought into the state and not registered properly,” said the commissioner. “We’ve even encountered situations where drilling company employees who have been convicted of a sexual assault in another state come here to work and do not register with our Megan’s Law website…. 

Boldness must arise locally to save roads

This issue is just one of many that will arise. Classic freeze/thaw cycles in PA already compromise our secondary and tertiary roads without heavy truck traffic. Many of these roads have 10 ton weight limit bridges as well as weight limitations for the roads themselves, and much of the truck traffic greatly exceeds those limits. Not only does the question of “who will pay to fix these roads” come up again and again but the quality to which they are fixed may become an issue. Elk Run Road in Gaines, PA is being attended to daily by the company whose trucks destroyed the road. The gas company’s trucks, with a high clearance and/or 4-wheel drive, might be able to manage this fix of gravel and muck but the people who live on this road are struggling to get their every day vehicles in and out.

Published: March 14, 2010

It’s nearly spring and the secondary roads here are in poor shape. Some of the main roads, as well. It’s an annual occurrence. But, this year there is a dramatic difference More roads are in far worse shape than perhaps ever before, in large part because of the battering from heavy trucks, many of which are in the area tending to the burgeoning natural gas industry….

Inconvenience is an issue for motorists, of course. But far more important is safety for drivers. Safety for cars, safety for small trucks, safety for school buses carting children, and safety for big trucks, farm equipment and other vehicles.

Residents were warned about such looming hardships two years ago by county commissioners who saw early on some of the pros and cons of the natural gas boom resulting from exploitation of the Marcellus Shale play under Bradford County.

But, no one foresaw such a rapid expansion of prospecting and drilling – and infrastructure deterioration. Oversight, direction, regulation, control all lagged while the county was being transformed for better or for worse. Virtually all the mineral rights in Bradford County have been leased to gas companies, according to the Shirley Rockefeller, county register and recorder. Permits for 430 wells were issued by the state Department of Environmental Protection in 2009 for Bradford County alone, and 113 new wells were drilled. The rapid pace continues this year with 29 more drilling permits issued in January, second in the state only to Tioga County.

Plans for pipelines to transport the gas to markets are in the works. PennDOT, which only last week warned of a regional problem, says more than 60 roads in the county have been posted with weight restrictions. It is hard-pressed to keep up.

Behemoths lumber down the highways, some oversized, some overweight and, in too many cases, going too fast. They include 5,500 gallon and larger water tankers, flat beds to haul equipment, and dump trucks to haul material, all of which clog the roads, and grind the pavement. Crashes are more and more common. State police are levying unheard of fines for illegal loads running in the tens of thousands of dollars.

The roads, especially the secondary and tertiary roads are being pounded and pulverized into pot holes, gullies and broken shoulders. Driving is a hazard. Residents are growing impatient, even angry. Township supervisors and other municipal officials are at wits end.

It’s a crisis….

To read the full article, click here:

http://thedailyreview.com/opinion/boldness-must-arise-locally-to-save-roads-1.678530

PennDOT Closing Elk Run Road to Gas Well Traffic

PennDOT is advising motorists in Tioga County that State Route 3001
(Elk Run Road) in Gaines Township is being temporarily closed to gas
well traffic due to severe deterioration.

The road is open to local traffic only until repairs are made.

Responsible parties are being contacted to facilitate repairs to restore
the roadway to a safe and passable condition for the traveling public.

This road carries a year-round, 10-ton weight restriction.