Gas Bubbling from the Susquehanna River

http://74.95.82.237:591/rconline/FMPro?-db=RCOnline.fp5&-format=record_detail.html&-Lay=Detail&CurrentRecordID=12635350&-find

Gas Bubbling from River at Sugar Run – by David Keeler – 9/2/2010

Click here for video clip

DEP Issues Industrial Wastewater Discharge Permit to Williamsport’s TerrAqua Resource Management

First New Permit for Treating Drilling Wastewater to Be Issued in West Branch Susquehanna River Watershed.

WILLIAMSPORT — The Department of Environmental Protection today issued a system industrial wastewater discharge permit to TerrAqua Resource Management LLC of Williamsport that allows the company to treat and discharge 400,000 gallons per day of gas well drilling wastewater.

“This is the first new permit issued in the West Branch Susquehanna River watershed for treating gas well drilling wastewater,” said DEP Northcentral Regional Director Robert Yowell. “The monitoring requirements and stringent limits on total dissolved solids, chlorides and sulfates in this permit will protect the water quality of the West Branch Susquehanna River.”

The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination permit requires TerrAqua to meet the proposed new regulatory standards of 500 parts per million for total dissolved solids and 250 parts per million for chlorides and sulfates. These standards will be required statewide effective Jan. 1, 2011.

TerrAqua has indicated that it will pursue a thermal treatment process capable of reducing total dissolved solid levels to less than 500 parts per million at all times.

The discharge permit also requires TerrAqua to monitor for radioactivity, a large number of metals, including barium, strontium, iron, manganese and aluminum, as well as organics such as toluene, benzene, phenols, ethylene glycol and surfactants.

The company’s application for the permit, which was submitted in August 2008, went through an extensive public participation process. More than 150 people attended a DEP public meeting held in July 2009 to discuss the permit and ask questions.

“The department received nearly 200 public comments regarding this permit application and have responded to and addressed all relevant questions and concerns raised in those comments,” Yowell said.

(NOTE: MANY RDA MEMBERS WERE AMONG THOSE WHO RAISED CONCERNS, URGING DEP TO DENY THIS PERMIT IN ITS ORIGINAL FORM. WE ARE GLAD THAT TERRAQUA HAS AGREED TO ADHERE TO THE  1-1-11 TDS PROPOSED REGULATIONS.

WE WILL FOLLOW THIS APPLICATION INTO ITS NEXT PHASE WHERE THE ACTUAL TECHNOLOGY WILL BE DEFINED.

ALSO OF CONCERN ARE AIR QUALITY ISSUES. WE WILL GET A BETTER IDEA ABOUT THESE AS THE APPLICATION PROGRESSES. )

TerrAqua now must submit a water quality management permit application to DEP for the treatment plant’s design and technology. This permit is required to construct and operate the plant.

The company has also applied for a general permit from DEP’s waste management program to process, recycle and reuse this wastewater for subsequent fracking operations.

The DEP Northcentral Regional Office has nine additional permit applications under review for proposed gas well drilling wastewater treatment plants in Bradford, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Lycoming, and Tioga counties. Proposed discharge points include the Susquehanna, Chemung, and Tioga rivers as well as several streams.

For more information, call 570-327-3659 or visit www.depweb.state.pa.us.

RDA info and meeting places/times

Stop the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) from caving in to mining and gas industry pressure. These industries would like to transfer the water quality of the Susquehanna River to their bottom line by using it as an inexpensive dump for their salt and chemically laden waste water.

Attend the hearing on Wednesday 16th at 5:00, DEP’s office in the Old Grit Building at 3rd and William Street, Williamsport. Your attendance will support DEP’s own research which has lead to a good proposed strategy for new TDS discharges. Without public support, DEP may be forced to retreat from its own recommendations.
BACKGROUND
Last April DEP published a strategy to protect Pennsylvania Rivers from becoming too saline by greatly limiting the amount of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) in NEW discharges into the rivers.
This strategy came after critical conditions appeared in the Monongahela River Basin due to mining and gas industry discharges. Gas drilling waste water, which is extraordinarily high in TDS, put the already stressed river over the limit for potable water withdraw.  Bromines from gas industry waste water react with disinfectants used in water plants to produce carcinogenic secondary chemicals.  The result was a drinking water health advisory issued to thousands of water users.
This September, forty three miles of Dunkard Creek, which stitches back and forth across the boarders of Pennsylvania and West Virginia, experienced a massive fish kill. The culprit, which wiped out almost all animal life in the stream, was toxins produced by an invasive algae which can only thrive in brackish water.
Below are some excerpts from DEP’s preamble to the hearing. Link to complete document here.     http://pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol39/39-45/2065.html

“Total dissolved solids (TDS) is comprised of inorganic salts, organic matter and other dissolved materials in water.”

“TDS causes toxicity to water bodies through increases in salinity, changes in the ionic composition of the water, and toxicity of individual ions.”

“Several studies on the potential impacts to aquatic life from these large TDS discharges were also conducted on major tributaries flowing into the Monongahela River in Greene County, PA. Each of these studies documents the adverse effects of discharges of TDS, sulfates and chlorides on the aquatic communities in these receiving streams. The former concludes that there is a high abundance of halophilic (salt-loving) organisms downstream from the discharges of TDS and chlorides and a clear transition of fresh water organisms to brackish water organisms in the receiving stream from points above the discharge to points below. It is evident from this study that increases in salinity have caused a shift in biotic communities.

The Monongahela River Watershed is being adversely impacted by TDS discharges and many points in the watershed are already impaired, with TDS, sulfates and chlorides as the cause.

In addition, watershed analyses conducted by the Department (DEP) of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River and the Moshannon River Watersheds have documented that they are also severely limited in the capacity to assimilate new loads of TDS and sulfates.”

You are needed. Attend the hearing to support DEP’s proposed strategy, based on good science, for protecting Pennsylvania’s waterway.
To speak at the hearing call 717-787-4526 to register.

J. Public Hearings

The Board will hold four public hearings for the purpose of accepting comments on this proposal. The hearings will be held at 5 p.m. on the following dates:

December 14, 2009
5 p.m.
Cranberry Township Municipal  Building
2525 Rochester Road
Cranberry Township, PA 16066-6499
December 15, 2009
5 p.m.
Department of Environmental  Protection
Cambria District Office
286 Industrial Park Road
Ebensburg, PA 15931
December 16, 2009
5 p.m.
Department of Environmental Protection
Northcentral Regional Office
Goddard Conference Room
208 West Third Street,
Suite 101
Williamsport, PA 17701-6448
December 17, 2009
5 p.m.
Lehigh County Government Center
17 S. 7th Street
Allentown, PA 18101
responsible drilling alliance

Use your feet…

Here is an email from the Responsible Drilling Alliance out of Williamsport, PA. please follow the link at the end of the message for more info.

Use your feet to protect our rivers.

Have your feet take you to the hearing in Williamsport on December 16th to support, with your presence, the proposed new rule for Total Dissolved Solids for gas industry wastewater.  Gas drilling waste water is extremely high in TDS.  Under current rules they are allowed to discharge this TDS content directly into the river.  The new proposed rules would greatly limit new TDS discharges.

Not surprisingly these new proposed rules have come under quite a bit of pressure from a number of industries not just the gas drillers.  It is important to note that these new rules will not apply to existing water discharges so they will not put anyone out of business. Only new discharges or large modifications to existing plants will come under them.

This September, more than forty miles Dunkard Creek in western PA was cleared of almost all its fish and other aquatic animal life by the toxins of an invasive algae.  Golden Algae, the culprit,  needed high levels of TDS’s to thrive. Last summer, even before the fish kill,  the Monongahela  River exceeded the TDS standard for potable water intake and its bromide content level required a health advisory to be issued.

Strong public support is needed to counteract industry’s efforts to lower the proposed standards.    We all need to show up to the hearing and speak or send in written comments.  Instructions on how at bottom of this email.

December 16, 2009
5 p.m.
Department of Environmental  Protection
Northcentral Regional Office
Goddard Conference Room
208 West Third Street,
Suite 101
Williamsport, PA 17701-6448

http://pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol39/39-45/2065.html

Clean Water in PA seems harder and harder to come by

Published: October 31, 2009 by Newsitem.com

Gutting DEP, aging Clean Water Act all wet

A report by the environmental advocacy group PennEnvironment illustrates the folly of state lawmakers eviscerating the Department of Environmental Protection and a need for Congress to reinvigorate the Clean Water Act of 1972.

PennEnvironment analyzed the federal Toxic Release Inventory for 2007 and found that industries released 2.6 million pounds of pollutants into the Susquehanna River that year. That’s more than 25 percent of the 10 million pounds of industrial pollutants that were released into waterways statewide in 2007, a year in which Pennsylvania was among the top five states in total volume.

The report puts a disturbing exclamation point on the new state budget, which reduces the budget for the Department of Environmental Protection by about a third.

And the study is an incomplete picture because it deals with “point source” discharges alone, that is, known quantifiable discharges from known sources. It does not catalogue non-point source pollution such as fertilizer and animal waste the enter waterways from farms.

Nor does the report deal with so-called “legacy” pollution – toxic matter deposited in the river for more than a century by mines and other industries that no longer exist.

The report is drawn from existing data. It should serve as a reminder to Harrisburg and Washington that water pollution remains an enormous problem.

State lawmakers and regulators should ensure that clean water enforcement remains a priority despite the hatchet that the Legislature took to the DEP. Perhaps lawmakers can stop hoarding their own $200 million surplus and dedicate some of it to the cause of clean water.

Congress should proceed with a revision of the Clean Water Act that sets higher standards, includes all streams and wetlands under regulation, and limits the discharge non-point source pollution along with industrial toxins.

 

Here is a link to the 2008 Bureau of Water annual report.

http://www.hbgauthority.com/Monthly%20Reports/Water/2008%20Bureau%20of%20Water%20Annual%20Report.pdf

And here is a link to a consumer confidence report by United Water for 2008.

http://www.unitedwater.com/uploadedFiles/Localized_Content/UW_Pennsylvania/50/UWPA_Harrisburg_Consumer_Confidence_Report.pdf

Neither of these reports has direct information regarding the gas industry but there is some good information about water in PA and where it comes from, especially if you do not live in a rural area. Just some FYI as well as a few eye openers here and there that we rarely think about, yet drink every day. There are also some interesting findings on bottled water in PA especially in places like State College. Voices of Central PA, a public newspaper out of Centre County, is currently working on some research regarding this. Check out their website for details although the articles may not be up on the web yet.

You Are Cordially Invited to a Workshop…

Susquehanna River Basin Commission
a water management agency serving the Susquehanna River Watershed
You Are Cordially Invited to a Workshop
October 29, 2009 – Hold the Date

A Partnership for Water Quality Monitoring
To Encourage and Advance Real-Time Monitoring of Susquehanna Basin Streams
The Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) has developed a proposal to implement
a network designed to remotely monitor water quality conditions to maintain and protect
smaller rivers and streams in select portions of the Susquehanna watershed. With the demand
for water from smaller rivers and streams on the increase – most notably from the natural gas
industry – it is important to routinely monitor water quality conditions to verify whether or not
water quality impacts are occurring. The proposed network would provide real-time data that
will keep management and conservation agencies informed and able to respond more rapidly if
pollution events occur. It will also help local public water suppliers, watershed groups, and
communities to stay informed about water quality conditions in local streams.
SRBC is sponsoring this workshop to encourage governmental and non-governmental interests
to join as partners in this effort. At the workshop, SRBC will explain the proposed network and
its known benefits, seek input and recommendations, and identify interested partners.
DATE: October 29, 2009
TIME: 9:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Workshop Sessions (lunch provided)
1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Optional Tour of Natural Gas Drilling Site
LOCATION: Holiday Inn, 100 Pine Street, Williamsport, Pa.
Directions:
http://www.holidayinn.com/h/d/hi/1/en/hotel/IPTPP/transportation?start=1
RSVP: By: October 15, 2009

To: Ms. Ava Stoops, Administrative Specialist, SRBC
Phone: (717) 238-0423 ext 302 or Email: astoops@srbc.net
When responding, please provide your Name, Title, Affiliation,
Mailing Address, Phone, Fax, Email

A special thank you to the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds
(http://www.pennsylvaniawatersheds.org/) for funding this workshop.