Trout Unlimited to hold training session for Marcellus Shale Monitoring

The following Trout Unlimited-sponsored training session is for those interested in learning about the signs and symptoms of trouble in the Marcellus Shale drilling areas, and to learn what’s normal when such activity is on-going.

When: February 26, 2011 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM

Where: Citizen’s Hose Co., Lock Haven, PA (on Rt 150 – aka Bellefonte Ave.)

Cost: Free for Trout Unlimited members; $17.50 for non-members (lunch and training materials included)

Registration contact: Dave Sewak – email: dsewak@tu.org or phone: 814.659.1772

DEP: Gas industry treatment behind discharge on hillside

This article came to me this morning from the RDA. About an hour after receiving it I also received some info form them on what “airfoam HD” is and what is in it. See after the article.
By PATRICK DONLIN – pdonlin@sungazette.com
POSTED: March 17, 2010

WATERVILLE – A substance used in the natural gas drilling process is discoloring and distorting the texture of spring water running off a Cummings Township sidehill. Cheryl Sinclair, a geologist for the state Department of Environmental Protection, was collecting suspicious water samples mid-day Tuesday along Route 44, one mile south of Waterville. The mysterious substance was seen flowing down the slope, under the road and into Pine Creek, said Daniel T. Spadoni, spokesman for DEP’s northcentral region office. Officials from another state agency alerted DEP…

Terming it a surfactant, Spadoni said a substance known as Airfoam HD was causing the water run-off to be unnatural in appearance…. Surfactant used to treat Pennsylvania General Energy wells affected the water run-off, which Spadoni said had nothing to do with hydrofracturing….They were using the whitening substance as a lubricant that lowers the surface tension between air and water, according to Spadoni…

“They’re attempting to determine what caused this problem and what actions they can take to stop it,” Spadoni said of energy company representatives, with whom DEP members have been communicating… The only precaution Spadoni recommended to residents is to avoid the suspicious spring water run-off in the area….

“I don’t think you would want to drink this discharge,” he said.

The substance leaking down the hill isn’t listed as dangerous on a Material Safety Data Sheet, according to Spadoni.

“We don’t know for sure what its chemical composition is,” Spadoni said.

To read the full article and view all photos, click here:

http://www.sungazette.com/page/content.detail/id/540787.html?nav=5011

Some might ask:
(1) if we don’t know the chemical composition, how can we know if it is or is not on the Material Safety Data Sheet and is or is not dangerous?
(2) how to get the word out to illiterate wildlife and aquatic organisms not to drink from this stream.

From Damascus Citizens for Sustainability

2-Butoxylethanol (2-BE) is a foaming agent used for natural gas production and is proven to cause cancer in animals. 2-BE is a primary component of AirFoam HD, a product that has been found on drilling pads in Pennsylvania — the MSDS sheets for Air Foam HD state that is dissolves in water and that chronic exposure causes cancer.   Testing for 2-BE costs over $100 per test, and the cost burden is on the landholder — the DEP has failed to test for drilling or fracking chemicals in their standard tests which are only performed when landowners report problems in their water supply, not before the problems occur.  Residents who will soon have natural gas production occuring in their region or upstream from their groundwater supply must hire an independent water testing company to do a “baseline test” to show the lack of contaminants prior to the drilling.  Without a baseline test, it is more difficult to convict a drilling operator for water contamination – the drilling operator can claim that there is no proof that the contaminant was not in the groundwater supply prior to the drilling.

From TEDX

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs)
MSDSs are designed to inform those who handle, ship, and use the products about their physical and chemical
characteristics, and their direct and/or immediate health effects, in order to prevent injury while working with
the products.  The sheets are also designed to inform emergency response crews in case of accidents or spills.
The total reported composition of a product on an MSDS can be less than 0.1% up to 100%. MSDSs are not
submitted to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for review. The product
manufacturers determine what is revealed on their MSDSs.
The health information on MSDSs most often warns of possible harm to the skin and eyes, gastrointestinal and
respiratory tracts, followed by the nervous system and brain. Many MSDSs do not address the outcome of long
term, intermittent or chronic exposures, or adverse health effects that may not be expressed until years after the
exposure.

RDA comment

2-Butoxylethanol (2-BE) is one of the nastier things the drilling industry uses, It is soluble in water, vaporizes in air, and is taken up through the skin. It can cause a very specific adrenal tumor linked to its exposure. According to Theo Colborn at the Endocrine Disruption Exchange, it is implicated in a wide variety of health effects in most systems of the body and should be handled with great care.  Studies have indicated there is no known level of dilution where 2-BE doesn’t have effect on organisms. You can download the spread sheet at the link below.

http://www.endocrinedisruption.com/chemicals.fracturing.php

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.

Waterdog Update

Here’s an update on the Waterdog training coming up this month. Don’t forget to call Erika and let her know you are coming to the training. Contact me if you need her number.

Hello Waterdogs,

I wanted to let everyone know that I have finally confirmed the location for the Advanced Waterdog Training!!  It is Saturday, February 27, from 9-12 at the Ives Run Recreation area at the Tioga Hammond Lakes.  It will be held in the Visitor’s Center/Ranger Station.

This training is for current waterdogs only – but I only have some of the emails!!  I will be mailing out other fliers for those that I don’t have emails – so if you could please send this on to someone that you know is already a waterdog I would really appreciate it.  Also I have cards for everyone – I have redone the cards if you have already received one – they are more wallet friendly!!  So please let me know one way or the other if you are coming to the training – if you are not planning to attend the training I will mail your Id card to you.

Thank you,

Erica Tomlinson

Watershed Specialist

Tioga County Conservation District

SRBC working with East Resources

http://srbc.net/whatsnew/Newsletters/article_32.asp

Here is a link to an update from the SRBC (on their website) about how they are working with East Resources to put in water monitoring stations. East resources has offered to pay for part of this system as well.

It is nice to see some of the gas companies and the various watershed organizations working together, finally! Now, if we could just get the state legislators on the same page….I was thoroughly disgusted when I received an updated mailing from Matt Baker the other day. He states that he could not support certain parts of the state budget because it included raising some taxes and that would bring a hardship to PA residents. I find it ironic that he also found it impossible to vote for a severance tax from the gas industries, which would be bringing in an amount of money that might have been equivalent to the amount that taxes were going to be raised. Over all I felt that his statements reflected only half of what went on in Harrisburg during the budget meetings; the half that makes him look good to people who are still ignorant or uneducated about the Marcellus Shale. His mailing also had no mention of the gas boom in PA and how it has effected our budget, amongst other things. Pretending something doesn’t exist, doesn’t make it go away.