PA DEP calls on natural gas drillers to stop giving wastewater to treatment facilities

Sponsored by

HARRISBURG, PA, Apr. 19, 2011 -- At the direction of Governor Tom Corbett, acting Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Krancer today called on all Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling operators to cease by May 19 delivering wastewater from shale gas extraction to 15 facilities that currently accept it under special provisions of last year's Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) regulations.

"While the prior administration allowed certain facilities to continue to take this wastewater, conditions have changed since the implementation of the TDS regulations," Krancer said. "We now have more definitive scientific data, improved technology and increased voluntary wastewater recycling by industry. We used to have 27 grandfathered facilities; but over the last year, many have voluntarily decided to stop taking the wastewater and we are now down to only 15. More than half of those facilities are now up for permit renewal. Now is the time to take action to end this practice."

The 2010 revised regulations require publicly owned treatment works and centralized waste treatment facilities to treat new or increased discharges of TDS to more stringent standards. Removing TDS from water also removes bromides. The previous administration, however, chose to allow facilities that had historically accepted drilling wastewater to continue to accept it, as long as they did not increase their input load of wastewater.

Recent surface water sampling has found elevated levels of bromide in rivers in the Western portion of the state, where the majority of natural gas drilling is taking place. Bromide, itself non-toxic, turns into a combination of potentially unsafe compounds called Total Trihalomethanes once it is combined with chlorine for disinfection at water treatment facilities.

"While there are several possible sources for bromide other than shale drilling wastewater, we believe that if operators would stop giving wastewater to facilities that continue to accept it under the special provision, bromide concentrations would quickly and significantly decrease," Krancer said.

For more information about DEP, visit www.depweb.state.pa.us.

###

Sponsored by

TODAY'S HEADLINES

Maryland WWTP's new solar array to serve as state's largest municipally-owned system

Standard Solar is set to install a 2.1-megawatt ground-mount solar system in Pocomoke City, Md., at the city's wastewater treatment facility. Once completed this December, it will be the largest municipally-owned system in the state.

Major Texas company to pay $1.6M civil penalty for CWA oil spill violations

The Department of Justice and the EPA have announced that Superior Crude Gathering has agreed to pay a civil penalty for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act stemming from a crude oil spill in 2010 from tanks at the company's oil storage facility in the town of Ingleside, Texas.

Bureau of Reclamation makes WaterSMART grants available to improve water, energy conservation

The Bureau of Reclamation is inviting states, tribes, water and irrigation districts, and other water- and power-related organizations to apply for funding to cost-share on projects that conserve and use water more efficiently, increase renewable energy use and improve energy efficiency.

Three major CA airports to receive new stormwater monitoring services, equipment under contract

Los Angeles World Airports has awarded a contract to Alta Environmental for consulting services up to $5 million for three years on an as-needed basis to improve stormwater monitoring for Los Angeles International Airport, Ontario International Airport and Van Nuys Airport.

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA