Location Change for May 1 Hearing Washington County Compressor Station

The new location – VFW Barto Post 6553 at 65 Run St. in Slovan, Washington County.

Immediately following the open house which starts at 6:30 pm- the hearing will start.  The anticipated start time is at 7:30 p.m., members of the public may present up to five minutes of formal testimony for the public record. The testimony will be recorded by a court reporter and transcribed into a written document, and DEP will create a written response to all relevant testimony.

Those who wish to present oral testimony should contact DEP Community Relations Coordinator John Poister at 412-442-4203 or register that evening prior to the hearing. Only those who register can give testimony at the public hearing.

For anyone unable to attend the public hearing, written comment should be submitted by the close of business on May 11 to Alan Binder, PA DEP Bureau of Air Quality, Southwest Regional Office, 400 Waterfront Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.

Copy of the Annoucement

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PPL battles homeowners over drilling royalty checks on forgotten land

“The families of several property owners have used the forgotten rail bed for generations. But an heir to the old Northern Electric trolley line was eventually found: PPL Electric Corp.

PPL officials didn’t even know the company owned the old rail line that once carried passengers from Scranton to Tiffany Corners, just west of Montrose. Cabot Oil & Gas Inc. untangled the mystery of the rail right-of-way last year as it sought to sign mineral leases with landowners. A savvy title searcher had a hunch that the missing link in the ownership chain may have been misfiled in Wyoming County. It was.

PPL’s ownership of the former Northern Electric is clear, but whether it can convince a court to affirm that ownership over competing claims is not as clear.

News broke when mineral rights owners looked over changes to one of the most important financial documents they will ever receive: The Pooling and Unitization Declaration which spells out the number of acres they and others own and the share of royalties they will receive. Those who thought they owned a piece of the former Northern Electric land have seen their piece of the land and royalty pie shrink.”

 The rest of the story

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Environmental Protection Agency Dramatically Lowered Methane Loss During Drilling

“PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency has dramatically lowered its estimate of how much of a potent heat-trapping gas leaks during natural gas production, in a shift with major implications for a debate that has divided environmentalists: Does the recent boom in fracking help or hurt the fight against climate change?

Oil and gas drilling companies had pushed for the change, but there have been differing scientific estimates of the amount of methane that leaks from wells, pipelines and other facilities during production and delivery. Methane is the main component of natural gas.

The new EPA data is “kind of an earthquake” in the debate over drilling, said Michael Shellenberger, the president of the Breakthrough Institute, an environmental group based in Oakland, Calif. “This is great news for anybody concerned about the climate and strong proof that existing technologies can be deployed to reduce methane leaks.”

For the whole story

For Methane Issues in Pennsylvania
For Fact Based Review of Dimock

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DCNR Agrees to Discuss Drilling in the Loyalsock State Forest

On Friday, DCNR announced it’s planning to hold a public meeting. It will also have its own experts participating in a web-based information session next week about plans to drill in the forest.

“DCNR has heard from numerous individuals and organizations on this issue through letters, phone calls and in a meeting this month with local stakeholders,” DCNR Secretary Richard Allan said through a release. “This webinar gives us an additional opportunity to exchange information and respond to questions about potential gas development in the Loyalsock, where the state does not own the subsurface gas rights.”

The key issues

1. The state does not own the mineral rights to 25,000 acres of state land.  We only have surface rights.
2. Anadarko Petroleum owns about 50 percent of those rights.
3. Based on court decisions, DCNR has no say over what happens on 7,000 acres. Reportedly this area is the most ecologically sensitive (not sure what that means specifically).

“When we don’t own the mineral rights,” says Novak, “we do always attempt to talk with companies because it helps us protect a resource and it also helps them, by providing some certainty related to their development plans.”

For more information an a schedule of the Webinar and Public Meeting (no time set).

Harrisburg – Department of Conservation and Natural Resources officials will participate in a free, web-based seminar offered by Penn State Extension on Marcellus Shale issues in the Loyalsock State Forest, Lycoming County, on Thursday, April 25.

The session eventually will be archived and available on the Penn State Extension natural-gas website at http://extension.psu.edu/naturalgas.

Other resources

1. DCNR- Oil and Gas in PA

2.Do I have any say as to what oil and gas operators do on my land if I’m only a surface property owner?

Yes. Even if you do not own the oil and gas rights to your property, you should retain legal counsel and work with the operator to ensure that your property (including private water supplies, if applicable) is not adversely damaged by access to and drilling at the well site. For more information, consult “Landowners and Oil and Gas Leases in Pennsylvania” fact sheet or visit one of the online oil and gas leasing forums.

Additional Resource(s):
http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/office_of_oil_and_gas_management/20291
http://www.naturalgasforums.com/index.php

Source – Article by Susan Phillips (4/19/2013)

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Volunteer
We seek new people at all skill levels for a variety of programs. One thing that everyone can do is attend meetings to share ideas on improving CCGG, enabling us to better understand and address the concerns of well owners.

Everything we do began with an idea.

We realize your time is precious and the world is hectic. CCGG’s volunteers do only what they’re comfortable with. It can be a little or a lot.

For more information, please go to CCGG’s About Page or contact us.

Carbon County Groundwater Guardians is a 501(c)(3) IRS approved nonprofit, volunteer organization and your donation is tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

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High Arsenic Levels Well Water Testing Found in 8 Percent of Groundwater Wells Studied in Pennsylvania

The Need for Well Water Testing In Pennsylvania and other states

NEW CUMBERLAND, Pa. – Eight percent of more than 5,000 wells tested across Pennsylvania contain groundwater with levels of arsenic at or above federal standards set for public drinking water, while an additional 12 percent – though not exceeding standards – show elevated levels of arsenic. 

These findings, along with maps depicting areas in the state most likely to have elevated levels of arsenic in groundwater, are part of a recently released U.S. Geological Survey study done in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Environmental Protection.

The results highlight the importance of private well owners testing and potentially treating their water.  While public water supplies are treated to ensure that water reaching the tap of households meets federal drinking water standards, private wells are unregulated in Pennsylvania, and owners are responsible for testing and treating their own water.

For this study, USGS scientists compiled data collected between 1969 and 2007 from industrial, public, and private wells. Arsenic levels, along with other groundwater quality and environmental factors, were used to generate statewide and regional maps that predict the probability of elevated arsenic.   The study examined groundwater from carbonate, crystalline, and shale/sandstone bedrock aquifers, and from shallow glacial sediment aquifers. Similar maps have been produced for other states.

“This research is not intended to predict arsenic levels for individual wells; its purpose is to predict the probability of elevated levels of arsenic in groundwater to help public health efforts in Pennsylvania,” said USGS scientist Eliza Gross, who led the study.  “The study results and associated probability maps provide water-resource managers and health officials with useful data as they consider management actions in areas where groundwater is most likely to contain elevated levels of arsenic.”

For more details go here (Some mapping available)

The Pennsylvania Department of Health plans to use the maps as an educational tool to inform health professionals and citizens of the Commonwealth about the possibility of elevated arsenic in drinking water wells and to help improve the health of residents, particularly in rural communities.  Please consider forward you certified testing data to the Citizens Groundwater Database.

Private well owners can find testing and other information on Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Arsenic in Drinking Water website.

or Check out the Arsenic Outreach Program here – Has links to treatment options and low cost informational water testing.

 

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Trout Unlimited River Research Stream Camp in Central PA

Trout Unlimited, is putting the call out to any interested teens who are passionate about the environment and looking for an great outdoor experience in Central PA this Summer!

There is still time to apply to an exciting new camp for students ages 14-17. On August 4-8, 2013, Trout Unlimited will be hosting the first ever River Researchers Teen Camp at Mahaffey Camp & Conference Center along the banks of the West Branch Susquehanna River in Clearfield County, Pa.

During the five-day camp, students will learn first-hand about coldwater conservation, environmental stewardship, and brook trout through a series of hands-on lessons. The camp will focus on abandoned mine drainage pollution, river restoration efforts, water sampling, aquatic insect collecting and identification, fisheries biology techniques, and environmental career and volunteer opportunities, along with fun activities to encourage team work, leadership, and community involvement. There will also be plenty of time for fly tying and fishing, a field trip, and a fish fry!

We are currently seeking students to take part in this exciting event. We are also seeking interested female adult team leaders who will help guide students through the week’s activities. Please spread the word about this opportunity and also consider being a team leader.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please visit the River Researchers Teen Camp website at: www.wbsrc.org/teencamp/default.html .

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Pike-Wayne Earth Day Festival

The Carbon County Groundwater Guardians can not attend this event, but we are providing approximately 100 copies of the new booklet on drinking water quality in Pennsylvania. If you can, you should stop at this this great community event.

Pike-Wayne Earth Day Festival
Date: Saturday, April 20, 2013
Time: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: Free and open to the public
Location: PPL’s Wallenpaupack Environmental Learning Center
Contact: PPL at 570-253-7001 or pplpreserves@pplweb.com

Please check the website for updates and more details at www.pikewayneearthday.org.

Rain or Shine!

Activities and exhibits include:

•Arts & craft activities for kids
•Bring an old t-shirt and give it a new life! Cub Scout Pack #229 will be turning them into bags.
•Bring old tennis shoes for recycling! Girl Scout Troop #50151 is recycling them with Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe campaign.
•Bird walks
•Door Prizes
•Live music
•Face painting and Species Celebration
•Yummy, healthy food and local maple syrup for sale
•Kayak demos on Lake Wallenpaupack

Other Partners that Should be at the event
◦Delaware Highlands Conservancy
◦Delaware Highlands Mushroom Society
◦Lacawac Sanctuary
◦Lacawanna College Lake Region Center
◦Lake Wallenpaupack Watershed Management District
◦National Park Service – Upper Delaware
◦Northeast PA Audubon Society
◦Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission
◦PPL Lake Wallenpaupack Environmental Preserve
◦Pike County Conservation District
◦Pike-Wayne Conservation Partnership
◦Promised Land State Park
◦SEEDS
◦U.S. Forest Service: Grey Towers
◦Wallenpaupack Area High School
◦Wallenpaupack Historical Society
◦Wayne Conservation District

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Pennsylvania May Use Coal Mine Water for Hydraulic Fracturing Senate Bill 411

INTRODUCED BY KASUNIC, YUDICHAK, SOLOBAY, WOZNIAK, BREWSTER, ARGALL, WHITE, BAKER, HUTCHINSON, ERICKSON, VULAKOVICH, VOGEL, FERLO, BOSCOLA, ALLOWAY AND DINNIMAN, FEBRUARY 4, 2013

SENATOR YAW, ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY, AS AMENDED, FEBRUARY 12, 2013

Mine water for beneficial uses.–Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, landowners, mine operators and water pollution abatement project operators that are involved in treating mine drainage or mine pool water from a permitted mining activity site or water pollution abatement project shall not be deemed to assume legal responsibility for or to incur liability with respect to a cost, injury or damage that arises out of or occurs in connection with the use of mine drainage, mine pool water or treated mine water in connection with the hydraulic fracturing process or other development of a gas well, industrial or other water supply or other beneficial use of the water

****

Comments by Brian Oram

1. This may have some conflicting language when compared to the Oil and Gas Law and the assume liability that is associated with natural gas development. I may have missed this section, but it would be nice if the law clearly stated this did not resend current provisions and assumed liability related to exiting  Oil and Gas Law.

It does appears the assumed liability provision is limited to only the “Project Operators”- so that once the mine water leaves the site (i.e., the site where the mine water is collected or initially treated) – they, the Project Operators are no longer assumed liable for other uses beyond their control, i.e., liable for the use of the water by the Gas Company for Hydrofracturing.  (Clarification is needed)

Therefore
A. Land-owner has mine drainage on the property- they or a third party – treat the mine water and then sell or give away to a water company.
B. The water is transported to a site.
C. Industry uses the water for hydraulic fracturing. 

Think the the limit of liability is intended to only extend to A related to conyence by B and the use by C   This type of liability provision is needed because many of the parties that fit the role of A are either 501 c3, watershed groups or public private partnerships that have nothing to do with the gas company.

2. This may require baseline testing be done in these regions to include additional parameters specific to the source and around treatment project sites.
3. It is possible this may result in decreased streamflows downgradient of withdrawal points – I am not sure how the river basin commissions will evaluate and if they may consider the need for a water withdrawal permit and consumption use fees, but I would assume a consumptive water use docket with provisions for treatment and by-pass flow maybe needed.

4. I like the provisions and hopefully this will more forward the use of degraded waters for hydraulic fracturing and help clean up impacted waterways in PA.

5. I do like the provisions, but for some streams baseflow associated with mine drainage may be a significant portion of the flow and it maybe necessary to maintain some by-pass flow with treatment.

6. Hope this encourages public private partnerships to address Acid mine drainage and mine drainage.

7. Would be nice if this program could be applied indirectly to the Northern Fields –No Gas Development, but it would be great to treat and clean the mine drainage and then issue some type of credit.

8. The law looks like it could be applied to discharges and releases of brine water associated with historic oil and gas development and not just mine drainage?  (Clarification is needed)

9. I am not sure of the eligible land provision? Unless this relates to building some type of treatment structure, etc (Water pollution abatement project operator).  (Clarification is needed)

10. The exemptions near the end of the document seem reasonable – I would assume this came from Senator Yaw – Very Nice.

11. I would recommend the Senators that support this document make the necessary clarifications of the intent, but this is something that is needed.  I think this would have been a better approach then all the press releases on the topic. The goal should be to fix issues and get them resolved.   

Additional Comments
Mine Drainage and/ or Acid Mine Drainage is the result of natural discharges and legacy issues related to the mining of the anthracite and bituminous fields in Pennsylvania.

Over 4,000 miles of streams in Pennsylvania are adversely impacted by mine and/or acid mine drainage. The most cost effective treatment approaches of these problems tend to be a mixture of land-reclamation and passive treatment systems. Many watershed groups and other organizations in Pennsylvania have been active in attempting to minimize the adverse impacts of mine drainage. One main limitation to the effective management and control of these discharges is the significant capital investment to implement the reclamation process and install the passive or semi-passive remediation system, but the largest hurdle is typically the long-term cost of maintaining these systems and liability that is associated with the operations and maintenance of these systems. The Senate Bill creates an opportunity for public and private partnerships to cover the initial cost for the installation of a more rapid and active treatment system and there is then the opportunity to put in place long-term funding for a passive treatment approach.
The Senate Bill has some key liability provisions. These provisions appear to be:
1. Provisions granted to the landowners and operators of the treatment system so they are no liable for the conveyance and ultimate use of the water. This is critical, because a watershed group or small business that is treating the water only and not hauling should not be liable for the conveyance and final use. This liability should rest with the individuals and companies that are transporting and using this water.

2. The proposed bill provides limits of liability associated with downgradient stream conditions. This provision is needed because it is possible that augmenting the flow of the stream by removing mine drainage will likely decrease water levels and flow volumes, but should eliminate the long-term pollution source. Even though it is not stated in this Senate Bill, it is likely that the river basin commission would play a significant role in reviewing consumptive use permits and may require a baseflow of treated water to maintain stream temperature and flow.

Some missing parts

The bill does require more context and specific language; because it appears the bill will extend to historic oil and natural gas development areas. Therefore, it is possible that some of the sites are releasing water that contains a mixture of brine, heavy oil residues, and other fugitive emission.

The bill may not address the status of the “sludge” generated by the remediation efforts. Does this sludge have a beneficial use or is it classified as a solid waste?

The bill does not address the issue of the need for a water withdrawal permit if the water is used for a consumptive water use
There needs to be a balance on the amount of withdrawal because in special cases excess water withdrawal may induce significant surface and subsurface impacts, such as subsidence and mine fire propagation.
This activity should not be conducted in combination with efforts to produce coal-bed methane gas.

Missing provisions for bonding.

http://www.bfenvironmental.com
http://www.water-research.net/Watershed/

Support Groundwater Education in Pennsylvania and Consider Scheduling an Education Workshop for Your Community – just email bfenviro@ptd.net

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Using Nitrogen and other Gases to Hydraulicly Fracture Black Shale Fields

“Typically, nitrogen is delivered to the well site as a refrigerated liquid that is gasified prior to injection and then is injected into the well to enhance recovery.  As the primary component of the air we breathe, the benefits of nitrogen include it being inert, environmentally friendly, non-flammable, and when gasified, exhibiting very low densities with large expansion factors. These properties make nitrogen the perfect choice for safely and efficiently tackling the toughest well needs.”

Interesting Links

Ferus Website on Nitrogen
Superior Well Services- B.F. Environmental (Nitrogen Gas Frac Library)
Gas Frac B.F. Environmental (Nitrogen Gas Frac Library)
EPA Report on Types of Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids
Books on Natural Gas Development
Information on FracWater Chemistry and Flowback Water

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National Water Quality Monitoring Council Web Seminar

National Water Quality Monitoring Council Web Seminar:

Would a State or Regional Partnership, Alliance and/or Council Serve Your Needs?
Featuring a presentation by Barb Horn, Water Resource Specialist, Colorado Parks & Wildlife, Durango, CO

The webinar will be offered on Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. EDT (9:00 a.m. PDT)
Please login 10 minutes early see instructions below to join the webinar

Webex Link: https://doilearn.webex.com/doilearn/tc (hint: may need to copy and paste link into browser)

Click on “join” next to: NWQMC Webinar:  Inventory of Councils 
Password: council

Call in number: 1-866-299-3188 
Access code: 5661187# 

The webinar is free and no pre-registration is required 
For additional details, see attached flyer.
 

Carbon County Groundwater Guardians is a 501(c)(3) IRS approved nonprofit, volunteer organization and your donation is tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

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