Archive for the ‘fresh water pollution’ Category

Pennies From Heaven, Pollution From Hell

November 19, 2014

Recently, my son wrote an essay about hidden costs. He discussed the heavy toll that certain industries, like factory farming and clothing manufacture, take on humanity and our environment when they externalize their true costs. Naturally, it got me thinking about the external costs of fracking.

One of the biggest hidden costs of Marcellus shale gas development will be a significant reduction in the number of clean, fresh drinking water supplies for future generations.

PA watersheds have endured a history of environmental degradation from a variety of sources such as logging, agricultural run-off and acid mine drainage, to name just a few. But while it’s true that many threats to our water supplies are long-standing, we can’t ignore the fact that they now face a much more serious, imminent threat.

The instances of fresh water contamination in Pennsylvania have increased dramatically since hydraulic fracturing began.

As fracking booms, waste spills rise — and so do arsenic levels in groundwaterReporter: Reid Frazier, Writer: Adam Wernic, Living on Earth, Public Radio International, November 18, 2014.

How can we not worry? The business of shale gas is predicated on taking public risks for the purpose of private gain. All it requires, apparently, is a pricey ad campaign and couple of slick publicity stunts.

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Former PA DEP Secretary Krancer Wants Sunoco To Condemn Your Property

May 7, 2014

What’s the fastest way to get approval to build a hotly contested, demonstrably volatile 299-mile gas liquids pipeline through numerous densely populated suburban Pennsylvania municipalities?

First, elevate your corporate status to Public Utility. Then, claim the right of Eminent Domain to bulldoze over local zoning restrictions and the objections of local residents. At least that’s how former Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Michael L. Krancer, would like to see construction of Sunoco Logistics Mariner East Pipeline proceed. In fact, he’s leading the charge.

Litigate, Baby, Litigate

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Big Poisons, No Plan: List of PA Streams with Frack Fluid Spills

April 15, 2014

Van Wagner teaches Environmental Science at Lewisburg High School in Pennsylvania. He’s also an accomplished country-folk musician who has donated his time to teach music to kids at Pennsylvania summer camps. I came across this compelling plea on Wagner’s website:

“I have played music at several summer camps for children who are cancer survivors.  Camp Victory / Camp Dost and Camp Can-Do to name a few local examples.  These children are amazing.  I’m always amazed how grateful they are to me for spending a few hours simply singing with them.  It is I who should be thankful.  These children have smiles worth their weight in gold.  They are filled with joy and know more about love and friendship than most adults.  I challenge any fracking advocate to donate some time at one of these camps.  While there sit down at the dinner table with these kids and try to explain to them why grown-ups want to put more cancer causing chemicals in our environment because of things like energy, stock values and jobs.   (more…)

River of Doubt: Ex-Water Exec Appointed New DRBC Chief

March 11, 2014

What’s it gonna be, Steven Tambini?

As former Vice President of Operations at Pennsylvania American Water, who also previously served on the board of trustees for the American Water Works Association and the Water Resources Association of the Delaware River Basin, the National Association of Water Companies – Pennsylvania Section, Steven (don’t forget the Rancocas Conservancy) Tambini seems like the ultimate water industry insider. Just sayin.

Mr. Tambini’s work on both the Pennsylvania and New Jersey sides of the Delaware River has allowed him to develop and build relationships with regulators and stakeholders throughout the basin,” states the Delaware River Basin Commission press release.

Somebody ought to ask Mr. Tambini to define exactly who those “stakeholders” are. I want to have faith, really, but Tambini’s resume is pretty thin on conservation, and darn heavy on extending private water industry interests. One can’t help but worry that he will be inclined to keep on carrying water for the water industry. (more…)

Philadelphia Water Drive Starts Today!

September 24, 2013

Pennsylvanians Take A Local Stand To Support People Impacted By Fracking

Imagine finding your tap water has suddenly turned milky, red, or black and sludgy. Imagine taking a shower and finding that it burns your nostrils and stings your skin. Imagine learning that your well water is laced with industrial pollutants such as benzene, toluene and formaldehyde.” -ShaleGasOutrage.wordpress.com

Over 1,000 complaints like these have been filed with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection through the end of 2012. PA DEP has determined that 161 water wells have been contaminated as a result of hydraulic fracturing, with more tests results inconclusive or disputed. And the complaints keep coming. In these impacted households, tap water is no longer safe for consumption, yet the nearest water utility line is often many miles away. People are forced to rely on bottled water to meet their daily water needs. Large blue “water buffalos” have become ubiquitous across the Marcellus Shale region.   (more…)

USGS Warns Of Disinfection Byproducts From Treatment Of Produced Waters

September 6, 2013

You don’t have to be a hydrogeologist to understand the severity of the U.S. Geological Survey’s most recent warning. As the number of suitable sites for deep wastewater injection wells dwindles, and production in the Marcellus ramps up, pressure is mounting on municipal water treatment plants to deal with all the frack waste. But as every good sewage plant operator knows, what goes in, must come out.

Technical Announcement: Disinfection of Energy Wastewater Can Lead to Toxic Byproducts

Contact Information:

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey

Office of Communications and Publishing

12201 Sunrise Valley Dr, MS 119, Reston, VA 20192

Mike Focasio 703-648-6808

Alec Demas 703-648-4421

Released: 9/4/2013  —  Wastewater treatment plants that process waters from oil and gas development were found to discharge elevated levels of toxic chemicals known as brominated disinfection byproducts, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.    (more…)

Marcellus Spills Fill PA Waterways

July 25, 2013

“Pretty Please” Doesn’t Stop Surface Discharges

Nearly everyday it seems there’s a new report of Marcellus shale gas waste spilling in Pennsylvania’s wetlands and streams, DEP violations like this recent “discharge” reported by SkyTruth:

Issued to Energy Corporation of America on July 22, 2013 — Code 307CSL: Discharge of unconventional industrial drilling waste to waters of Commonwealth without a permit in Clearfield, Girard Township (ID#673076)

And this large spill reported by Laura Legere in DEP: Spill At Well Site Seeps Into House, Miniature Horse Farm in The Times Tribune on May 1, 2013:

An unknown amount of the fluid escaped the pad, flowed down a hill, crossed a road and entered the basement and garage of a nearby farmhouse, Ms. Connolly said. It soaked property at the horse farm, whose owners were out of state, but a farmhand kept the animals safely away from the fluid.

On both sides of the shale gas safety debate, experts agree that “surface spills” hold the greatest threat for surface water and groundwater contamination. Pennsylvania, by the way, is home to more fresh water resources than any other state in the continental U.S.

Surface spills of fracturing fluids appear to pose greater risks to groundwater than hydraulic fracturing itself,” writes Bryan R. Walsh in Shale Gas: It’s Not the Fracking That Might Be the Problem. It’s Everything Else, Time Magazine, on February 17, 2012. While Walsh pays short shrift the long term impacts of deteriorating wellbore seals, his premise certainly rings true right now. Every week, we see more spills, more overturned tankers and leaky valves, each one a small-scale, highly toxic event unto itself, and it invariably concludes with a dead stream and DEP asking drillers to promise not do it again.

A Water-Tight Case?

And then there are spills so big and negligent that the EPA has no choice but to step in and sue the driller, as is the case of this EXXON/XTO Energy violation, reported earlier this week:

US Sues Exxon Fracker in Pennsylvania Over Polluted Drinking Water:  A federal lawsuit claims hydraulic fracking has polluted public drinking waters in Pennsylvania with toxic wastes by Erin McAuley, AlterNet, July 24, 2013

Yup, it’s true. Obama Administration Sues Exxon for Polluting Pennsylvania Drinking Water with Toxic Fracking Waste, AllGov.com, July 24, 2013   (more…)

Frack-Free Film Festival

May 29, 2013

Suddenly, A New Genre:  Independent Films About Fracking

Cool art house theater or screen porch screening, there’s a whole crop of new films that reveal the true stories of fracking and the impact of industrial shale gas extraction on people, land, air and water. There are so many new movies, you could spend the whole summer watching them, and why not? Here’s my current Don’t Miss list – please share your reviews and recommends.

Groundswell Rising Rough Cut Ready, Almost!

Susan Lyons recently posted on StopFrackingPA! that a “Rough Cut debut of Groundswell Rising sold out at Pocono Community Theater. Got there too late to get a seat. Hope to see the final version soon.”

Mark Dodel replied: “Actually we ended up watching Dear Gov Cuomo. The final print of Groundswell Rising wasn’t finished in time to get it to the theater I had never seen the Cuomo movie so it worked out. They will reschedule Groundswell soon.

Groundswell Rising, Protecting Our Children’s Air And Water, the new documentary from Emmy Award-winning Resolution Pictures, captures the passion of people engaged in a David and Goliath confrontation. They stand together, challenging a system that promotes profit over health. We meet mothers, fathers, scientists, doctors, farmers and people from all sides of the political spectrum taking a hard look at energy extraction techniques not proven to be safe. With the Oil and Gas industry’s expansion of fracking seen as a moral issue, this provocative documentary tracks a people’s movement, a groundswell rising towards reason and sensitivity, to protect life, today and tomorrow.

For information on upcoming screenings, visit www.groundswellrising.com

Split Estate

Imagine discovering that you don’t own the mineral rights under your land, and that an energy company plans to drill for natural gas two hundred feet from your front door.    (more…)

Best Documentary On Fracking Ever

May 6, 2013

Triple Divide  – Trailer

Visit TripleDivideFilm.org to get your sustainably-produced DVD of the highly acclaimed new film Triple Divide – considered essential viewing by Organizations United for the Environment.

At TripleDivideFilm.org, you’ll also find more information on Public/Private screenings in Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio.

Find even more local screenings at Triple Divide on Facebook.

Pipeline Destruction Is Coming To Town

December 20, 2012

Document Pre-Pipeline Stream Conditions in The Delaware River

DECEMBER 22-23, 2012

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network needs your help:

We have 19 days to stop this fracked gas pipeline from cutting through healthy pristine habitat and rural communities   (more…)

Damned Data! PA DEP Still Withholding Vital Water Test Results

November 23, 2012

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has held out long enough.

It’s time for the state to release the full test results from a Washington County, PA water well near a Range Resources fracking operation. It is, after all, the taxpayers who pay for such testing, and these taxpayers ought to know what pollutants have been identified in their drinking water. It’s perfectly reasonable to want to know to which toxic chemicals you have been exposed, especially when those chemicals have been intentionally omitted from your well water report by the DEP.

Now that the infamousSuite Code 942” has been revealed, the jig is up. Am loathe to moralize, but it sure seems like the right thing to do.

Many groups across Pennsylvania are calling for the release of these results. In Fracking’s Toxic Secrets: Lack Of Transparency Over Natural Gas Drilling Endangers Public Health, Advocates Say, Huffington Post, November 21, 2012, Lynne Peeples reports:

Critics suggest the purported ‘filtering’ of testing data is just one of the ways people are left in the dark about the assortment of heavy metals and other toxic contaminants that may be in their air and water as a result of drilling, hydraulic fracturing and other phases of natural gas production. Recent studies have identified more than 600 chemicals used throughout the process of natural gas production, and often left undisclosed by companies. Additionally, natural but equally hazardous substances can be released from the wells.

Doesn’t DEP get it yet? Dismissing the drumbeats of concerned citizens only makes them louder.  

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network is asking people to please send this letter via the link on their site, or write you own, to those directly responsible for keeping this vital health information a secret. Addresses below.   (more…)

Frack Brine On Montgomery County Roads?

November 14, 2012

DEP’s Permit Pickle

Pennsylvania’s municipal water treatment plants were designed to handle the bio solids of sewage, not the radioactive compounds contained in shale gas drilling waste. They can’t handle the massive volumes of frack flowback produced in our state.

It takes 4.5 to 9 million gallons of fresh water to hydro-frack a single natural gas well. There are more than 30,000 permits awaiting approval in Pennsylvania over the next 10 years. In addition to the 8,982 frack wells currently operating in Pennsylvania, that equals 165 billion gallons of fresh water, largely from the Special Protection Waters of the Delaware River Watershed and the Susquehanna River Basin. Once removed, this water is destined to become toxic, radioactive frack “flowback.” And, by the way, that’s way more water than we actually have.

At first blush, recycling frack flowback – both onsite and at regional treatment plants – seems like the perfect solution. There’s now a long list of companies who want to sell or lease their services to drillers, along with their glorified mobile distillation units. But this, too, poses new problems and raises even more questions about shale gas waste regulation and oversight. Ultimately, waste recyclers still have to deal with the disposal of the super salty waste bi-product known as brine.

So now, recycled frack brine is to be sold – at around $.05 a gallon – to PennDOT (Pennsylvania Department of Transportation) to spray on our roads for deicing in winter, and something called “dust suppression.”

Seriously, dust suppression.

Untreated frack brine has been shown to include barium, radium, strontium and a range of radionuclides. Sometimes, there’s even uranium. (Yes, there’s uranium down there, too.) Flowback may also contain sodium and calcium salts, iron, oil, numerous heavy metals, diesel fuel and industrial soaps. And now this stuff might be on my running shoes, and the wheels of my kids’ bikes. Heavy snows and spring rains will carry these compounds into our rivers and streams, lacing our waterways with toxins. Are you kidding me?

How is it, though they’re using taxpayer dollars to buy this supposedly “clean” brine, that there was no public input?

Because DEP stamped a permit.

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It’s The Cement, Stupid

September 30, 2012

Or Why I Favour A Ban On Fracking

According to Global Ban on Hydraulic Fracturing, a facebook page administered by Luke Ashley of Wrexam, England, “Understanding how fracking and repeated fracking can result in failing well integrity. Gaps and cracks in the annular casing cement allow unwanted contaminates to migrate between formation layers and aquifers. After a well has been repeatedly fracked and is no longer economically viable, it is plugged and abandoned but nothing is or can be done to ensure adequate well integrity between the casing and drilled well bore.”

      Cement Isn’t Magic. All Frack Wellbore Seals Fail Eventually. 

(more…)

Vedge On The Edge

September 28, 2012

The Importance of Rain Gardens

A little more than halfway through the The Delaware Riverkeeper Network‘s Virtual Canoe Race, and I’m happy to say that our boat, The Green Zombies, is not in last place. Currently, Adirondacker and Pampitus have a commanding lead, with Howler paddling hard through Port Jervis and gaining fast. Shout out to Sojourn 5, in position 27 – they know it ain’t over! There’s plenty of river miles left, and we’re having a blast despite our virtual blisters.   (more…)

Worldwide Fracking Smackdown!

September 23, 2012

England, Canada, United States, Ireland, Czech Republic, France, Denmark, South Africa… On Saturday, September 22, 2012, energetic yet peaceful protests sprouted up around the globe as many thousands gathered to demonstrate their concern over fracking for shale gas.

Images of The Global Frackdown from nearly every continent depict the growing outrage over this dangerous and polluting form of extreme fossil fuel extraction. They’ve been gloriously collected on the Global Frackdown facebook page.

According to EcoWatch.org in Thousands Rally Around The World To Ban Fracking:  “Major actions overseas included a rally on the steps of the European Parliament; demonstrations in front of Parliament buildings in South Africa, Bulgaria and the Czech republic; marches in Argentina; grassroots activities in Paris and the south of France, and screenings of the film Gasland in Spain.”

“One for all and all for one … “

Uploaded by Tatty771

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It’s Always OUTRAGE-ous In Philadelphia

September 20, 2012

Protests against unconventional shale gas drilling have been popping up across the United Shale Shocked States of late, and the global List of Fracking Bans and Moratorium, curated by the incomparable Johnny Lineham at Fracking Hell (UK), has grown so long it speaks for itself. More citizens in more countries are demanding serious study of the impacts of unconventional gas production on human health and climate change. Is it a coincidence that the public’s interest in renewables has also been renewed? Given than many of the bans and moratorium are in the US, it’s safe to say most Americans expect an equally high level of environmental accountability from elected officials.

Shale Gas OutrageSeptember 20, 2012 at Noon

In front of the Convention Center, 13th & Arch Sts., Philadelphia, PA (19107)

Hyperbolic Hippies On The March?

Anti-Fracking Activists will go “toe-to-toe” with gas industry executives who will be present at The Marcellus Shale Coalition‘s second annual Shale Gas Insight conference, held on the very same day. As Protecting Our Waters, the Shale Gas Outrage host organization, states: “Industry will be rubbing elbows with some of our elected officials, their sights set on expanding toxic fracking throughout our region. Their ‘greenwashing’ doesn’t fool anyone: we’ve seen the damage, and even with a few new regulations, the damage is escalating out of control.”  (more…)

The Delaware Riverkeeper’s “Virtual” Canoe Race

September 15, 2012

Pull! Pull!

Please join me in supporting the Delaware Riverkeeper Network’s upcoming Virtual Canoe Race.

Adults and junior paddlers can join this fun race by “virtually” paddling down the scenic, historic Delaware. Or you can simply cheer on the racers by sponsoring a “virtual canoe.”

The Delaware River is the last major free flowing river in the Eastern U.S. Unlike most major river systems, the Delaware has no dams and so it can be canoed for its entire length. The Delaware Riverkeeper Network is committed to keeping the scenic, historic Delaware River Watershed free flowing, clean and healthy.

Each week, starting with a posting on September 30, a series of multiple choice questions and extra mileage opportunities will be posted to the Race Website. You will have one week to answer all of the questions correctly. The sooner you get in the questions the more river miles you earn. The more correct answers you have the farther down the River you will paddle!

Thanks for sharing my concern for our precious watershed environments, and for getting to know this amazing organization!

Pointing The Finger Lakes

August 16, 2012

In the face of a frightful dearth of genuine environmental stewardship at top Pennsylvania state levels, New Yorkers living in Marcellus towns have been scrambling to proactively manage the imminent shale gas issues confronting them – from water management to truck traffic and emergency preparedness, to the negative impact on their taxbase. The Marcellus Effect  chronicles the town of Caroline’s struggle to protect its water supply near Ithaca New York in How Far Is “Safe” When Protecting Aquifers?

Simultaneously, one of New York’s most picturesque finger lakes strives to maintain hard-won environmental gains as residents and fans organize to fight off an ill-advised gas storage facility planned for the abandoned salt mines located beneath it. You can learn about the citizen-led struggle to Save Seneca Lake in writer Elaine Mansfield’s moving video, Angry Faces, Placid Water: Fracking, LPG Gas Storage, and Seneca Lake produced by Owl Gorge Productions.

The oil and gas industry plans to build an enormous liquid petroleum gas storage and distribution depot in abandoned salt mines under Seneca Lake near Watkins Glen, one of New York’s most popular scenic tourist attractions. Part of the Marcellus Shale hydrofracking nightmare, this huge facility threatens the pure water of Seneca Lake with petroleum gas and salt pollution, would burn off excess gas with a towering flare stack, produce air pollution, and be a visual and noisy blight along this gorgeous lake. Worst of all would be the constant risk of gas explosions. Local resident, writer, and activist Elaine Mansfield eloquently presents this issue in Smith Park along the shore of Seneca Lake.

More: gasfreeseneca.com.

UPDATE [August 17, 2012]:

News coverage of the Watkins Glen Protest in The Times Leader: Watkins Glen March To Protest LPG Facility

Fraccidents happen, and happen, also from The Times Leader: Tanker Leaks Propane In Gang Mills

UPDATE [August 19, 2012]:

EPA Refuses to Release Seismic Data on Proposed Inergy Finger Lakes Liquid Gas Cavern with a History of Earthquakes by Peter Mantius, dcbureau.org, June 15th, 2012.

Cuomo’s Fracking Pan: Politics Trumps Science by Peter Mantius, dcbureau.org, August 17, 2012.

UPDATE [August 23, 2012]

http://ithacafingerlakes.com/2012/08/23/200-march-in-watkins-glen/

Rachel’s Rant

July 26, 2012

Don’t Frack Me, Bro!

A single sane voice in the lamestream media? As early as 2010, msnbc‘s Rachel Maddow has been asking the seemingly obvious questions no one else wants to ask.  (more…)

Nightmare Neighbors In Franklin Township

July 24, 2012

Has The Truthland™ 8H Frack Well Ruined The Water Table?

Scott Cannon’s video camera is loaded for bear.

Routinely stonewalled by state agencies like the DEP, Resources Environmental, Fish and Boat, or the many other offices they’re told to call, Pennsylvanians have been quick to recognize that it’s up to them to put the impacts of industrial shale gas drilling on record. Official documentation of the damage inflicted by the industry on land, air and water may be slow to emerge, if ever.

Filmaker Cannon and Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition  have long chronicled the devastating impacts of shale gas development in the epic The Marcellus Shale Reality Tour series. Here, the fifth installment covers events occurring in Franklin Forks, PA, not long after several frack wells were drilled nearby. It’s a perplexing and pathetic irony that four of those wells are on property owned by the Depues, the perky Truthland family seen sprawled across sofas, slamming Gasland, referring to it as “this little movie.” Y’know, the ones with the bubbling annulus.  (more…)


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