Archive for the ‘PA Drinking Water’ Category

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…)

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EPA Shoots DEP “In The Back” Says Krancer

November 17, 2012

DUG In Deep

PA DEP Secretary Krancer was in Pittsburgh last week, marshaling his forces at the Drilling Unconventional Gas (DUG East) Conference, and peppering his pro-gas speech with an unnerving number of Civil War references. According to Don Hopey in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Krancer “referred to several dozen protesters outside as less imposing than opposition he sees as a Civil War re-enactor.”

Lest we forget, the Mason-Dixon line once divided The Marcellus Shale, too.

Access to the Pittsburgh conference was limited to those who meet DUG’s self-prescribed “press pass policy.” Indeed, it’s only getting more difficult to gain entry to big gas shows, even if you are willing to pony up nearly a grand to register, even if you are a legitimately credentialed member of the press, like Buck Quigley of ArtVoice.   (more…)

PA Fossil-Free Digest – AntiGas NewsClips

November 15, 2012

Another Wild Week in Fracking… 

The true story of the Marcellus Shale Gas Boom is stranger than fiction, full of polemic twists, shocking revelations and methane geysers. Here, an aggregation of the aggravation caused by the gas industry in Pennsylvania in the past week alone. Look out, David Hess, I’ve been taking notes.

AntiGas NewsClips  –  Friday, November 16, 2012:    (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.

(more…)

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…)

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!

Wells Gone Wild!

August 5, 2012

On May 6, 2012, a deer drank from a pool of water above an abandoned gas well in the Allegheny National Forrest. Deer drinking from a puddle, that’s nothing new. All I know is, I would never want my little doe drinking that poison!

A Leaking Gas Well In The Allegheny National Forest

Saveourstreamspa.org uploaded this short, eye-opening video:  “The Allegheny National Forest is plagued with abandoned, wells that have been left behind, unplugged by oil and gas operators. Not only are many of these wells spewing methane into the atmosphere, but fluids are being released from these wells and are being consumed by game and wildlife.”  (more…)

Merchants of Drought: Private Water Utilities

July 23, 2012

Bechtel, a private water corporation operating in Bolivia, once went so far as to prohibit citizens from collecting rainwater…  Sounds extreme, yet are rising water prices in the United States merely the first wave? As shale gas drillers ‘consume’ millions of gallons of fresh water everyday in Pennsylvania, depleting and despoiling local water tables, what will it mean for the million-plus well-water users across the state?

“Water is for life, not for profit!”

Get The Frack Out of Our Drinking Water!  

STOP THE FRACK ATTACK!  ~  Saturday, July 28, 2012

Sign the Water Bill of Rights via the website for the landmark film, Last Call At The Oasis, by Academy Award-winning director, Jessica Yu, based on the book by Karl Weber.  Learn more, start here …   (more…)

The Other Riverdale

June 22, 2012

Been reading Wendy Lee’s heart-wrenching coverage of events surrounding the eviction of residents from the Riverdale Mobile Home Park in Jersey Shore, PA. It’s surreal to me that this is happening in Pennsylvania, USA, and the lamestream media has basically ignored the story. Thankfully, Dr. Lee and others have recorded their impressions of the injustices there.

Whether or not you think Aqua has a right to develop this facility, and syphon 3 million gallons of fresh water per day from the Susquehanna River Watershed, what happened in Riverdale is not only emblematic of the dramatically altered nature of police enforcement in Pennsylvania, it’s also a troubling reminder that a private entity owns the public’s fresh water supplies. Above all, it calls into question who has more value in our society, corporate citizens or individual citizens? We already know who has more political clout. (more…)

That’s What She Said…

June 16, 2012

Listening to Pro-Drilling Landowners in Northeastern PA

Since Tim Darragh’s article, Pennsylvania Lobbying for DRBC Fracking Rules appeared in The Allentown Morning Call on thursday, there’s been a surprising dirth of Comments on the topic. StateImpact gave Darragh’s piece a shout out yesterday, and hopefully that will help raise awareness that the Delaware River is still very much endangered. Maybe it’s an apathetic readership? Or perhaps Patrick Henderson is effectively skirting media radar detection in their outright determination to drill in the Delaware right now, literally at any cost. (more…)

What Else Is In Your Water?

June 12, 2012

And Is It Safe To Drink?

Annual Water Quality Reports don’t include unregulated toxins

People often ask if we drink tap water at home. “Not if we can help it” is the honest answer, but I rarely say so. I wouldn’t want anyone to feel their choice is wrong simply because it’s not my choice. Anyway, we bathe in tap water and water the vegetable garden, too. Whatever your pleasure, we all ingest our regional tap water. We’re currently looking into the possibility of drilling a well, though I’ve yet to determine the cost. Luckily, Environmental Working Group has created a great tool to inform (and justify) our water investments.

Shouted out in Toxic Shockers by Alexa Joy Sherman in the July-August issue of Natural Health Magazine, The Environmental Working Group’s National Drinking Water Database is a font of information for water consumers. EWG reports there are “Over 300 Pollutants in US Drinking Water,” some of which are regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act, some aren’t. (more…)

Protect Chester County Streams!

May 31, 2012

Marcellus Gas Pipeline To Cut Across Wyeth Country

Think Marcellus Shale Gas pollution won’t come to Southeastern PA? Think again.

UPDATE: “State Extends Comment Period for Gas Pipeline Plan” by Sara Mosqueda-Fernandez in The Daily Local News, June 3, 2012  http://www.dailylocal.com/article/20120603/NEWS01/120609891/-1/news/state-extends-comment-period-for-gas-pipeline-plan

(more…)

The Real Cost of Fracking: Angela and Wayne

May 24, 2012

“There’s No Future”

Angela and Wayne own and operate a farm in Clearville, PA. They candidly share their experiences with the Natural Gas Industry in this short video. (more…)

Delaware River is “Exceptional” – Riverkeeper Wants to Make It Official

May 18, 2012

[UPDATED: May 25, 2012] Including more info on Reclassification to Exceptional Value or High Quality Stream

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network (DRN)  is petitioning the PA Department of Environmental Protection to upgrade the Upper and Middle Delaware River to Exceptional Value (EV) Quality,” states Faith Zerbe , DRN’s Water Watch Director.

To this very productive end, Delaware Riverkeepers and over 20 organizations and 300 co-petitioners have submitted a petition to to PADEP, and they are actively seeking  signatures and letters of support. If you value this magnificent, historic American River, please lend your voice and sign on to the Original Petition to elevate the Delaware’s environmental, economic and social status. Demand adequate protections for drinking water today!  (more…)

What’s In Your Water? Chloramine.

May 17, 2012

Drinking water disinfection is among the most important technological advances of humanity, yet like every major historic development it has a downside. Today, we run the risk of over-ingesting the disinfection chemicals used in public water treatment, along with their dangerous disinfection bi-products. It’s a bummer to know what’s really in our water – everything from naturally occurring radioactive contaminants to anti-depressants. Some toxins, such as chlorine, are relatively easy to filter out. Others, like chloramine, and disinfection biproducts (DBPs) such as chloroform (CHC13), are much slower to dissipate and far more difficult to remove. These are the toxins believed to cause cancer.

(more…)

“Promised Land” Casting Call in Pennsylvania

May 4, 2012

When Hollywood comes a knockin’ to make a movie in your state about a vitally important issue, you gotta say thanks. Opposition to Fracking, once you recognize that unconventional shale gas drilling cannot be done safely – not in the long-term or short-term – becomes like common sense, and you wonder why more people don’t share it. You hope they will, before it’s too late, and it really helps to have people as talented as Matt Damon and Gus van Sant around to help tell the story of Pennsylvania’s Gas Boom. I’m thankful that “Promised Land” – hailed by The Huffington Post as an “anti-fracking movie” – began filming in the Pittsburgh area in April, no doubt much to Corbett’s jowly chagrin. It’s all good, babe. (more…)

New Rules! For Marcellus Drilling, Explained

April 26, 2012

PennFuture Presents Just The Fracts on PA Act 13, The Marcellus Shale Act

Of the major environmental organizations opposed to Fracking in Pennsylvania, few push harder than Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future, or PennFuture. This vibrant non-profit has been fighting for environmental justice since its inception, and in 2009 the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) named PennFuture as its official representative in Pennsylvania. Their tagline, “Every environmental victory grows the economy” resonates because sustainable energy must also be economical in order to generate sufficient demand. PennFuture has a long, distinguished history but it’s more interesting, perhaps, to know what the group is doing right now.

According to George Jugovic Jr., President & CEO:

  • We’re working to replace old, outdated dirty sources of power with clean, renewable Pennsylvania-made electricity.
  • We’re fighting factory farm pollution.
  • We’re helping to stop damage from mining and drilling.
  • We’re protecting watersheds from sprawl and pollution.
  • We’re reducing global warming pollution.
  • We’re watchdogging state government.
  • We’re providing $2 million per year of free legal services to protect the environment.

Putting ACT 13 In Layperson’s Terms (Thank You)

On April 23, 2012, Susan Philips posted a link to a pdf of PennFuture’s new Fact Sheet in Plain Language Version of Pennsylvania’s New Drilling Law Published. The Fact Sheet covers the highlights (lowlights, really) of the new Marcellus Shale Law. I found it very helpful in my attempt to understand just how badly Governor Corbett has undercut the Commonwealth with the bill he and Senator Joe Scarnati strong-armed Philadelphia area democrats to vote for. So here it is, in its entirety: (more…)

No Riverdale Evictions, Yet…

April 19, 2012

In The Post-Facebook Era, There’s No Excuse for Bad Corporate Behavior

[UPDATE: ay 4, 2012] This report from Protecting Our Waters:

Bad news: the residents of Riverdale Mobile Home Park (on the Susquehanna River near the town of Jersey Shore, PA) have received word from Aqua America subsidiary Aqua PVR’s hired realtor that they will, in fact, be evicted — oops, I mean, have their water and sewer services cut off and have the offer of a token relocation fee of $2,500 removed, on June 1st.  It costs at least $6 – 10K to move a mobile home, so Aqua appears to be willing to force some of these families into homelessness, and all of them deeper into poverty, rather than delay construction of their $24 million water withdrawal facility. Riverdale residents also keep hearing persistent rumors that they will be allowed to stay, so it’s very hard for them to cope or to know what to do.  (more…)

Frack Waste Causing Fish Cancer?

April 17, 2012

The cool, clean headwaters of the Susquehanna and Delaware Rivers, in the mountainous northern reaches of Pennsylvania and Southern New York, are home to countless species, including birds, reptiles, mammals and aquatic life. Among PA’s wild inhabitants, eagles are the most high-profile, turtles are legendary and trout among the most well loved. Personally, I’m intrigued by the diverse populations of mollusks filtering the fresh water we drink, swim in, and use to grow or food. The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is home to eight of the 297 recognized fresh water mussels species found in North America. (more…)