Pennsylvania’s Marcellus wastewater stats flawed
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, whose annual funding was just gutted in Governor Tom Corbett’s recent state budget proposal, finds it’s latest statistics and figures regarding Marcellus Shale wastewater to be incorrect due to an operator reporting incorrectly.
“Seneca Resources Corp. says it mistakenly reported the number of gallons of wastewater it generated as barrels. A barrel contains 42 gallons, so Seneca’s numbers were hugely inflated. And so was the amount of water that it reportedly recycled.”
“Before the Seneca error was discovered, the industry reported recycling about 6 million of 10.6 million barrels of wastewater during the last half of 2010 – about 57 percent of the total. But Seneca’s inflated numbers represented about 5.2 million barrels of the recycled water. So when its numbers are revised downward, the total volume of wastewater reported recycled falls to 17 percent.”
This is important not only because it reveals recycled wastewater numbers to be way off, but it implies that the DEP might not be able to adequately handle the amounts of data from the industry. If this is the case now, it’s reasonable to wonder what will happen if unconventional natural gas development and activity increases while the agency’s funding decreases and cuts are made.
This comes at a time when “the federal Environmental Protection Agency put Harrisburg on notice that the EPA would increase its scrutiny of how Pennsylvania managed shale-drilling wastewater after news media reported that inadequately treated Marcellus wastewater may be polluting the state’s rivers.”