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Drilling Companies Asked To Stop Sending Water To Treatment Plants

April 20, 2011

CBS affiliate KDKA out of Pittsburgh, in a series of news stories, is reporting that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has asked the state’s Marcellus Shale industry to cease releasing fracking wastewater to treatment plants.

Gas Drilling Industry Makes Stunning Admission

Selected excerpts from this article:

“The president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, which represents natural gas companies, said the group now believes the natural gas exploration industry is partly responsible for rising levels of contaminants found in area drinking water.

The group came to the conclusion after reviewing research from Carnegie Mellon University and the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.”

Drilling Companies Ordered To Stop Sending Water To Treatment Plants

Selected excerpts from this article:

““We are calling on all Marcellus drilling operators to cease delivering water to these 15 publicly-owned treatment works and centralized treatment works,” Kathy Gresh, a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, said.

The problem being addressed is a salty substance in the drilling water called bromide. When combined with chlorine in a drinking water treatment plant, it can form a dangerous disinfectant byproduct.

‘When disinfection byproducts enter our drinking water and we consume them over a long time period, they’ve been associated with a particular form of cancer, bladder cancer, and with a particular set of negative reproductive outcomes in terms of miscarriages and still births,’ Carnegie Mellon University Professor Jeanne VanBreisen said.”

CBS KDKA Video: Drilling Companies Ordered to Stop Sending Water To Treatment Plants

CBS KDKA Video: Marcellus Shale Coalition Speaks on Contaminants in Drinking Water

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette followed up with a breaking news story entitled: “Pa. Marcellus wastewater shouldn’t go to treatment plants“.

Selected excerpts from this article:

“The request — specifically not a departmental ‘order’ that carries legal weight — asks drillers to halt a wastewater disposal practice that had been criticized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and environmental groups but that the DEP had allowed at the select facilities despite tighter water discharge standards passed in December.

The DEP requested, with Gov. Tom Corbett’s approval, that drillers stop taking Marcellus Shale drilling wastewater to municipal ‘grandfathered’ treatment facilities after May 19.

Those facilities are, the Clairton City Municipal Authority and McKeesport City Municipal Authority, both in Allegheny County; Johnstown Redevelopment Authority, Cambria County; Ridgway Borough, Elk County; Franklin Township Sewage Authority, Greene County; Tunnelton Liquids Co. and Hart Resource Technologies Inc., both in Indiana County; Brockway Area Sewage Authority, Punxsutawney Borough Municipal Authority and Reynoldsville Borough Authority, all in Jefferson County; New Castle City Sanitation Authority, Lawrence County; Sunbury Generation, Snyder County; Franklin Brine Treatment Corp., Venango County; Waste Treatment Corp., Warren County; and the Kiski Valley Water Pollution Control Authority, Westmoreland County.

‘We believe we can achieve voluntary compliance,” said Katy Gresh, a DEP spokeswoman. “At 30 days we will revisit this and see how many comply. We could then use our authority to take the next step with the treatment facilities or drilling industry or both’.”

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