Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Wind Energy Apprentice Program Announced

Wind energy companies are growing exponentially to meet America's demand for clean, renewable, and domestic energy. This entry level Wind Energy Apprentice online training course prepares you for a career in the wind energy industry. The apprentice program provides over 240 hours hours of training on energy and the wind energy field.

Wind energy companies are growing exponentially to meet America's demand for clean, renewable, and domestic energy. This entry level Wind Energy Apprentice course prepares you for a career in the wind energy industry. Students will learn the basics of wind energy principles including wind technology, wind energy anatomy, wind farm design, wind business, and characteristics of energy sources. This course covers the fundamentals of hydraulics and basic theory and practice of electrical circuits, including calculations as applied to alternating and direct currents.

Upon successful completion of this program, students will be able to:

• Describe the evolution of wind turbine technology.
• Identify and describe wind farm anatomy of general wind terminology, parts of the turbine, plant, and components of the team.
• Discuss air flow characteristics and blade efficiencies.
• Implement customer relationship and management (CRM) strategies
• Discuss business planning process using various tools (six-sigma, root-cause analysis, and/or strengths- weaknesses - opportunities - threats (SWOT) methodology.
• Explain inventory control, materials, and supply chain management.
• Assess Human Resource policies, procedures, and documentation.
• Explain contract management, fulfillment, and liability to landowner and manufacturer.
• Discuss wind business policies and procedures.
• Explain atomic structure and basic values such as voltage, current, resistance and power.
• Determine electrical values for combination circuits in direct current (DC) and alternating current (AC) containing resistance, inductance, and capacitance.
• Summarize the principles of magnetism.
• Calculate voltage drop based on conductor length, type of material and size.
• Utilize electrical measuring instruments.
• Display competence in principles and operation of basic hydraulic systems.
• Use flow meters and pressure gauges to measure valves and make adjustments.
• Interpret schematics and troubleshoot both open and closed center hydraulic systems.
• Display a systematic approach to troubleshooting.
• Design a schematic drawing of a working hydraulic system with components, valves and sizes included.

For more information on this training program and other certification programs in Natural Gas, BioFuels, Energy Management, Sustainability, Green Building, and Environmental Assessments please go to

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Why Are Investigations of Potential Environmental Cancer Clusters So Often Inconclusive?

Cancer Clusters: Findings Vs Feelings: Why Are Investigations of Potential Environmental Cancer Clusters So Often Inconclusive?
Why Are Investigations of Potential Environmental Cancer Clusters So Often Inconclusive?

The "Bull's-Eye" Problem

A variety of factors often work together to create the appearance of a cluster where nothing abnormal is occurring. Looking for clusters is analogous to drawing a bull's eye after you have thrown darts at the wall at random. In this situation, there is possibly a place in which a bull's eye can be drawn that will leave multiple darts in close proximity to some common center. According to the American Cancer Society, cancer was diagnosed in an estimated 1,268,000 Americans in 2001.[9] Finding clusters in cancer data is, thus, something like looking for patterns in the location of more than a million darts thrown at a dartboard the size of the United States.

The definition of what geographic area is to be investigated in a cancer cluster study is often problematic. If the hypothesis that cancer rates in a certain area may be elevated provides the initial impetus for the study, the natural temptation is to study only the area that includes the cases that inspired the study. This problem is called "preselection bias" because it involves researchers preselecting the geographic area of a study based on what they already know an investigation of certain areas would reveal.[10] In much the same way as gerrymandering -- including certain voters in an electoral district -- can shape the outcome of elections, preselection bias -- including certain patients in the geographic area of a study -- can shape the outcome of cancer cluster investigations.

The problem of "drawing the bull's eye" applies not only to space, but also to time. A study of 2 clusters in an Ontario town noted that "the tendency is to include all years in which cases were reported [in the date range chosen for analysis], thereby maximizing, and magnifying, any effect which may be present."[11]

A third way in which the bull's-eye problem can skew results is in the selection of which cancer to include as part of a possible cluster. In the case of possible pediatric cancer clustering in Toms River, New Jersey, investigators began by looking at every category of childhood cancer and included in their investigation those categories of cancer whose rates were significantly elevated in Toms River.[12] The threshold of significant elevation that was used meant that for every 20 cancer categories examined, 1 would qualify as significantly elevated. These problems can be even further increased when more categories are considered -- for example, age groups and gender.

These sorts of expansions are problematic because the greater the number of possible cancers, areas, and time periods that are evaluated as potential clusters, the greater the chance that randomly distributed cases will appear as a cluster. In addition, the links that have been proven between exposure to carcinogenic chemicals and elevated incidence of cancer have entailed elevated rates of extremely specific cancers: DES, in high doses, elevates risk of vaginal adenocarcinoma, exposure to VCM elevates risk of hepatic angiosarcoma. One thing these documented instances of elevated prevalence have in common is that the chemical agent consistently elevates risk of a specific cancer, not of all cancers equally.

Often in these debates, however, a burgeoning set of effects is putatively linked to a single cause. This is aptly illustrated through one of the most widely publicized cancer cluster cases in recent years, the Erin Brockovich case. Dramatized in a major film with Julia Roberts portraying Ms. Brockovich, a paralegal who worked with local residents, the case dealt with the release of chromium-6 into the Hinkley, California water supply by Pacific Gas and Electric. The suit blamed the chemical for dozens of symptoms, from nosebleeds to breast cancer, miscarriages, Hodgkin's disease, and spinal deterioration.[13] Workers who inhale large amounts of chromium-6 over long periods have been shown to be at elevated risk of developing lung and sinus cancers. But chromium-6 has never been shown to be related to any other human cancer, or to be carcinogenic to any degree when dissolved in drinking water.[13]

Some clustering is to be expected as the result of chance alone.[13] It is reasonable that people should seek explanations for higher-than-expected cancer rates, but epidemiology does not always offer an identifiable cause.

Public Pressure

Sometimes, public pressure can impel public health officials to undertake an investigation they do not believe is warranted. Investigations undertaken after experts have concluded that nothing out of the ordinary is occurring are unlikely to produce noteworthy results.

Community members who raise concerns about possible clusters will frequently explain themselves in terms of a "common sense" feeling that something is wrong. Often, they are not inclined to wait patiently for an in-depth, methodical investigation by public health authorities.

An investigation into childhood cancer in Toms River, New Jersey, provides insight into the pressures that can work against balanced scientific inquiry. Toms River is the location of 2 "Superfund" sites, places the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has designated as a high priority for clean-up due to the presence of hazardous waste.

A nurse in a Philadelphia pediatric oncology ward noticed that many of her patients were from the Toms River area, and speculated that an environmental cause might be elevating the pediatric cancer rates in Toms River. When parents brought their concerns to the attention of state authorities, in 1996, the state evaluated the cancer rates and found no cause for alarm. A spokeswoman from the New Jersey Department of Health explained that the state, based on existing data about cancer rates, did not think a comprehensive cluster investigation would be economical or useful, because the numbers of childhood cancers were "not statistically meaningful."[14]

Nonetheless, the state moved to address community concern with a series of investigations into possible sources of cancer risk, including the Superfund sites. The parents brought a sense of urgency to the discussion. "This is a terrible disease, and these kids suffer.... These kids don't have time to wait. I have two other children, and I'm scared to death," said one mother of a childhood cancer victim.[15]

"In my heart and in my mind, I have no question. Now, it's up to the scientists to use logic and common sense to get at the truth," said Linda Gillick, chairwoman of a citizen's committee organized to address the issue and the mother of another cancer victim.[16]

Where parents were certain, scientists were not. The data on cancer rates that were available when community members first raised concerns did not show more cancer than scientists might have expected to be found in a random distribution in Toms River. Residents prevailed on their congressional representatives to ask federal officials for an investigation that state health officials said would be futile.[14] Ultimately, the study was undertaken as a joint effort between state officials and the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.[14]

As part of her group's effort, Linda Gillick traveled to Washington, DC to defend a special line-item allotment of $1 million for the Toms River study in one of Congress's annual appropriations bills.[17] Ultimately, Congress passed the item.

Concerned citizens thus had a doubly decisive impact on the issue. After convincing Congressional representatives to circumvent state cancer experts and launch a federal investigation, the citizen activists intervened again to increase the funding for the study over the amount allotted it in the normal budget process. At both junctures, public concern and fear overrode the decisions of administrators charged with setting public health priorities based on scientific findings.

The study, which took more than 5 years to complete, concluded that "no single risk factor evaluated appears to be solely responsible for the overall elevation of childhood cancer incidence in Dover Township."[18] The study found that most of the childhood cancer cases in the area have no explanation; the only supportable environmental link was that between prenatal exposure to contaminated drinking water and pediatric leukemia in girls.

Dr. Eddy Bresnitz, a New Jersey state epidemiologist, explained that even the narrow relationship found in the study might be a fluke. "Due to the relatively low number of study subjects and other factors, chance cannot be excluded as a possible explanation for the findings."[19]

"You can't have a child with leukemia living two houses down from a child with a tumor, drinking the same water and breathing the same air, and tell me they didn't get cancer from exposure," Linda Gillick told the New York Times. "That's my common sense speaking."[20]

Problems With Data Collection

Scientific studies linking elevated cancer risk to environmental causes have generally involved years-long latency periods between exposure to carcinogenic factors and development of cancer. The DES cases did not become obvious until more than 10 years after its use, and exposure to VCM in vinyl plants takes years to cause cancer. Even smoking and sun exposure, the two most widely documented avoidable cancer risk factors, can take half a lifetime to make their effect apparent. The latency problem surfaces in two ways in community-inspired cancer cluster investigations.

First, some of the people who were exposed to the environmental chemical under investigation may have moved away from the area before the investigation began. If they subsequently develop cancer in their new homes, their absence diminishes the perceptibility of the cluster. If they remain healthy, their absence from the area effectively increases the apparent magnitude of the cluster.

Second, it is possible that some of the cancer cases that occur within the investigated area may not be attributable to the local environment. If some of the people who are diagnosed with cancer moved into the area shortly before being diagnosed, steps must be taken to assure that their cancer cases are not attributed to local causes.

The most significant problem plaguing data about possible cancer cases is that cancer is typically not a reportable disease. The government keeps extensive, complete records of the incidence of many infectious diseases -- such as tuberculosis and venereal disease -- in order to track and counter potential outbreaks. For cancer, however, no such record exists. Recently, several states have begun statewide cancer registries. These are helpful to some degree, but they lack historical data, are plagued by physician compliance problems, and may not be able to keep accurate account of diagnoses made out of state. This last issue is particularly problematic, since many definitive cancer diagnoses are made at major medical centers for patients who come from out of state in search of top expertise.[21]

These problems can lead to under- or overascertainment of the number of actual cancer cases within a given area, and may also not be spatially neutral. If fewer cases are detected near a state border, for example, because parents are having their children diagnosed in the next state, this may lead to an artificial impression of spatial clustering.

In the absence of reporting requirements, the NCI runs a program called SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results), which documents cancer prevalence in a sample of the US population to determine the baseline levels of various cancers. The program uses information from hospitals, pathology laboratories, physicians, and death certificates to determine who has cancer, supplemented by population surveys. The SEER program has been in operation since 1973 and has quality control procedures in place that maximize the accuracy and completeness of its results. In addition, many states provide additional support for the maintenance of cancer registry information beyond that provided by SEER.

These programs are helpful, but long-term historical information about cancer incidence is only available for some parts of the country. The population surveyed by SEER -- a subset of the total US population -- is designed to be a representative sample of the national population. If the local area in which a cancer cluster investigation is conducted differs demographically from the national population, the expected cancer levels established by SEER may not apply to the area being studied.

The data collection problem is significant because the only way to determine whether the cancer rate in a community is abnormally high is to compare it with an expected rate. The expected rate forms the "denominator" in a prevalence figure, the normal level of cancer that is used as a reference to determine whether the rate in a given area is elevated. Without an accurate expected rate, there is no way to decide whether the level of cancer in a given community is cause for concern.


As discussed above, the nature of random distributions is such that some amount of clustering may be expected to occur simply by chance. It is conventional among scientists to regard an elevated cancer rate as "statistically significant" if chance alone would produce as much or more elevation less than 5% of the time. This is commonly written in the scientific literature as "P < .05," where P is the probability of seeing such an elevation if only chance is at work. With this criterion, if one examines the cancer rates in 100 neighborhoods, and cancer cases are occurring randomly, one should expect to find about 5 neighborhoods with statistically significant elevations.

Any unusual amount of cancer will tend to provoke concern, regardless of whether it stems from chance or a more concrete cause. As a result, the finding that there is a substantial elevation in cancer rates suggests that further investigation into possible causes may be warranted, but does not in itself establish that any particular cause is at work.

Geography as Symptom

When a group of people who live in geographic proximity to each other exhibit an elevated rate of cancer, the rate may reflect characteristics other than geography that those in the affected area share. Characteristics like similar diets and exercise patterns may tend to be geographically "clustered" because low-income people who eat disproportionately more fatty foods live near each other, because health-conscious suburbanites live in the same neighborhood, or because rates of smoking tend to differ from one community to the next. In any of these cases, a geographic cluster might be proved to exist even if there were no chemical carcinogen in the environment.

Proving a Negative -- Never Say "Never"

No matter how many possible environmental cancer causes are contemplated, it will always remain possible that some heretofore ignored chemical in the environment is elevating cancer rates. Thus, investigations of possible environmental causes for cancer can be extended almost indefinitely, as more and more possible carcinogens are examined.

The many ways in which a "bull's eye" can be drawn, problems of latency, the lack of reportability of cancer, the similar behaviors and backgrounds of people who live near each other, and the vagaries of chance all reduce the likelihood that investigations into proposed environmental cancer clusters will confirm environmental hazards as a source of human cancer. Such confirmation may be achieved in the future, and these problems are not reasons to dismiss efforts to identify environmental cancer clusters. But it is also not advisable to ignore these conundrums simply because their presence hinders efforts to find a cause of cancer.

This is a reposting of an article

Reposting this article - since it relates to an on-going cancer cluster investigation in the Carbon County Region

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Solar and Geothermal Training by Certified Instructors - IGSHPA and IREC Certification

B.F. Environmental Consultants Inc. has collaborated with Heat Spring Learning Institute to provide professional training course in Solar and Geothermal Energy Applications. The principle of B.F. Environmental Consultants Inc. is a licensed professional geologist and is an Accredited International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA) Geothermal Installer. The current course offerings include the Solar Installation Boot Camp Training (ISPQ Accredited by IREC), IGSHPA Accredited Geothermal Installer Training/Certification, Online Training Courses in Geothermal and Geothermal Planning and Design Training, and Open Loop/Standing Column Geothermal Applications. In addition to the valuable training provided by Heat Spring Learning Institute, Heat Spring has collaborated with Velocity Energy Partners to offer job placement to students.

For more information, visit the Heat Spring Learning Institute Website. To take advantage of a $ 25.00 discount on any Heating Spring Training Course – Make Sure to Use the promotion code "bfenviro” during your registration. You will get a $ 25.00 discount on training.

Discounts on Solar and Geothermal Training Workshops and Online Programs Program

Green Building Training Program Announced

Green Building and Design Training Programs

This program has 4 training objectives or paths. The first training option, Green Infrastructure Guidelines Certification Program, focuses on the development of a long-term view and cost analysis of infrastructural design as it relates to buildings, site assessment, utilities, stormwater/water management, landscape selection, and construction practices. The second option targets the design/ operation of high performance commercial buildings to maximize operational energy savings; improve comfort, health, and safety of occupants and visitors; and limit detrimental effects on the environment and is the Green Building Commercial Certification Program. The third training option focuses on Green Remodeling for residential construction, with particular emphasis on building evaluation, deconstruction, handling of hazardous waste, materials recycling and reuse, energy conservation, indoor air quality, use of environmentally safe products, design principles, and system planning and construction best practice. This program is titled the Residential Green Remodeling - Design, Construction, and Certification Program. The four training option is the Residential Green Building Design and Construction certification program this course takes a close look at green building in relation to main aspects of design and construction, including issues dealing with sites, landscaping, foundations, frames, exterior finishes, plumbing, appliances, insulation, ventilation, windows, finishes, energy management, and flooring.

Concentration #1- Green Infrastructure Guidelines Certification Program (16 hours)
This program outlines the range of "Green" possibilities available in Infrastructure. Special consideration has been given to urban variables, such as scale, age, and proximity. Consideration has also been given to the type of infrastructure work addressed in order to illustrate practices that promise the most benefits. It is for those involved in Infrastructure planning, design, construction and maintenance. After completing this course, you will be able to:

•Assess sites and identify opportunities to implement Best Management Practices (BMP’s)including soil testing, hydrologic analysis, vegetation assessment, and invasive species evaluation.

•Have working knowledge of a template for design and implementation of Green Building concepts applicable to cities and municipalities.

•Understand pavement lifecycles, pervious vs. impervious pavement, albedo or reflectivity of pavement, pavement materials, devising a materials program, and different material applications.

•Understand mechanisms to affect right-of-way construction by private utilities, technology to minimize pavement damage and degradation, and the upgrades to utility installation and maintenance.

•Understand integrated stormwater management planning, water pollution prevention, construction runoff prevention, surface pre-treatments for filtering runoff, catch basin inserts and water quality inlets, detention and infiltration structures, and constructed wetlands.

•Understand construction practices such as site protection, plan development, protecting water sources and planted areas, developing waste management and recycling plans, and minimizing construction and recycling impacts.

This program includes the following modules to give the student a complete overview of Green
Infrastructure Guidelines:

•Green Infrastructure 1: Introduction to High Performance Guidelines
•Green Infrastructure 2: Best Practices for Site Assessment
•Green Infrastructure 3: Best Practices for Streetscape
•Green Infrastructure 5: Best Practices for Utilities
•Green Infrastructure 6: Best Practices for Stormwater Management
•Green Infrastructure 7: Best Practices for Landscape
•Green Infrastructure 8: Best Practices for Construction Practices

Concentration # 2 - Green Building Commercial Certification Program (8 hours)

High performance buildings maximize operational energy savings; improve comfort, health, and safety of occupants and visitors; and limit detrimental effects on the environment. This program provides instruction in the new methodologies that form the underpinnings of high performance commercial and municipal buildings. Coverage includes how these practices may be implemented within existing frameworks of municipal capital project administration and facility management.

These guidelines promote careful study of all stages in project development to ensure the fiscal integrity of the commercial project. They also encourage the formulation of responsible budgets at the planning stage. Further, they help the design team to identify any high performance cost premiums (together with cost savings) and to justify them to the Owner’s satisfaction. This course is valuable to those in Architecture, Project Management, and Engineering who will likely be involved in developing applications for LEED certification for their buildings.

After completing this course you will be able to:

•Describe Green Building Principles and Practices as they apply to Commercial Buildings
•Recognize how to raise expectations for the facilities performance.
•Implement these improved practices that improve the capital budgeting design and construction practices, thus promoting investments that make economic and environmental sense.
•Implement these improved practices through:
•Comprehensive pilot high performance building efforts
•Incremental use of individual high performance strategies on projects of limited scope.
•Create partnerships in the design and construction process around environmental and economic performance goals.
•Save money through reduced energy and material expenditures, waste disposal costs and utility bills.
•Improve the comfort, health, and well being of building occupants and public visitors.
Design buildings with improved performance that can be operated and maintained within the limits of existing resources.

Concentration # 3 - Residential Green Remodeling - Design, Construction, and Certification Program
This 6-hour program provides a comprehensive treatment of Green Remodeling. Emphasis is on how Green Remodeling differs from Green Building. The unique aspects of Green Remodeling are treated in detail, with particular emphasis on building evaluation, deconstruction, handling of hazardous waste, materials recycling and reuse, energy conservation, indoor air quality, use of environmentally safe products, design principles, system planning and construction best practices. An overview of personal and building certification programs is complemented by a discussion of incentives available from government sources. This course is particularly valuable to individuals who need an overview of Green Building as it relates to remodeling of existing residences. This includes fields such as construction worker or manager, realtor, house inspector, landscape architects, interior designer, HVAC specialist, facility manager, mechanical engineer and civil engineer.

After completing this course you will be able to articulate and implement:

1. Green Building Design Principles and Practices
2. Sustainable Design Concepts
3. Deconstruction and Recycling Methods
4. Green Construction Techniques
5. Green Building versus Green Remodeling
6. Green Energy Management and Optimization
7. Certification Options for Individuals and the Home

Concentration # 4 - Residential Green Building Design and Construction Certification Program
Green Building is rapidly becoming mainstream, mostly due to increasing environmental concerns, a desire to develop healthier structures and increasing regulation from permitting authorities. This course takes a close look at green building in relation to main aspects of design and construction, including issues dealing with sites, landscaping, foundations, frames, exterior finishes, plumbing, appliances, insulation, ventilation, windows, finishes, and flooring.
This course is particularly valuable to individuals who need an overview of Green Building as it relates to new residential construction. This includes fields such as construction worker or manager, realtor, house inspector, landscape architects, interior designer, HVAC specialist, facility manager, mechanical engineer and civil engineer.

After completing this course, you will be able to:

• Describe Green Building principles and practices
• Discuss Green Energy Management and Optimization
• Explain Sustainable Design concepts
• Implement Green Building Design Principles
• Describe Green Construction Techniques
• Choose Certification options for both individuals and the organization
This course concludes with information on testing, certification, and accreditation, including a look at the LEED program and the NAHB Green Home Certification Program.

For more details go to
Green Building Design, Construction, and Sustainable System Certification

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

PA Law Suit Related to Natural Gas

This is not my work - The Source is
Original Article

"* Suit seeks to link fracking and polluted water

* Company says suit without merit, plans to defend

By Jon Hurdle

AVELLA, Pennsylvania, Nov 9 (Reuters) - A Pennsylvania landowner is suing an energy company for polluting his soil and water in an attempt to link a natural gas drilling technique with environmental contamination.

George Zimmermann, the owner of 480 acres (194 hectares) in Washington County, southwest Pennsylvania, says Atlas Energy Inc. (ATLS.O) ruined his land with toxic chemicals used in or released there by hydraulic fracturing.

Water tests at three locations by gas wells on Zimmermann's property -- one is 1,500 feet (460 metres) from his home -- found seven potentially carcinogenic chemicals above "screening levels" set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as warranting further investigation.

Jay Hammond, general counsel for Atlas, said Zimmermann's claims are "completely erroneous" and that the company is in compliance with Pennsylvania's gas-drilling regulations. Hammond said Atlas will "vigorously" defend itself in court and declined further comment.

But Zimmermann says he has evidence that chemicals used by Atlas contaminated his land.

"There are substances that can't be made by nature and that's what's in the ground," he told Reuters during an interview in his 12,000-square-foot house on a remote hilltop.

Atlas is exploiting the Marcellus Shale, a vast gas reserve that underlies about two-thirds of Pennsylvania and parts of West Virginia, Ohio and New York State. Experts estimate it contains enough natural gas to meet total U.S. demand for at least a decade.

The gas is being extracted by hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking", in which a mixture of water, sand and chemicals is forced a mile (1.6 km) or more underground at high pressure, fracturing the shale and causing the release of natural gas.

Development of the Marcellus, together with other major shale fields in Texas, Louisiana and other states, is being aided by advances in fracking combined with horizontal drilling, which provides more exposure to a formation than a vertical well and leads to less surface disturbance.

If Zimmermann wins his case, it would be the first in America to prove that hydraulic fracturing causes water contamination. Such a finding could slow the development and use of cleaner-burning natural gas that would reduce American dependence on overseas energy.


Baseline tests on Zimmermann's water a year before drilling began were "perfect," he said. In June, water tests found arsenic at 2,600 times acceptable levels, benzene at 44 times above limits and naphthalene five times the federal standard.

Soil samples detected mercury and selenium above official limits, as well as ethylbenzene, a chemical used in drilling, and trichloroethene, a naturally occurring but toxic chemical that can be brought to the surface by gas drilling.

The chemicals can cause many serious illnesses including damage to the immune, nervous and respiratory systems, according to the Endocrine Disruption Exchange, a researcher of the health effects of chemicals used in drilling.

Zimmermann's suit, filed in September in the Washington County Court of Common Pleas and obtained by Reuters, follows claims by residents in many gas-drilling areas of the United States that fracking pollutes private water wells with toxic chemicals and threatens widespread contamination of aquifers from which many rural households draw drinking water.

Although communities as far apart as Pennsylvania and Wyoming complain that their water has become unusable, they have been unable to prove a link to gas drilling. Energy companies refuse to say what chemicals are used in so-called fracking fluid, saying the mixture is proprietary.

Companies are not required to disclose the composition of the fluid because of an exemption to a federal clean water law granted to the oil and gas industry in 2005.

Many local residents have been deterred from fighting the gas companies by the expense of legal action and water testing. Zimmermann says he has spent about $15,000 on water tests and will spend whatever it takes to prove his case.

Rural residents who live near gas drilling say their water has become discolored, foul-smelling, or even flammable because methane from disturbed gas deposits has migrated into water wells.


Farmers in southwest Pennsylvania blame cattle deaths and mutations on local fracking. Other complaints attributed to tainted water include children's sickness, skin rashes and neurological disorders.

The industry says the chemicals used in fracking are injected through layers of steel and concrete thousands of feet below aquifers, and so pose no threat to drinking water. Spokesman argue there has never been a documented case of water contamination as a result of fracking.

On Zimmermann's property, the presence of water and soil contaminants that exceed EPA screening levels risks wider pollution of drinking water supply, wrote Cleason Smith, a consultant with Hydrosystems Management, which tested the soil and water, in a letter explaining the test results.

Atlas rejected Smith's report, saying in court documents that the findings were inadmissible.

Smith said further tests are needed to confirm the source of contamination but that some chemicals seem to come from fracking or related activity. Benzene, for example, is unlikely to be found on land that was previously forested, he said.

Zimmermann's suit says his land has become "virtually valueless" because it is permanently contaminated with toxic chemicals as a result of the 10 wells that Atlas has drilled.

The suit accuses Atlas -- which is able to drill on the land because it acquired the mineral rights from a previous owner -- of negligence. It is seeking an injunction against further drilling, and unspecified financial damages.

With a wife, an eight-year-old son and eight-month-old twins, Zimmermann, 66, worries about air and water quality.

He said he has invested about $11 million in the estate, which includes a winery and an heirloom-tomato business, but he now just wants to walk away because he believes it has been ruined by gas drilling.

He rates his chances of selling the property as "slim to none" in light of the proven water contamination.

"I don't want to live here any more," Zimmermann said. "I'm afraid of the chemicals.""

(Editing by Mark Egan and Philip Barbara)

This is a great article and individuals on all sides on this issue should follow. Personally, I believe the gas development companies need to take a hard look at the chemicals that are being used to attempt to use products that would have less impact on the environment.

Tent Caterpillars, Gypsy Moths, Hemlock Woolly Adelgid - Forest Pests in Wayne County, Pennsylvania

Tent Caterpillars, Gypsy Moths, Hemlock Woolly Adelgid - Forest Pests in Wayne County, Pennsylvania
The focus of the event is to update landowners on the pests affecting the Poconos and Wayne County, Pennsylvania- The Poconos Region. These pests include Tent Caterpillars, Gypsy Moths, Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, Emerald Ash Borer, and more


PRLog (Press Release) – Nov 13, 2009 – Tent Caterpillars, Gypsy Moths, Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, Emerald Ash Borer, Asian Longhorned Beetle, just to name a few. What is here now, and what is headed our way? Which "bugs" attack which trees? Will they affect the health of my forest? How do I know if I have a problem? Isn't there some way to stop this!

Wayne Conservation District, in partnership with PA-DCNR, is holding a Forest Pests presentation at the Wayne County Park Street Complex on Thursday, Nov. 19th at 6:30pm. The focus of the evening will be to update landowners on the pests affecting our area, as well as others that are headed our way. Landowners will also receive information on programs available to assist them with forest management. In addition, Wayne Conservation District has invited numerous area Forestry Consultants and Aerial Spray Applicators/Consultants to be on hand to discuss management, monitoring, and control options with landowners.

The presentation is free and open to forest landowners of Wayne County and surrounding areas. Doors will open at 6:00pm, with the program starting at 6:30pm. For more information contact Paul Reining, Forest Specialist at (570) 253-0930 or email preining@co.wayne.pa.us

Event Promoted by
Pocono Northeast Resource Conservation and Development Council

Pennsylvania Energy Service Provider Network- Funding Alternative Energy Projects

Pennsylvania Energy Service Provider Network- Funding Alternative Energy Projects
The Sustainable Energy Fund has partnered with Wilkes University and the Pocono Northeast Resource Conservation & Development Council to host a meeting to introduce the SEF Energy Service Provider Network to Northeast Pennsylvania.


PRLog (Press Release) – Nov 12, 2009 – On Wednesday, Nov. 18th from 9:30AM-4PM at Wilkes University's Martz Center (Room 214- Building 28), the Sustainable Energy Fund (SEF) in cooperation and coordination with the Pocono Northeast RC&D Council and Wilkes University Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences Department will be hosting a meeting/seminar for businesses, companies, and individuals on alternative and renewable energy and funding energy related projects.

The SEF is working on developing a service provider network to help deliver quality, cost effective sustainable energy projects to businesses, citizens, and non-profit organizations. The network will not only help to educate and inform local business and citizens, but will facilitate funding of local energy projects for individuals, businesses, and non-profit organizations.

The meeting/seminar will focus on:

9:30AM-1:00PM - The SEF's "Energy Service Provider Network"

2:00PM-4:00PM - Energy info seminar for business people and the general public

Note: For the morning meeting parking is limited and preregistration is required- Mr. Chris Flynn at (610)264-4440 ext.16.

The morning session is for businesses or non-profit organizations that provide alternative energy services, such as: energy audits, solar and PV Systems, wind generation, groundsource, geothermal heating and cooling, biomass systems, insulation and weathering services, alternative energy training, and other energy related services. The main goal of the morning session is to inform the service providers how this partnership business could streamline the loan underwriting process, provide working capital, and introduce a microloan program.

The afternoon session is for citizens, businesses, and non-profits that are end users of energy related products and services. The purpose of the meeting will be to educate and inform the public on the financial incentives, financing options, ways to conserve and use energy more efficiently, and to introduce the Energy Service Provider Network. The main goal of the afternoon session is to inform the end users with information on the benefits of the Service Provider Network and the potential for streamlining the process of funding an energy project. For the afternoon session- no on-campus parking is being provided.

For more information, Visit http://www.thesef.org or call Mr. Chris Flynn at (610)264-4440 ext.16.


For a Map of the Campus

Biomass Energy Project Assessment Workshop in Northeastern Pennsylvania

Biomass Energy Project Assessment Workshop in Northeastern Pennsylvania
The Pennsylvania Fuels for Schools and Beyond Partnership is conducting a Pre-Feasibilty Assessment Workshop for the use of biomass heating systems for institutional and commercial facilities in Northeastern Pennsylvania.


PRLog (Press Release) – Nov 17, 2009 – The Pennsylvania Fuels for Schools program is a statewide energy-use initiative aimed at promoting the use of local wood and biomass resources to provide reliable energy for Pennsylvania schools and businesses. Our main tasks are education, financial analysis support, and technical assistance. Physically, the initiative consists of a collaborative partnership of over 50 organizations and private groups that meet together regularly and work together towards the common goal of efficient, sustainable, and economical use of renewable wood and biomass energy in the state.

The Pennsylvania Fuels for Schools and Beyond Partnership is conducting a Pre-Feasibility Assessment for the use of biomass heating for institutional and commercial facilities in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The program will be a 1.5 day training session on December 17 and 18th, 2009 at the Clearfield County Career & Technology Center in Clearfield, Pennsylvania. The cost for the training session is only $ 10.00. The fee includes lunch and coffee on Day 1 and a copy of the workshop materials. The goal of the training session is to introduce the fuel for schools program and to provide hands-on training to determine if a biomass heating system is a feasible option for a building or facility.

For more information about this event, please visit

You can download a registration form and learn more about the program.

Your registration form is due no later than December 8, 2009 and the form should be mailed to the

Pocono Northeast Resource Conservation & Development Council
1300 Old Plank Road
Mayfield, PA 18433


If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email Mr. Ryan Koch (Ryan.Koch@pa.usda.gov) or Doan Ciolkosz (dec109@psu.edu)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Dredge Site Evaluation - Hazleton PA


Geologist critical of dredge site tests
By KENT JACKSON (Staff Writer)
Published: October 30, 2009

A geologist's report questions whether the groundwater monitoring wells at Hazleton's proposed amphitheater site will protect public health.

Geologist Robert Gadinski said the site has only one well capable of detecting whether contaminants from fill placed in the site are entering groundwater. He also said an increase in pH and the presence of arsenic in one well suggest contamination might be occurring.

Mark McClellan, consultant for the developer that installed the wells, said Gadinski and the opposition group that he represents agreed to the placement and depth of the wells before dropping a legal challenge. McClellan said Gadinski and the group, Citizen Advocates United to Safeguard the Environment (CAUSE), also signed a legal agreement saying that they wouldn't attack the groundwater monitoring plan. They raise a claim about pH that McClellan called bogus.

The developer, Hazleton Creek Properties LLC, installed five monitoring wells last year as part of a settlement reached with CAUSE in a case before the state's Environmental Hearing Board. CAUSE challenged Hazleton Creek's permit to reclaim the site - which is between Routes 309, 93 and 924 - with dredged material, coal ash and kiln dust.

McClellan said the groundwater system cost $2 million and Hazleton Creek posted a bond to ensure water monitoring continues 10 years after work stops at the site, where Mayor Lou Barletta proposed building a 20,000-seat amphitheater, stores and restaurants.

The state Department of Environmental Protection reviewed the groundwater plan, verified the surface locations of the wells before they were dug and then approved the system as built and tested, McClellan said.

Gadinski said only one of the wells is downgradient and capable of capturing water that would move through the 10 million cubic yards of fill or more that Hazleton Creek plans to bring to the site. The other wells are upgradient and may never show contamination picked up from the fill, he said.

Based on available information and a reasonable degree of scientific certainty, Gadinski wrote that one well cannot monitor the 3,200 feet across the property plus the shallow and deep mine pools at the site.

"This isn't monitoring but rather an attempt at making it look like the site is being monitored," Gadinski wrote. He also said it is reprehensible that the department sanctioned the system.

McClellan and Gadinski both worked for the department before becoming consultants.

Asked to comment on the report, Mark Carmon, the department's spokesman in Wilkes-Barre, said he forwarded copies to colleagues reviewing Hazleton Creek's latest application.

In the application, the company requested permission to reclaim the site's largest strip mine with dredged material, regulated fill and fine material from construction and demolition sites.

People have until Nov. 23 to comment about the application and they may attend a hearing about the application scheduled for Nov. 16 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Hazleton Area School District Administration Building.

In his report, "Technical Concerns Regarding the HCP Groundwater Monitoring System Hazleton City/Luzerne County/Pennsylvania," Gadinski said the pH at the downgradient well increased to 6.9 in a test on Jan. 20, 2009. He said the pH was 6.2 on Aug. 13, 2008. Rising pH suggested an alkaline substance entered the water, Gadinski said.

After the pH increased, arsenic was detected in the downgradient well and Gadinski said arsenic could become more soluble as the pH rises. He also said lead detected in one of the upgradient wells might show a connection to lead found in private wells off the site along Route 309.

McClellan replied that pH commonly fluctuates in mine pools. The tests done between August 2008 and March 2009 were to establish the background levels of contaminants such as arsenic and lead present before Hazleton Creek began permitted operations at the site, which formerly housed city landfills.

Hazleton Creek hasn't begun to mix dredged material with fly ash or kiln dust, which the company has approval to do under the terms of a state general permit.

Under another permit that doesn't require groundwater monitoring, the company has brought unmixed dredged material and regulated fill such as sand, stone, used asphalt, brick and block to the site.

"Everything Mr. Gadinski claimed here is erroneous, untrue and an absolute misrepresentation of the facts," McClellan said.

He also said Hazleton Creek is free to pursue damages against Gadinski and CAUSE for violating the agreement not to malign the groundwater monitoring plan.

When sending the report to the department, Tom Yurek, the president of CAUSE, wrote a cover letter saying he acted in the public interest.

"Note that this action is not a challenge by CAUSE to the PADEP or to Hazleton Creek Properties for the groundwater monitoring system," he wrote.

State Rep. Todd Eachus in the next few days plans to post a copy of Gadinski's report on his Web site, pahouse.com/eachus.


Monday, November 2, 2009


B.F. Environmental Consultants Inc has collaborated with a leading energy audit company to help train energy auditors. The training program provides an introduction to residential and commercial energy training and the educator offers a certification program. The energy training programs are provided online so you can learn in your free time from the comfort of home and are specifically designed to help people start their own energy audit business without spending a large amount of time or money in the process. An energy audit is an inspection, survey and analysis of energy flows in a building, process or system with the objective of understanding the energy dynamics of the system under study. Typically an energy audit is conducted to seek opportunities to reduce the amount of energy input into the system without negatively affecting the output(s). When the object of study is an occupied building then reducing energy consumption while maintaining or improving human comfort, health and safety are of primary concern. Beyond simply identifying the sources of energy use, an energy audit seeks to prioritize the energy uses according to the greatest to least cost effective opportunities for energy savings.

A home or business energy audit is the first step in making your home, office, business, or institution more efficient. An audit can help you assess how much energy your home uses and evaluate what measures you can take to improve efficiency. When a homeowner gets an energy audit in their residence, they are immediately aware of areas in their home that are wasting energy. They are also educated on how to reduce, modify, or replace trouble areas. An energy audit for a private residence should include a review of energy bills, evaluating changing of lighting, eliminating vampire power uses, implementing water conservation, and evaluting the heating/cooling system and insulation for the home.

The primary purpose of a business energy audit or commercial energy audit is to evaluate the energy consumption of commercial facilities or small business locations and make recommendations to eliminate wasted energy and lower monthly energy costs. In most corporate settings, upgrades to a facility's energy infrastructure must compete for capital funding with non-energy-related investments. Increased energy costs and new tax credits from cities and the federal government are enabling small business owners to affordably update their commercial facilities and reduce their monthly energy costs.

The "Comprehensive Commercial Energy Audit" training which focuses on lighting changes, major energy consuming systems, and water usage as these are the easiest areas for business owners to upgrade and provide the fastest return on their energy efficiency spending. The average savings shown from an EAI Energy Audit is approximately 30%. There are over 5 million small businesses in the US that are currently in need of an energy audit. Since BPI and RESNET only provide energy audit training for houses, this is an untapped market that you will be able to easily capitalize on. You can also earn a substantial income doing commercial energy audits because you will be able to charge into the thousands of dollars per inspection with no competition versus only charging a couple of hundred dollars per inspection in the residential energy audit marketplace.

For more information, please visit
Become an Energy Auditor

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Developer: New fill meets safety standards

Developer: New fill meets safety standards
By KENT JACKSON (Staff Writer) Published: October 20, 2009
Material used to reclaim a mine pit in a demonstration project at Hazleton's amphitheater site would meet the same standards as fill delivered there the past three years, a developer said.

William Rinaldi of Hazleton Creek Properties LLC and his consultant, Mark McClellan of Evergreen Environmental, said they proposed the project while searching for material to reclaim the 277-acre site.

"We basically asked the question: What is out there that is safe as regulated fill - a dry, inert material that could present a beneficial material to expedite the reclamation?" McClellan said Monday.
They proposed using a fine material reclaimed from construction and demolition sites, which they displayed in a jar. The material is gray and contains pebbly pieces.

In an application to the state Department of Environmental Protection, Hazleton Creek proposed using the fine material as part of the fill for a 60-acre pit on the property. The project will test whether the fine material can be used as mine fill statewide when mixed with regulated fill or dredged material. Mixtures of the materials also will be tested to determine if they can be compacted sufficiently to support buildings such as restaurants and stores that Mayor Lou Barletta envisions opening near the proposed amphitheater.
While the proposal is a research and development project, Hazleton Creek said the fine material would be tested to the same standards as regulated fill now brought to the site. Regulated fill includes soil, rock, stone, concrete, used asphalt, brick and block, and the company also has used material dredged from waterways as fill since starting to reclaim the property in 2006.

Dredged material became scarce after Hazleton Creek entered a contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to remove some of the substance stored along the Delaware River at Fort Mifflin in Philadelphia.
"To my detriment, I proved dredge is safe. I can't get material," Rinaldi said.He said he still might mix dredged material with fly ash or kiln dust, as a one state permit allows, if he can get the material.
Hazleton Creek also has permission to use fly ash as fill north of the mammoth pit, but Rinaldi said he seeks contracts with ash suppliers before using that material.  In the demonstration project using fine material, the testing procedures include sampling every 1,000 cubic yards. Seven pages list levels of metals, organic compounds and other substances that the results must fall below.

Tests would be done before shipment so batches that fail won't be put on trains or trucks for delivery to Hazleton. Ground water will be monitored at wells every three months, and the tests will be done monthly if contamination appears in the well beneath the pit.  The fine material originates at construction and demolition recycling centers like one that Rinaldi is opening in Philadelphia. At the start of the process, workers sort the material.

"They take out all the nasties. You've got to take out all the lead-based paint. You take out the asbestos. You take out the exit signs," McClellan said.

Workers also set aside board longer than 2 feet, bricks and blocks, according to the proposal that Hazleton Creek submitted to the state. Next bulldozers or other heavy equipment run over the material to crush it and then pour it through screens that block material larger than 2 inches across, the proposal said. Material that does reach Hazleton will contain lower concentrations of metals and other substances than a state permit requires. Also, the material will contain lower concentrations than the overburden rock and other material on the site. Lead in the fill material won't exceed the standard set for the site of 943 parts per billion, and fill used on the surface will contain less than 450 ppb of lead.

"So if we bring a material that is cleaner than what is on the site, how does that present a harm?" McClellan said. He also said the company agreed to pay for extra tests that the state requested for substances such as for gamma radiation and asbestos. Radiation could come from smoke detectors, McClellan said.
Hazleton Creek has spent $4 million on the Hazleton site, including $1.5 million on wells and groundwater testing and $2 million for a rail line. Rinaldi said rail decreased truck traffic to the site and reduced the carbon footprint of the operation. He and McClellan said Hazleton Creek's efforts will eliminate a hazard that the pit poses and will reduce acid runoff. The company also will push ashes and bottles from an old landfill into the pit and cover them. McClellan said the ashes contain higher lead levels than fill that Hazleton Creek will import, but a state agency proposed putting the ashes into the pit before Hazleton Creek became interested in the site.

Without the company's efforts, Rinaldi asked where Hazleton would obtain the money or material to fill the pit and reclaim the rest of the site for an amphitheater, stores, restaurants and other businesses. The 10 million cubic yards of material needed to reclaim the entire 277 acres would cost $80 million at $8 a ton for clean fill, according to an estimate that the company gave.

"I'm not saying I'm the answer to all, but let's say I left," Rinaldi said. "Where's the money coming from? The taxpayers are burned already."

With the city facing a deficit budget, Barletta has asked Rinaldi to speed up the purchase of the amphitheater site, which Hazleton Creek last year agreed to buy after five years through annual payments of $600,000.
"We had some talks. We're trying to work on some solutions. We want to see the city thrive," Rinaldi said.

The use of this material should include an environmental monitoring program that includes vadose zone monitoring, shallow groundwater monitoring wells, background water quality and biological monitoring, and stormwater or event monitoring.
Just my thoughts

Brian Oram

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pike County - Radon in Water Higher than Anticipated

Pike two-year water study
MILFORD, PA — A two-year study of the Pike County watersheds and ground water resources reveals ground water resources of good quality and good quantity.
The only negative concern centered on the amount of radioactive radon that is exceeding normal levels in 75 percent of the testing wells. Radon is the second-leading cause of cancer in the nation.
The survey, which was conducted through a partnership between the Pike County Conservation District (PCCD) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS), found that the water resources in the county are basically sound and free of serious problems, save for the radon.
The report of the survey results was presented to the Pike County Commissioners at their meeting on August 26 by Nicholas Spinelli, PCCD watershed specialist.
The survey results were gathered over two years at 22 observation wells throughout the county.
“Human activity is affecting ground water in the county, depending on the extent of development,” Spinelli said. Ground water is the sole source of drinking water in the county, he said.
None of the effluents measured by the survey exceeded permitted limits, except radon. “Sixty percent of the homes in Pennsylvania have radon in exceeding levels,” he said. “The test wells in the northern part of the county have higher levels and it tapers off as you go south.”
Rich Caridi, commissioners chair, said that it would be advisable to inform the Pike County Builders Association of the presence of radon and encourage them to take measures to mitigate any traces of the gas at construction sites.
“There are several mitigation systems that could be installed in new homes,” Spinelli said.
The survey provides baseline information that will help in monitoring any future contamination that might come from new development, he said.
“The main message from this survey is that what we do on the land has an impact on our drinking water,” said Susan Beecher, director of PCCD.

By Tom Kane, The River Reporter, Volume XXXV No. 36, September 3-9, 2009http://www.riverreporter.com/issues/09-09-03/news-pike.html

Radon in Water Testing - go to

1. The source of the radon is a combination of natural occurring radionuclieds in the consolidated and unconsolidated material.

2. The recommendation to check construction sites is not advisable, but the recommendation should be to encourage testing for radon in air and water as part of a real estate transfer and inspection.

3. IT would be advisable to evaluate the data based on both a horizontal variability and vertical variability and by bedrock type

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Company will test mine fill for radiation

Company will test mine fill for radiation
By KENT JACKSON (Staff Writer) Published: October 14, 2009



A company agreed to test mine-filling material for radiation after state environmental officials found deficiencies in its plan for a research and development project at Hazleton's proposed amphitheater site. Hazleton Creek Properties revised its plan to include conducting gamma spectography tests for radioactive energy on fill that it wants to put into a 60-acre mine pit.
The company proposed filling the pit with a mixture of dredged material, regulated fill and fine material from construction and demolition sites.

During the next five years, 1.4 million cubic yards of fill would arrive by truck or train at the site bounded by Routes 924, 93 and 309, according to an application that the company submitted on Aug. 24. On Sept. 23, officials from Hazleton Creek discussed the deficiencies in their application with state officials in Harrisburg. A week later, the company revised its plan to include testing the fine material for radiation, revising tests for selenium and asbestos and looking for radioactive hydrogen in well-water samples.

Through the project the company hopes to speed up work on the site that Mayor Lou Barletta proposed as the home of a 20,000-seat amphitheater and demonstrate a beneficial use for fine material statewide. In its application, Hazleton Creek said a laboratory would keep hazardous substances out of Hazleton by testing the material before it is shipped. The plan called for using GPS devices to note the placement of each load within the pit and for testing groundwater every three months. Tests would occur monthly if a well beneath the pit shows contamination Hazleton Creek also told why the project should last five years and involve 1.4 million cubic yards of material. The state general permit through which the company is applying requires applicants to get special permission for projects lasting more than one year or using more than 50 tons of material. "It is essential that a large quantity of material over a(n) expanded area be used to demonstrate that the proposed performance standards can be achieved," Hazleton Creek wrote in its revised application. The size of the project drew the notice of William Lockwood, a leader of SUFFER or Save Us From Future Environmental Risks, which challenged the previous plans of Hazleton Creek. The most egregious part of this is they're going to put in such an amount in here. If 50 tons is in here and it turns bad, it can be removed," Lockwood said. But 1.4 million cubic yards is too much material for a limited liability corporation such as Hazleton Creek to remove if something goes wrong", Lockwood said.

Lockwood also faulted the logic of saying construction and demolition materials now must be put in landfills, but mixing them with dredged material makes them OK to bury in Hazleton's mines. The mixture of construction and demolition materials and dredged materials hasn't been used as fill anywhere in the United States, House Majority Leader Todd Eachus, D-116, who is Hazleton's state representative, said when asking the environmental department to consider the potential risks of the project. Construction and demolition materials could contain hazards such as arsenic, lead, mercury, beryllium, asbestos and PCBs, Eachus said Tuesday in a statement. Eachus also said the volume of material amounts to 40,000 times more than the department usually permits in a demonstration project.

If emergencies develop, Hazleton Creek would the contingency plan that it developed earlier when starting to reclaim the site. The company's application listed other safeguards, such as testing material before shipping, verifying that manifests match deliveries, and sampling for methane and hydrogen sulfide gases. Inside the pit, fill material can contain 943 parts per million of lead, according to a standard set for the site, the application said. Nationally, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency set limits for lead in soil of 400 ppm in play areas and 1,200 ppm in other areas.

In revisions to the plan, Hazleton Creek said it would monitor blending of material that occurs away from Hazleton at its facilities in Bayonne, N.J., or Fort Mifflin in Philadelphia. Blending also can occur inside the pit with heavy equipment, the application said. The company also agreed to test every 1,000 cubic yards of fine material for volatile organic compounds as part of its sampling routine.
Fine material could be as small as 2 inches in diameter and would result after workers sort construction and demolition material, crush it with bulldozers and sift it through screens.

The process begins when workers remove asbestos, wallboard, lamp ballasts containing mercury and other items from construction and demolition debris. They also would set aside boards and concrete blocks. The remaining material would be processed.
Proportions of dredge, fine material and regulated fill would depend on the characteristics of the substances and performance standards, the application said. The materials would be packed into lifts 2 feet high. After reclaiming land, Hazleton Creek would bore holes through the fill to analyze whether the material can support buildings or other uses. While Hazleton Creek seeks permission to fill the pit as a demonstration project, the company already has approval to import different fill material to the site under two other permits.

One permit lets the company cover a former landfill at the site with dredge material. It can use regulated fill such as brick, block, stone separated from construction and demolition sites and dredged material while building roads and a rail line at the site. Another permit allows the company to combine dredged material with fly ash and kiln dust - fill that the company hasn't tried yet.
During the demonstration project, Hazleton Creek said it also would keep following the procedures set by its existing permits for testing dredged materials and regulated fill.

People will have a chance to comment about a research and development project at Hazleton's proposed amphitheater site, a state spokesman said. John Repetz of the Department of Environmental Protection said a notice about the plan of Hazleton Creek Properties tenatively will be published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin on Oct. 24. A 30-day comment period will start after that.

Comments about the research and development project of Hazleton Creek Properties can be directed to: Ronald C. Hassinger, Chief, General Permits/Beneficial Use Section, Division of Municipal and Residual Waste, Bureau of Waste Management, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources, P.O. Box 8472, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8472. The phone number is 717-787-7381.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Riparian Zone Buffer Program in Northeastern Pennsylvania

The Pike County Conservation District (PCCD) will be sponsoring a program on Tuesday, October 27th from 7-9pm to educate residents and municipal officials about the benefits of riparian, or streamside, buffers. The program will be held at the PPL Wallenpaupack Environmental Learning Center on Route 6 in Hawley, PA.

PCCD will host educators from the Stroud Water Research Center who will present the findings of their research on the importance of Riparian Buffers in preventing sedimentation to streams, curbing non-point source pollution, and providing nutrients to the aquatic food chain on a watershed-wide basis. Stroud Water Research Center Scientists study the physical, chemical, and biological processes of streams and rivers, the life histories of individual organisms, and the ecology of watersheds. Stroud is internationally acclaimed for its pioneering research on streams and rivers.

Riparian buffers are important for good water quality and help to prevent sediment, pesticides, and other pollutants from reaching our streams. Riparian buffers may include multiple types of vegetation along the stream. This vegetation, from grass to trees, is a major source of energy and nutrients for stream communities and is especially important in small headwater streams. Overhanging riparian vegetation keeps streams cool which helps maintain native trout populations and habitats. Buffers also provide valuable habitat for wildlife and are an important travel corridor for a variety of wildlife. Buffers slow floodwaters, thereby helping to maintain stable streambanks and protect downstream property. These, and numerous other benefits, will be discussed throughout the program.

For more information and to register, please contact Nick Spinelli at the Pike County Conservation District, 556 Route 402, Hawley, PA 18428 at 570-226-8220. Financial and other support for this project is provided by the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Inc. through a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act, administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Pike County Conservation District

556 Rt. 402 Suite 1

Hawley, PA 18428





For more details - visit

Online Distance Learning Programs

Stop the Rip Off - Energy Rates go up - 30%

Bad news today for Pennsylvania families. Because of deregulation and the elimination of state-imposed rate caps, PPL will be raising residential electric rates by nearly 30 percent in 2010!

But it isn't too late to stop this massive increase on household across Pennsylvania. Join me in signing our petition - tell Harrisburg to side with Pennsylvania families not the big utilities:


Today's Allentown Morning Call has the story - "It's Official: PPL Rates to go up 30 percent in 2010." And the details are downright disturbing:

“The 29.7 percent hike means a typical home will spend $378.72 more for electricity in 2010 than it did in 2009. The steep hike in electric bills will come as Lehigh Valley residents and businesses struggle with rising joblessness and falling consumer confidence.”

Such increased utility costs will have a devastating effect on Pennsylvania’s overall economic prospects, when budget shortfalls are already at critical levels…

“This is the worst possible time for consumers and businesses to take such a huge hike in their rates…the result will obviously be that some businesses will have to cut elsewhere, possibly layoffs. For consumers, because electricity is a necessity, there is only so much you can cut,” warned Bethlehem economist Kamran Afshar.

There’s something wrong when corporate utility giants are allowed to charge whatever price they want for our electricity and the only response from Harrisburg is silence.

Join me in demanding that we put preserve the state-imposed rate caps. Let's not let big utilities with no real compeition set their own rates, while Pennsylvania families struggle to get by.



This was a copy of an email I received. My personal call to action is as follows:

1. Implement a program to use energy wisely in your life.
2. Consider - weatherization programs, conservation measures, and improving energy efficiency. and get educated -Participate in training and education sessions on energy conservation and have an energy audit completed.
3. Consider the installation of alternative energy systems, biomass systems, or a ground source system.
4. For online training on alternative energy and conservation, go to

Join your local RC&D COuncil

Friday, September 25, 2009

Training Courses in Soil Science, Land-Based Wastewater Disposal, and Stormwater Infiltration

Wilkes University Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences and the Center for Environmental Quality is offering three 1-day courses on soil morphology, soils and wastewater / stormwater management, and introduction to hydric soils. These are field courses that are available for profession continuing education credits or university credit (undergraduate or graduate credit) that are being offered in Pennsylvania. For University Credit, an exit exam is required.

Course 1 - Soil Morphology- How to Describe and Interpret a Soil Profile
The one-day course will provide an introduction to soil science and soil morphology for the professional and educator. During the field component of the course, you will learn how to describe the physical properties of a soil, soil horizons, and make interpretations related to water movement and saturation.
Course Date - October 9, 2009 - (9:00 am to 5 pm)

Course 2- Application of Soil Science to Wastewater Recharge and Stormwater Management
The workshop will include a summary of the regulations related to land-based wastewater disposal and stormwater best management practices in Pennsylvania. The course will include a review of soil morphology, percolation/infiltration testing, and hands on field experience.
Course Date - October 16, 2009 - (9:00 am to 5 pm)

Course 3 - Introduction to Hydric Soils
This is an introduction to describing hydric soils, introduction to the use of the field indicators, and to the physiochemical reactions that occur with the soil and wetland ecosystem.
Course Date - October 23, 2009 - (9:00 am to 5 pm)

For more information, please go to
or call
1-570-408-4235 - Option 1
soils training courses Pennsylvania, field training Professionals, soil science, engineering, wastewater, stormwater

Mr. Brian Oram is a licensed professional geologist and the laboratory director for the Center for Environmental Quality at Wilkes University. In addition, we is the principle for B.F. Environmental Consultants Inc a family owned business based in Northeastern Pennsylvania and providing professional geological soils hydrogeological environmental consulting services since 1985.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Future Fuels and Pennsylvania - Fox

Fox Video on the siting of a carbon dioxide capture system and new energy resource based on coal in Pennsylvania. Future Fuels Director Albert Lin on the company's clean coal pact with China's Thermal Power Research.

Video at
Future Fuels and Carbon Capture in Pennsylvania

Western Pennsylvania oil, gas fields eyed for carbon dioxide storage

Western Pennsylvania oil, gas fields eyed for carbon dioxide storage
Original Source

Wednesday, September 23, 2009
The region's many oil and natural gas fields could become sites for the underground storage of carbon dioxide, which is one of the options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions that are harming the environment, a state environmental official said Wednesday.
The state is in the early stages of developing a database of potential sites that could be used for storing carbon dioxide captured from sources such as coal-fired power plants and cement plants, said Kristin M. Carter, section chief of carbon sequestration for the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources' Bureau of Topographic and Geologic Survey.
"All of Western Pennsylvania is a prospective area because of the oil and gas drilling over the past 150 years," Carter said.
Identifying sites in the state for storing carbon dioxide might take seven to 10 years, Carter said, given all the factors that must be considered. Those include geologic conditions, environmental risks, the availability of potential sites and who owns the property where carbon dioxide could be pumped underground, Carter said.
The process of capturing carbon emissions and sequestering them underground is being explored at the International Pittsburgh Coal Conference, where 450 representatives of government, industry and universities are exploring how to reduce coal's impact on the environment. The four-day conference concludes today in the Westin Convention Center hotel, Downtown.
"CCS (carbon capture and storage) needs to be part of the" program to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, said Anthony V. Cugini, director of the Office of Research and Development at the National Energy Technology Laboratory in South Park.
Finding where Pennsylvania can store carbon dioxide is important in a state that emits 1 percent of the world's human-caused global warming gases, and ranks third among all states in global warming emissions, according to a 2007 report from the National Environmental Trust, an environmental advocacy organization.
Pennsylvania has an estimated geologic capacity to store hundreds of years' worth of carbon emissions, at the present rate, according to a conservation department report issued in May as part of the project to develop the database. A 2008 law requires the state to study carbon dioxide sequestration, and a risk assessment report and business analysis is to be finished in November, Carter said.
"We have targeted deeper rock layers," Carter said, which are about 2,500 feet below the surface, far below the level of underground mine operations in Pennsylvania. Abandoned coal mines would not be good sites because of the proximity to the surface and potential for leaks, Carter said.
While no carbon dioxide emission sites have been targeted, Carter said there has been a case study on an area referred to as Summit Field in southern Fayette County.
The underground site is about 15 miles east of Allegheny Energy Inc.'s Hatfield's Ferry power plant along the Monongahela River in Greene County. The Summit Field in the Laurel Highlands includes state-owned land in the Forbes State Forest and is underneath small towns of fewer than 1,000 people, Carter said.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Announcements Related to Natural Gas Development - Frac Water Treatment

Please note that these are NoT articles written by Brian Oram or B.F. Environmental Consultants, but timely articles from the area.

Announcement # 1

"Major natural gas permit on hold in Wayne County
Buckingham Township, Pa. -
A natural gas drilling company will have to wait to at least December - possibly longer - for its operations in Wayne County to move forward until a critical environmental permit is approved by the Delaware River Basin Commission. A special public meeting on Wednesday, September 23 in Pike County regarding a one-million-gallon per day water withdrawal permit has been postponed by the request of the applicant, Chesapeake Appalachia. The commission also said on Thursday that it will not vote on the permit at its October 22 meeting. The commission’s next meeting is in December - stalling the natural gas producer’s plans in Wayne County, if the request is even approved then. Chesapeake Appalachia, of West Virginia, is a major leaseholder here and in other areas throughout the Commonwealth including Bradford County, which has witnessed a drastic upsurge in drilling this year. Bradford County, however, is under the jurisdiction of the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, which has approved quite a few water withdrawal permits for the burgeoning natural gas industry there. Commission Spokesperson Clarke Rupert said on Friday that a date has not been set for the postponed public hearing.

The permit, originally submitted by the company in May, has been revised since then after the commission received innumerable comments - for and against - prior to and at a public hearing held in July in Bethlehem, Pa. The permit is asking for a copious amount of water, up to 30 million gallons a month, from the West Branch of the Delaware River in Buckingham Township, a pristine area of the Upper Delaware that has been designated as “Special Protection Waters” by the commission. The proposed site would be located on a private property adjacent to the river. An estimated five million gallons of water is needed - for one drilled well - to bust open deep underground formations to release natural gas beneath the surface.

Chesapeake Appalachia cannot produce Marcellus Shale natural gas wells without water; the commission, a five-member, state-appointed board, regulates water quality and quantity in the Delaware River Basin, requiring any substantial water users to seek environmental permits.

Stone Energy Corp., of Louisiana, also submitted a water withdrawal permit for the West Branch of the Lackawaxen River in Mount Pleasant Township. The water, if approved, would crack open one natural gas well in Clinton Township and proposed sites in Preston and Mount Pleasant Townships - targeting the Marcellus Shale, a vast geologic formation that contains trillions of tons of trapped natural gas. Wayne County ‘s population resides more than a mile above it. Stone Energy Corp. and Chesapeake Appalachia are the only companies with leaseholds in Wayne County that have submitted water permit applications to the commission, according to the agencies records as of Friday. The companies would only be able to use the water for natural gas wells in the Delaware River Basin, which includes most of Wayne County".

Article Written by: By Steve McConnell, Wayne Independent, Fri Sep 18, 2009, 02:32 PM EDT
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Announcement # 2
Fracturing fluids spill into Susquehanna County stream
Dimock Township, Pa. -
"An investigation is underway into the spilling of 8,500 gallons of potentially harmful natural gas production fluid that also entered a stream and wetland in Dimock Township, Susquehanna County on Wednesday, The Wayne Independent has learned. “Frac gel” - a lubricating material used during the production process - poured out of a pipe that connected a chemical holding tank to a natural gas well, said Mark Carmon, a spokesperson for the state Department of Environmental Protection. Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., a Texas company that has a number of natural gas wells in the area, reported the spill to DEP on Wednesday. The company is responsible for the incident, said Carmon.

DEP is in the process of identifying the exact nature of the fracturing fluids involved in order to measure the level of harm posed by the chemicals for human health and local wildlife, he said. Natural gas production companies use an array of chemicals, sand, and millions of gallons of water to extract the energy commodity by busting open underground rock formations, which are located more than a mile beneath the surface. The procedure is typically called hydraulic fracturing, or “fracing.”
The spill occurred on two occasions: once in the afternoon and a second Wednesday evening, equating to an estimated 8,500 gallons of fracturing fluid illegally flowing into the environment. The fluid made its way into Stevens Creek and a wetland, spurring a massive clean up and biological impact investigation by the state environmental regulator and the state fish & boat commission.“We’re up there again today (Thursday). We’re doing sampling,” said Carmon. “The most important thing for us is getting this cleaned up.” He added that the investigation will determine whether private wells need to be sampled for fracturing chemicals. The chemicals can be harmful to human health, causing sickness and the possibility of various forms of cancer.

This would be Cabot Oil & Gas Corp’s second disastrous incident in Dimock Township since the company began extensive drilling operations in the township last year. A protective well casing failed at a different well around December 2008, causing methane to pollute the local aquifer. Due to that, neighbors in the area had their private wells tainted with methane, forcing some to drink bottled water. Their residences were also constantly monitored for the explosive yet odorless gas.
The spill on Wednesday occurred in the vicinity of a natural gas well named “Heitsman.” According to a Wayne Independent review of DEP records, Cabot has five natural gas wells called “Heitsman” - with four of the five incurring violations from the state environmental regulator.The violations centered on inadequate or non-existing erosion and sediment control plans, which prevent harmful chemicals, for example, from running off drill sites into nearby waterways. "
Article Written by: By Steve McConnell, Wayne Independent, Thu Sep 17, 2009, 04:10 PM EDT
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B.F. Environmental Inc. Partners with National Water Testing Business

B.F. Environmental Consultants Inc. has partnered with National Testing Laboratories (NTL) to provide informational water testing for private wells, springs, and other water sources. This relationship offers are customers access to world-class water testing service at an affordable price. This testing is for informational purposes only and not for a regulatory submission or legal action. By having the water tested professionally from a lab that uses approved and EPA methodologies, the testing results carry the quality and reliability of a certified test and provide information to target and identify potential environmental issues at an affordable rate. This service provides an affordable option for attempting to identify problems, design water private residential water treatment systems, and confirm the general quality of the water.

The featured water testing package is the Well Check Water Testing package. This package  our well water testing package that includes microbiological testing (Total Coliform & E-Coli) and the analysis of 19 heavy metals & minerals, 6 inorganic chemicals and physical factors. This package helps homeowners to determine what is in their well water and if a treatment system is needed. This package is a great follow up test for our customers who are using our Watercheck test package and need to determine if new treatment systems are working to correct any bacteria or metals issues that were detected. This product also benefits anyone who is looking to monitor their well water on a regular basis. There is no more reliable, easier, faster, or cost effective way for testing your drinking water". For more details follow this Informational Water Testing Program .

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hazleton firm offering free disposal of oil

Hazleton firm offering free disposal of oil

The Hazleton Oil & Environmental Inc., will be celebrating Oil Recycling Day during the week of Sept. 28 to Oct. 2.

Persons may bring their waste oil, antifreeze, oil filters and vehicle batteries and the items will be collected with no charge to the participants. However, people are reminded not to bring any hazardous waste such as paint or gasoline, it will not be accpeted.

The first 200 participants will receive a free gift at the time of the drop off.

The drop off site is located along SR309 between Hazleton and McAdoo. The collection process will run from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information call (570) 458-3496.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

River dredge material to reclaim mine land in PA

Transport of river dredge to reclaim mine land resumes
By KENT JACKSON (Staff Writer)
Published: September 10, 2009

Trains have resumed transporting material dredged from the Delaware River to mine land in Hazleton that a developer is reclaiming.

The developer, Hazleton Creek Properties, is removing 200,000 cubic yards of dredged material that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers stored along the Delaware at Fort Mifflin in Philadelphia.

Corps spokesman Steve Rochette said Hazleton Creek is shipping the material through options on a contract from 2006.

The original contract paid the company $21 million for withdrawing 500,000 cubic yards, which were delivered to Hazleton by truck and train through 2007.

Rochette didn't know the payment that Hazleton Creek will receive for shipping the next 200,000 cubic yards, which he said could go to Hazleton or to other approved sites.

So far this year, about 100,000 cubic yards have left Fort Mifflin on weekly trains, he said.

The Corps also plans to remove another 65,000 cubic yards this fall before closing the contract with Hazleton Creek, Rochette said.

While Hazleton Creek might remove 765,000 cubic yards of dredged material through its contract with the Corps, the company estimates reclaiming the land in Hazleton will require 10 million cubic yards.

Hazleton Creek also imported brick, block, stone and other materials sorted from demolition sites to Hazleton. The material helped build roads and a railroad line at the site.

The site includes pits and former landfills on 277 acres bounded by routes 309, 93 and 924. Mayor Lou Barletta said the land could house an amphitheater, stores, restaurants and motels when he enlisted Hazleton Creek as a developer.

Hazleton Creek paid the city about $750,000 in royalties based on the amount of dredged material delivered to the site in 2006 and 2007.

Then last year, Hazleton Creek agreed to purchase the land for $3 million, payable in yearly installments of $600,000 to the Hazleton City Authority. The authority keeps the deed until the payments are complete.

Acting City Administrator Mary Ellen Lieb said Hazleton officials knew that shipments of dredged materials resumed.

The state Department of Environmental Protection also received advance notice of shipments, spokesman Mark Carmon said. Hazleton Creek must disclose the source of materials before shipping them and also must test the materials, according to state requirements.

Hazleton Creek also has the state's permission to mix dredged material with fly ash and dust from cement or lime kilns.

To determine whether the mixture could resist water seeping through or around it, the department conducted tests at Bark Camp in Clearfield County. After the tests, the department issued a general permit allowing the mixture's use as mine fill at approved sites.

Carmon said he isn't aware that any mixing has occurred at the Hazleton site yet.

Because the mixture hadn't undergone long-term testing and because dredged material and fly ash can contain metals and other hazards, two citizens groups challenged Hazleton Creek's plans.

In a settlement approved by the state Environmental Hearing Board, Hazleton Creek was allowed to continue reclaiming land but had to install more monitoring wells.

Carmon said the new wells were installed, and Hazleton Creek supplies test results of the well water to the department's mining office in Pottsville.


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