Thursday, December 30, 2010

Marcellus Shale Drilling and Private Well Water Supply - The Marcellus Shale Factor

In Pennsylvania, private wells are virtually unregulated.  There are basically no construction standards, minimial standards for well placement, and virtually no requirement for testing or checking the quality of the water.  We have known that on average about 50% of private wells do not meet drinking water standard, yet we have not passed any regulations or standards to ensure private wells are sited and constructed properly and that the groundwater is of good quality.  In addition, we have not put inplace standards for private wells or even geothermal wells that ensure and help to maintain the quality of our groundwater resource.  

The Marcellus Shale is a Factor - even without Marcellus Shale we have a situation where we need to take action.  The action we need is:

a. Create Private Well and Geothermal Well Construction Standards.
b. Require some initial testing and screening of the well water.
c. Put in place a program to abandon or remediate wells that do not meet standards.
d. Put in place a program to help citizens that need to have their well remediated.   For example, a well with a problem with total coliform and e. coli because of inadequate casing can produce water that meets drinking water standards by installing a Class A disinfection system - But the well is a conduit for contamination. 

We all live downstream !

2011 Training Event - Getting the Waters Tested - the Marcellus Shale Factor - February 10, 2011

If you are looking for more information, please visit the following websites.

Wilkes University - Homeowner Outreach Program

Water Research Center - Free Information on Water Quality and Private Well Construction

Citizen Groundwater Quality Database in NEPA - Recommendations on Parameters for Private Wells

Free Publication for Private Well Owners

Need Help - Watershed Organizations - Potential Free Assistance
Assistance or Presentation on the Citizen Groundwater Database - Citizen Monitoring Programs

Questions on Baseline Testing

Self-Monitoring Equipment and Supplies
Monitoring For Well Drillers and Private Well Owners

Online Marketing and Networking in 2011- Getting the Word Out- Building Traffic Building a Brand

The value of the internet is that it is an excellant opportunity to get your message out about your organization, business, social efforts, or community message.  There are a number of options to help with this effort, the most expensive is to hirer a SEO, search engine optimization professional, or online marketing and promotion company.  This is great if you are a Fortune 500 Company, but if you are like most non-profit organizations and small business this is not realistic or within any budget. 

If you are on a budget and need to do the work yourself, the keys are as follows:

a. Develop Good Solid Content and Exchange Links with Strong Sites - An example of this is

This site generates about 2500 unique visitors per day - no paid advertising.

b.Create a Facebook Site and Friend Key Sites - a few examples:
Pocono Northeast RC&D Council
Water Research and Watershed Education Center
Carbon County Groundwater Guardians

c. Create a number of Personal or Business Facebook and Linked Sites
Brian Oram (facebook)
Brian Oram - Linked

d. Prepare a Press Release and regularly submit - There are a number of services, but I like PRWEB.  Most press releases are search engine index - great long-term exposure for a site.
Some of my press releases

e. Training- take some Internet Marketing and Search Engine Optimization Courses - very cost effective.

f. URL Submission - This is needed by try a Free Service First.

g. Create a Video for Your Business - Please Mention =Brian Oram to the owner - we went to school together.  Scot is an old friend and the service and quality is great.

h. Paypal - add a donate button to your site. (I am working on this effort to help support an online education site).

g. Register a solid domain name and maybe multiple secondary domain names.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Free Assistance to Watershed Organizations In Northeastern Pennsylvania - C-SAW Program

In 2006, Wilkes University become a partner or service provider as part of the C-SAW Program. The Consortium for Scientific Assistance to Watersheds (C-SAW) is a team of specialists who provide eligible watershed groups, environmental groups, or local grassroots project sponsors Program Management and Scientific Technical Assistance through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's (PADEP) Growing Greener Program. The service is at no cost to eligible groups. At present there are nine partners that are members of the C-SAW Program. In addition to Wilkes University, the other partners are: Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring at Dickinson College, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Pennsylvania Lake Management Society, Stroud Water Research Center, Pennsylvania RC&D, and United States Geological Survey .
The C-SAW program is operated by the Pocono-Northeast RC&D. The Pocono Northeast Resource Conservation & Development Council (RC&D) is a publicly supported nonprofit (IRS-501c3) organization serving ten counties in northeastern and central Pennsylvania. The goal for C-SAW is to transfer knowledge and skills to watershed groups or local sponsors thereby helping to build their capacity to plan and conduct watershed assessments, and conduct post-implementation monitoring. C-SAW can provide:

Specialists who can help identify solutions and assist your group in the development of monitoring programs, restoration projects, and plans for protection.
Training or conducting assessments and developing restoration projects and protection plans.

C-SAW and Wilkes University can also provide watershed organizations with assistance in watershed assessments and science related to:
Surface water and groundwater resources - Wilkes University offers site-based training for your organization.
Sediment Mapping and Analysis (Metals, Nutrients, and More)
Ambient and event monitoring - Real-Time Water Quality Monitoring
Biological and habitat assessment
Water Quality Testing -Quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) Programs
Surface water and ground water interactions and regional groundwater database.
Atmospheric deposition and Wellhead or Well Field Protection Plans
Agricultural and urban impact issues
Lake monitoring and Watershed monitoring - Wilkes University provides assistance with developing, implementing, and evaluating data (example Crescent Lake and Lake Carey Projects).
Stormwater Management - BMP Selection
Soils evaluations and training in soil science
Abandoned mine discharge, restoration, and treatment
Wetlands and Hydric Soils

In addition, C-SAW can point eligible organizations to assistance provided by other technical experts or service providers through Growing Greener. C-SAW is not designed to conduct monitoring or assessments for watershed organizations. Rather, C-SAW hopes to help watershed organizations do a better job in their own monitoring and assessment.
Who is eligible? - Parties who are eligible to apply for Growing Greener Grants are eligible to receive assistance through C-SAW. Those parties include:

Incorporated watershed organizations recognized by PADEP and established to promote local watershed conservation efforts

Counties, municipalities, and their subdivisions

County Conservation Districts

Charitable organizations or educational institutions involved in research, restoration, rehabilitation, planning, acquisition, development or other activities that further the protection, enhancement, conservation, and preservation of Pennsylvania's environmental resources.

In addition, the project must be one that addresses non-point sources of pollution, mining restoration, or oil and gas well plugging .
C-SAW assistance is available at NO COST to eligible groups.

To learn more - email or visit us at

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Wetlands Hydric Soils Training Courses Pennsylvania

Wetland Hydric Soils and Wetland Delineation Distance Learning Courses in Pennsylvania

We are offering a number of 1-day and multi-day training courses in soil morphology, wetlands, and hydric soils in 2011.  We are offering courses in the Spring and Summer 2011, plus we can provide Customized Soil Science Training Courses for Professionals (continuing eduation units (CEUs), PDH, or university credit).  The followng courses are being conducted through Wilkes University.

Intro to Soil Science and Soil Morphology -- April 1, 2011

Advanced Soil Morphology -- April 29, 2011
Introduction to Hydric Soils --  May 6, 2011
Soil Science and Applied Engineering (Web-Soils Training) -- May 13, 2011
Land-Based Wastewater and Stormwater Management Soils and Infiltration Testing -March 15, 2011
4 day - Soil Science and Soil Morphology Course (2 credits - Summer 2011)
3 day- Hydric Soils Course (2 credits - Summer 2011)
For more details go to - Training courses being conducted through Wilkes University.  This is the link to updated training opportunities.

Online Training Courses
B.F. Environmental Consultants Inc. has partnered with a number of eLearning specialists to provide over 1000 in the areas of environmental science, engineering, natural gas development, oil and natural gas, health and safety, drilling, industrial training, green building, sustainable development, solar, wind, biofuels, and alternative energy, environmental management, OSHA Training, wetlands, water well/ monitoirng well, GIS/ GPS, and much more.   For a short list of our online soils and wetland courses go to Online Wetland Training.

LEED and Green Associate Training

Courses also meet continuing education requirements for licensed professionals

Friday, December 10, 2010

Delaware River Basin Commission proposed Marcellus Shale rules- my thoughts

"By Sandy Bauers and Tom Avril

Inquirer Staff Writers
The Delaware River Basin Commission on Thursday proposed natural gas drilling rules in its four-state watershed that are tougher than those in the rest of Pennsylvania but that promise to do little to stem the intense wrangling over how to regulate the growing industry.

The commission anticipates as many as 10,000 wells could be drilled in the watershed it oversees, primarily in northeastern Pennsylvania and southern New York state, and its action inches those wells closer to reality.
A drilling moratorium that began in May stays in force until the rules become final, after a 90-day comment period, hearings, and likely changes.
The proposal aims to address concerns over the powerful technique called "fracking," which companies have used elsewhere in the state to extract the bountiful gas reserves trapped in a rock formation called the Marcellus Shale. With this proposal, the commissioners waded further into a debate with a raft of environmental and economic issues.
Fracking provides access to a fuel that is cleaner burning than coal, for example, and landowners say the lease payments from drillers enable them to maintain open space. Yet the technique, in which large amounts of water are used to dislodge gas deposits, involves the use of chemicals that can contaminate waterways.
As part of the 83-page rule proposal:
Companies would have incentives to drill away from forested areas and farther back from stream banks.
Contaminated wastewater from fracking would have to be held in tanks rather than open ponds, as is done elsewhere in the state.
Drilling refuse - called "cuttings" - could not be buried onsite, as Pennsylvania allows. It would have to be "beneficially used" or disposed of properly off the site.

Moreover, the commission would require water-quality monitoring plus water and wastewater tracking to keep tabs on the volumes used and where it all goes for treatment and disposal, said Carol R. Collier, the commission's executive director.
The rules also propose a $125,000 fee per well as financial "assurance" for the plugging and restoration of natural gas wells.
Among the more unusual steps, the commission would allow "natural gas development plans" for broad lease areas rather than individual wells. "

Another article

Portion of article posted - I am in the process of reviewing:

In general
1. I like the idea of no burial - but this is not a common practice for Marcellus Shale.
2. I like the idea of planning for regional drilling and permitting mulitple sites - allows for evaluating overall concerns.
3. I am not sure if the DRBC is duplicating things that the PADEP or other state agencies would handle.
4. I like the monitoring concept - but we currently do monitoring - Unless they mean establishing long-term monitoring stations.
5. Waste tracking and water tracing is part of the PADEP and SRBC system.
6. I like closed loop storage rather than open ponds- I think the industry has already moved in this direction.
7. The bond  or it is a fee- if it is a bond this is minimal and it is not their job or responsiblity.  If it is a fee - they better be planning to put some people on the ground and use the money in the local community.   Bonding contamination - this is the state and local agency requirement not the role of a river basin commission.

Draft Regulations

Full Text

Friday, November 26, 2010

What is hemochromatosis - Iron can make you sick Hereditary Hemochromatosis

Hemochromatosis is a disorder that interferes with the body's ability to break down iron, and results in too much iron being absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract.  When this disease occurs, the body can not get rid of excess iron and it builds up in the body, especially the liver.

There are two forms of hemochromatosis: primary and secondary.

"Primary hemochromatosis is caused by a problem with your genes or by receiving a large number of blood transfusions which boost your iron levels. Primary hemochromatosis is the most common genetic disorder in the United States, affecting an estimated 1 of every 200 to 300 Americans.
Secondary or acquired hemochromatosis can be caused by diseases such as thalassemia or sideroblastic anemia, especially if the person has received a large number of blood transfusions. Occasionally, it may be seen with hemolytic anemia, chronic alcoholism, and other conditions.
Hemochromatosis affects more men than women. It is particularly common in Caucasians of western European descent. Symptoms are often seen in men between the ages of 30 and 50 and in women over 50, although some people may develop problems by age 20. You have a higher risk of hemochromatosis if someone else in your family has or had the condition."

The symptoms:
1. Fatigue, Abdominal Pain, joint pain, lack of energy, bronzing colar to the skin, weight loss, reduced sexual drive, hair loss on the body, and over all weakness and low energy

1. Iron in your Drinking Water
2. Testing your drinking water
3. Contact your physican
4. Possible Dietary Changes and more
2. Iron overload disease

hemochromatosis, iron overload, iron in your diet, water testing iron

Geologist Geosciences Continuing Education Course Units for Professional Geologists Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Continuing Education Requirements for Professional Geologists In Effect for 2011-2013 Renewal Period. This is not my work- but a reposting from the Professional Association- We Need 24 units for the 2011 Renewal Period.
"Governor Rendell signed Act 25 of 2010 into law. Act 25 amends the Engineer, Land Surveyor and Geologist Registration Law to clarify mandatory continuing education ("CE") requirements. Section 4.5 of Act 25 requires that a licensee complete 24 professional development hour ("PDH") units during the biennial renewal period as a condition for licensure renewal. One PDH equals 50 minutes of instruction or presentation relevant to professional practice (except for practice building or office management). Up to 12 excess PDH units can be carried forward to the next licensure period.

Section 5 of Act 25 requires that a licensee begin to comply with the continuing education requirements during the current (2009-2011) renewal period and provides that the licensing board may begin denying licensure renewals during the 2011-2013 renewal period to any licensee that fails to accumulate the required 24 PDH units.
In an e-newsletter sent to licensees on May 14, 2010, the State Registration Board for Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists initially indicated it did not intend to deny licensure renewals beginning in the 2011-2013 renewal period. However, in a special notice posted to the Board's website on May 28, 2010, the Board reversed its position, advising that the May 14, 2010 information is out of date and should be disregarded. The Board now advises that 24 PDH units will be required, "no ifs, ands or buts," by the September 30, 2011 renewal cycle.
To ease the implementation of mandatory CE requirements for the 2011-2013 renewal cycle, the Board has decided to grant a moratorium from disciplinary action for anyone who has not completed all 24 PDH units by September 30, 2011, provided any and all PDH unit deficiencies are made up by April 1, 2012. The Board also advises that any licensee failing to make up the PDH unit deficiencies by April 1, 2010, will face disciplinary action. Also, deficiency credits will not be double-counted for purposes of meeting the 2011-2013 renewal period CE requirements.

Any CE credits you have earned since October 1, 2009 go towards your 2009-2010 renewal period requirements. If you haven't yet started accumulating your mandatory CE credits, we urge you to start now. Visit PCPG's website at today and check out PCPG's available course offerings. Also, licensees are responsible for maintaining records sufficient to demonstrate compliance with the CE requirements. Keep your course certificates in a safe place.

PCPG plans to offer an additional 12-15 seminar courses between now and September 30, 2011, with most if not all courses qualifying for CEU/PDH requirements. You will begin to see new courses being added to the PCPG Upcoming Courses and Events page on a weekly basis, and registration will open as details are finalized. "

For other Continuing Educational Opportunities - LEED-AP, Green Building, Alternative Energy, and other professional courses offered by Web-Based Training that is accepted by other states go to the following websites.
Engineers, Geologists, and Other Professionals (CEU, PDH- Engineers and other and personal workshop courses in soil science- plus training in soil science, wetlands, environmental management, and well drilling) (CEU, PDH)- Multi-State Approved- Engineers, Geologists, Surveyors, AIA, LEED, Green Associate Continuing Education - OSHA, HAZWOPER

Other Certification Type Programs
What is the Law

Thursday, November 25, 2010

LEED AP and Green Associate Training Certification Programs

B.F. Environmental Consultants Inc. of Dallas, Pennsylvania  offers LEED Training, LEED Certification Exam, Solar and Wind Training, and BPI Energy Auditor Courses and more.  We have collaborated with online training centers to make available quality distance learning courses in alternative and renewable energy, alternative energy training, energy efficiency, Green Building Design, LEED AP, LEED Training Courses, and Sustainability Analysis. This program is part of our workforce development, green career training programs, and our licensed professional training programs.

Prepare for both parts of LEED AP Building Design and Construction exam (Green Associate and the specialty exam) with this all-inclusive certificate and test prep bundle. Begin by learning the foundation of knowledge that you need to prepare for the LEED AP Building Design and Construction exam with 25 hours of online instruction designed and developed in coordination with the University of Tennessee. Then build your LEED AP exam readiness with a 1-year subscription to LEED Green Associate and Building Design and Construction exam study materials and simulated test questions.

Building Design and Construction & Green Associate Downloadable Study Guide (PDF)

Practice Exam Simulator & Online Terms Quiz

Flashcards (electronic and printable)

Helpful Study Resources

Design high performance buildings, reduce your impact on the environment, and prepare for the LEED Exam! This University of Tennessee Online Certificate is developed to deepen your knowledge of the LEED measurement system, broaden your sustainable design skills, start you thinking about green strategies, and put you on the path to integral thinking. It gives a comprehensive review of the exam point categories on the LEED AP Exam and is designed to enhance your knowledge, skills and leadership in LEED concepts and sustainable design.

LEED, Green Associate, and Sustainability Training

Green Building Design

Working as an Energy Auditor - the first line of defense on energy is conservation

The first line of defense on energy is CONSERVATION.  If you are for oil and gas development or against oil and gas development, it does not matter because the fact is that Conserving Energy, Understanding Energy Usages, and using energy wisely and efficiently is the quickest and most cost-effective solution for the short-term and long-term.  

For this reason, 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.

Residential Energy Audit Program.
Commercial Energy Audit Program

Other Energy Related Training - Solar, Wind, Geothermal, Building Performance, Radon, House Inspection, Green Build, and more,

Getting the Waters Tested and Your Water Tested Prior to Natural Gas Development

These are all the buzz words you may be hearing related to water testing:

Independent Baseline Water Testing
Third Party Sampling
Chain of Custody
Baseline Testing
A Water Check
Drinking Water Screening
A Well Check Up

I like to use the following phrases:
1. We need to Get the Waters Tested- this is because groundwater and surfacewater are connected and that we all live downstream of each other.   Surfacewater at one location in a short period of time becomes surfacewater at another location.  This is easy to see and understand, but groundwater at one location moves to another location, but the path and time frame may not be what we anticipate or understand.  

2. Groundwater becomes surfacewater - this is because groundwater discharge or baseflow is really what supports are streams and tributaries.  About 60 to 70% of annual stream flow is actually groundwater discharge or baseflow - the systems are connected.   Therefore, we need to test both sources and track change.

3.We all live downstream - this is a simple fact.  We understand that water flows through a stream from village to village, but we see to forget that groundwater follows this same process.  It may not go in the same direction or follow the same time line.  Therefore, a problem upgradient for a well is a future problem for a citizen downgradient - the other problem is we do not always know what is downgradient.  In general, groundwater moves very slowly, i.e., feet per year, but we start pumping a well we can significantly change the natural groundwater gradient and rate of movement.

4. Work as a community - groundwater quality is not an issue for a citizen but a community.  It takes a village to raise a child and to protect groundwater and our surfacewater resources it takes a community.

Mr. Brian Oram is the owner of B.F. Environmental Consultants Inc and actively involved with research in water treatment, water quality, and groundwater issues at Wilkes University.
B.F. Environmental Consultants Inc. provides environmental consulting, expert witness, water quality sampling, baseline water sampling/ testing/analysis, chain-of-custody services, and education outreach services to landowners and other organizations. The primary focus of our outreach efforts is to aid in evaluating and documenting baseline environmental conditions, evaluate potential for environmental impact, educate citizens on the natural gas development, and assist municipalities/ citizen groups in planning related activities.

If you need baseline testing related to Marcellus Shale- Go Here.
If you are interested in being involved with the Wilkes University Citizen Database for Northeastern Pennsylvania or need information on suggested parameters by the University- Go Here.

Informational Water Testing Services
Point of Use Water Treatment Systems
Test the Water Yourself

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

DEP Investigating Lycoming County Fracking Fluid Spill at XTO Energy Marcellus Well Spill Impacted Spring, Unnamed Tributary to Sugar Run

DEP Investigating Lycoming County Fracking Fluid Spill at XTO Energy Marcellus Well


Dept. of Environmental Protection
Commonwealth News Bureau
Room 308, Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg PA., 17120
CONTACT: Daniel T. Spadoni, Department of Environmental Protection Northcentral Regional Office

DEP Investigating Lycoming County Fracking Fluid Spill at XTO Energy Marcellus Well
Spill Impacted Spring, Unnamed Tributary to Sugar Run

WILLIAMSPORT -- The Department of Environmental Protection is continuing to investigate a large hydraulic fracturing fluid spill at an XTO Energy natural gas well pad in Penn Township, Lycoming County, which was first discovered last week.

“This spill was initially estimated at more than 13,000 gallons by the company and has polluted an unnamed tributary to Sugar Run and a spring,” said DEP Northcentral Regional Director Nels Taber. “There are also two private drinking water wells in the vicinity that will be sampled for possible impacts.”

A DEP inspector discovered the spill while inspecting the well pad. The inspector found that the bottom valve on a 21,000-gallon fracking fluid tank was open and discharging fluid off the well pad. No one else was present at the pad, which has one producing Marcellus well.

The DEP inspector was able to close the valve and XTO Energy officials were immediately contacted about the spill. The company has not provided any explanation for the open valve.

XTO Energy hired cleanup contractor Minuteman Response, which has been on-site for several days vacuuming spilled fluids and mobilizing equipment to excavate soil. A fence also has been installed to prevent a neighbor’s cattle from grazing in the impacted area of the pasture.

DEP inspectors have collected samples of nearby soil samples and surface water. Initial field meter readings showed elevated levels of conductivity and salinity in the spring and unnamed tributary.

Conductivity measures water’s ability to carry an electric current, while salinity measures the dissolved salt content in water. Elevated levels of both are indications that spilled fracking fluid is present.

A notice of violation letter will be sent to XTO Energy this week and the company will be required to remediate the site properly.

For more information, call 570-327-3659 or visit

1. What was the chemical?
2. What was the resulting in stream values?
3. Drilling Pads need to be self contained systems with mulitple contaminant systems.
4. Also - seems to support the need for community monitoring using conductivity and pH based sensors.
5. Also - supports the need for on-site inspectors or third party inspectors paid by Companies.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What is Your Water Foot Print? Lets Start Conserving Water

I was aware of looking at my carbon footprint - but I never realized how much water I use.  I used the H2O Conserve Water Footprint Calculator to calculate the quantify of water I use.
The Calculator estimates the total amount of water you use, or your water footprint, using information you provide about your water use and habits. The Calculator takes into account not only the water used in your home, but also the water used to produce the food you eat, the products you buy, the energy you consume, and even the water saved when you recycle. You may not drink, feel or see this virtual water, but it makes up the majority of your water footprint.

Based on your water use information, the Water Footprint Calculator:

Provides a general assessment of your direct water and virtual water use, as well as a comparison to the national average of the combined direct and virtual water use of U.S. residents as developed by H2O Conserve.   Virtual water use - this is the hidden water use that goes into transporting, harvesting, developing, and manufacturing products.

Shows your total household water use, as well as the average use per person in your household.

For US residents go here

Note:The H2O Conserve Water Calculator is a short survey that will get you thinking about how much water you use, and how water connects to almost every aspect of your life. Your responses and results are not monitored or recorded—they are for your use only. If you leave the calculator, you can return without having to re-enter your answers.

You've completed the calculator, here are your results::

Your total household water use is 1,199.70 gallons per day
Your individual water use is 1,199.70 gallons per day

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Clean Water Bill EPA Role We all Want Clean Water

This is from the following post "

This is not my work - but a very good article"

"Clean water bill might get shot down, bay group fears

At issue are statements by farm associations about Chesapeake Bay plan.

The head of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation is worried that the U.S. Senate might vote against what he deems the most significant piece of legislation ever written to protect the bay based on “inaccurate” statements from organizations representing farmers.
William Baker, president and CEO of the foundation, recently sent a letter to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in response to a letter that the American Farm Bureau Federation and other agricultural businesses and associations sent to all senators last month urging them to vote against any bills to which the Chesapeake Bay legislation is attached.
The federation letter said Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, might attempt to attach Senate Bill 1816, the Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act, to a must-pass bill during the lame-duck session of Congress.

The legislation requires six states, including Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia, to submit plans to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to significantly reduce the discharge of phosphorus, nitrates and sediment into tributaries to the bay.
The methods of reduction are expected to mostly affect farmers, who expect that states will be forced to require them to implement costly conservation plans to reduce fertilizer and sediment runoff from their farms. The bill also provides cost-share funding to help farmers pay for implementation of their conservation efforts.
The federation letter states Senate Bill 1816 gives the EPA authority to regulate the flow of water and land use in states and can require state taxpayers to fund and implement “very stringent controls, without regard to cost or feasibility” after a state sends the EPA an implementation plan for nutrient and sediment reduction.
Baker responds that the bill does not automatically give the EPA authority or control currently reserved for states. The EPA can take responsibility for implementation of a plan only if a state voluntarily submitted a plan and then failed to meet its commitments. “And even then, should EPA step in, its actions are limited to those which the state had already agreed in its plan,” Baker wrote.
The federation claims the bill is not a regional bill that affects only six states “with only local consequences and only benign effect for the rest of the country.”

Baker responds that the bill is regional, affecting only the section of the Clean Water Act that deals with the Chesapeake Bay."

Overall - my thoughts
1. The Chesapeake Bay Nutrient Program is making some unreasonable and non-science based recommendations - one example is the regulations related to nitrate-nitrogen - not just in agricultural waste.  In some cases, we are worrying about nittrates when they are not the growth limiting nutrient.

2. Ok - if PA does not figure out a way to implement an unfunded mandate -then EPA will . What?

3. Who how Chesapeake Bay - concentrate on Chesapeake Bay - a lot of development on the water, creating thermal pollution and much more.

4. I am all for sediment and phosphate control - this is critical- but if we are not ready to pay for the real price of milk and other foods - how can we ask the farmer to do more without being compensated.    Ok for Cost Share - how about the other half of the cost share come from the businesses in the Chesapeake Bay and other National Environmental Organizations.

5. How about all the existing developments with no stormwater management or infrastructure.

6. The bill does not have regional impact - when you impact agriculture this is a national impact. 

7. Also - are we ready for EPA (Federal Agencies) to control local land use and development.

8.Institute a ban on phosphorus cleaning agents within three years after the enactment of this Act- good - also we should implement a ban on phosphates for the sequestering in drinking water.

Just my thoughts - I am ok with improving stream quality and reducing impact and fixing problems. 

We could have used 11 million dollars from Pennvest to do a lot more than just provide drinking water to a few homes.

The Citizens should have clean, safe water, but citizens also have the right to make a living.  We will not get anywhere if we limit the cost of food, squeeze the farmer, so we get the side benefits.  The business community/environmental community in the Bay needs to work with the business community/environmental community in the watershed and solve this in some other form then top down regulation.

Senate Bill 1816

Sunday, November 7, 2010

County Protects Important Watershed and Reservoirs in Northeastern Pennsylvania

"County’s steps to protect drinking water are touted

Urban calls land buys near reservoirs from ’03-’06 even more important in Shale era.


Though threats to Luzerne County’s drinking water from natural gas drilling have drawn the concern and ire of some residents, a county commissioner said the county has already taken steps to protect the drinking water of more than 70,000 county residents.
Times Leader Photo StoreBetween 2003 and 2006, Luzerne County used $4.2 million of a $5 million bond to purchase several thousand acres of property near the Crystal Lake and Ceasetown reservoirs.
County Commissioner Stephen A. Urban, the only sitting commissioner elected then, said the county purchased the property to protect the county’s natural resources.

“With the gas drilling and everything else going on, I think this is one thing we don’t have to be concerned about,” Urban said.

About 40,000 acres of land around the reservoirs was transferred in 1996 to Theta Land Corp. following the sale of Pennsylvania Gas and Water’s water division to Pennsylvania American Water Co. Theta was later sold to a private buyer, whom a Dauphin County grand jury in 2008 revealed to be Louis DeNaples, of Dunmore.
In 2003 the county bought 2,600 acres surrounding Crystal Lake and in 2008 transferred ownership of the land to the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The county also purchased about 1,000 acres around the Ceasetown Reservoir and Pike’s Creek, which – combined with land owned by the water company and state forest land – form a sizeable buffer around two of the county’s primary water supplies.

Urban said the development of the Marcellus Shale was not on the county’s radar at the time it purchased the land, but that the influx of gas drillers has made the need to protect municipal drinking water all the more urgent.

He said state and federal regulations protecting water supplies lack teeth because they do not provide for buffers around reservoirs and the creeks and streams feeding into them.

“Our legislators have been asleep, the Democrats and the Republicans,” Urban said. “They haven’t focused on protecting the land around reservoirs. … They seem to act only when a crisis develops. There’s no forward thinking. I think the county was forward thinking in this purchase.”

Though Theta maintained wind rights and the timber rights through 2028, mineral and gas rights were never severed, meaning the land remains off limits to drillers without the county’s approval.

The same is not true of one of the county’s other major reservoirs, the Huntsville Reservoir, Lehman Township, where several private, waterfront properties have been leased for natural gas drilling by EnCana Natural Gas.

Urban said he doesn’t know why the land around Huntsville Reservoir had been developed, but said he supports the county purchasing more land around the reservoir to create a buffer should the land ever go up for sale.

Pennsylvania American Water’s Ceasetown plant provides water for about 67,500 county residents in 16 municipalities, including the cities of Wilkes-Barre and Nanticoke.

The Crystal Lake plant provides water to 14,000 in Mountain Top and Rice, Fairview and Wright townships."
The above is not my work, the following are my comments:

1. We need to develop detailed watershed management and land developing plan - this would include detailed sourcewater protection plans for all reservoirs and major aquifers.

2. We need to put out signs and train individuals driving truck that contain hazardous chemicals, like gasoline, oil, fuels, etc about the proper response to a leak in these areas.  If possible, we should divert vehicles containing large quantities of potentially dangers chemicals to roadways that would less likely impact the reservoir directly.

3. We should limit land development by purchasing all rights including wind, development, gas, etc.  This land should be put in the hands of the people.   A portion of the funding to protect these lands should come from the Water Company that uses the water to serve residents in the vicinity of the reservoir and outside the watershed.

4. We should establish a real-time and citizen based watershed monitoirng effort and train citizens in the proper disposal of hazardous waste and pharmalogical waste.

5. We should limit the use of road salt and deicing agents in areas that are highly vulnerable to impact.

6. If necessary, we should install detention basins upgradient of the reservoir in cases where there is an activity that may have a direct impact on the reservoir.

7. There may be a need to change the practices of individuals and businesses that currently exist in areas within the watershed that are vulnerable to contamination.

Williams Companies Raven Creek Drilling Site - Benton, PA

Follow this link to a board that provides information on the progress on the gas drilling exploration in the Raven Creek area near Benton PA. Three wells are proposed and site work has been done on two of the well site locations as of October 2009. Starting in 2008, Castle Rock, Colo.-based Citrus Energy took out 185 leases in Fairmount and Lake townships in Luzerne County and about 443 leases in Sugarloaf Township and Benton in Columbia County, records show. But in April Citrus transferred its holdings in both counties to Williams Production Appalachia LLC, one of the Williams Companies.

Williams Production Appalachia, LLC. 1000 Town Center, Suite 130 Canonsburg, PA. ,Zip Code 15317
Great Website - This is a great example how to get information out the public and royality Owners.

Support the Citizens Groundwater Surfacewater Database

Get the Waters Tested

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Heat Spring Learning Institute Promotion Discount Code - Discount Education for Alternative Energy

The B.F. Environmental Consultants has partnered with Heat Spring Learning Institute to offer an Accredited Geothermal Installer, Solar, BPI, and other training courses. HeatSpring Learning Institute is an education company focused on providing clean energy training to building professionals.  Heat Spring provides convenient, high quality education and training and helps small and large business grow with the clean energy industry.   The company's course offerings range from solar and geothermal basics to advanced technical courses for building designers and system installers.  The courses are taught by certified and approved instructors and meet all or part of the requirements to become certified.  In some cases, the courses meet the requirements for continuing education credits for licensed professional and AIA (architects).

For more information - please visit the course website at
Use discount code "bfenviro"

For other certification and training courses, go to

Scarce Public Infrastructure Dollars To Replace Drilling-Affected Water Supplies In Dimock

"Home › Gas Industry › Scarce Public Infrastructure Dollars To Replace Drilling-Affected Water Supplies In Dimock

By Feed: PA Environment Digest in Gas Industry

Thu, 11/04/2010 - 15:41

The PA Infrastructure Investment Authority will vote on November 9 on whether to fund a $11.7 million drinking water project to replace water supplies affected by Marcellus Shale drilling in Dimock, Susquehanna County.

The proposed financing package would give an $11.5 million grant and a $172,000 loan to Pennsylvania American Water to install 5.4 miles of transmission line and 7 miles of distribution line to provide the option of public water to 18 homes with wells affected by drilling. The grant would be one of the largest ever given by PennVEST for a single project.

In an open letter to residents of Dimock in October, Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger said, "No one in Dimock or Susquehanna County will pay for it and local taxes will not be increased as the result of it. Residents along Route 29 will have the option to tap into the line if they so choose. No one will be forced to hook up to the new public water supply."

Secretary Hanger also said in a letter to Senators Mary Jo White (R-Venango) and Don White (R-Indiana), "All homeowners who choose to accept the public water system will receive the same monthly water bill as other Pennsylvania American Water Company customers." PennVEST estimates the average annual water bill on the system to be $724.

In that same letter, Secretary Hanger said the Commonwealth will "take all actions necessary and appropriate" seek to recover the cost of the project from Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation which DEP holds responsible for drinking water well contamination in the area.

Residents in Dimock this week protested the construction of the water line in a meeting with Secretary Hanger saying other less expensive options like drilling new wells, well reconstruction or adding filtration systems would solve the problem.

Opponents of the proposed water line are bombarding legislators and members of the Board of PennVEST with emails and petitions asking that funding not be approved. Senators Ray Musto (D-Luzerne), Don White (R-Indiana) and Reps. Bud George (D-Clearfield) and Dick Hess (R-Blair) serve on the Board.

The PennVEST Board meeting will be held in Room 60 East Wing of the Capitol Building starting at 10:30. It had been scheduled for its usual location at the Governor's Residence."
(Not my work - but my comments at the bottom)


DEP Secretary Meets With Affected Families In Dimock

From this article- Items tested for in the water supplies included methane, iron, manganese, barium and aluminum- The problem is what are the levels - all of these parameters can be present and detectable and some are naturally present at elevated levels, i.e, iron/manganese and some times methane.  How about some numbers - what was the before?  what is the after?.
DEP Chief Confronted, Bombarded With Questions In Dimock
The problem can not be fixed until all are fixed and groundwater remediated.
Link: DEP: Dimock Residents Will Be Provided Permanent Replacement Water Supply
This article suggests the only real problem is methane - if this is the case - a water line probably is not needed, but this could be addressed through individual treatment systems or a small community system.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Wayne County Natural Gas Perspectives

This is not my work
Article Source :

"Palmyra (W) Twp., Pa. — Township officials from Wayne County at their recent fall convention, heard an unashamed message about how natural gas drilling can rescue the local economy.

Thomas J. Shepstone addressed the Wayne County Association of Township Officials’ 98th annual convention, held at Lukan’s Farm Resort. Shepstone operates a planning and market research consulting business based in Honesdale.

Shepstone began by painting a dire picture of the Wayne County area economy. He stressed that the boom years are past in the Northeast. “Wayne County and the area is in deep trouble,” he stated. “The economy is dead in the water. There is zero growth other than the federal prison, in the last couple years.”

Income is 30 to 60 percent below other areas in the region. School enrollment is dropping. We have a growing senior population, and we are in need of attracting younger people and families to stay in the area, he said. Construction is minimal. The national economy has resulted in fewer people migrating here from New York City.

“The good news,” Shepstone continued, “is that natural gas can address all this.”

He noted that lease bonuses may have already contributed $200 million to $250 million to the county’s economy. Royalty income in Sullivan County has been as little as $5000/acre, per year. This figure could be doubled for others. With at least 200,000 acres where gas may be profitably drilled in northern Wayne, Shepstone figured that even if a tenth of that was developed, the county economy could see about $200 million a year.

In addition to benefiting lease holders, a parade of real jobs will be supported, from hotels and services to welders and truckers.

A reasonable severance tax levied by the state, he added, should be allocated for townships and the Pa. DEP to directly address impacts of the gas industry. A concern exists that the taxes would support environmental special interest groups that would work against the gas industry.

With the much larger Utica Formation beneath the Marcellus Shale, Shepstone said the potential exists for a “lifetime of opportunity” from Pennsylvania’s gas deposits.

“Don’t be intimidated by special interests,” he told the supervisors, “that want to keep this area their playground” and don’t care about the local jobs that would be generated.

Referring to the “environmental hysteria,” he said he was concerned that the staff of the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) favor these special interest groups. The DRBC commissioners, however, want to do it right, he added, but it may be a “torturous” path. DRBC is expected to release their long-awaited gas industry regulations this week.

The impact of the gas industry, Shepstone stated, would be minimal thanks to growing technology. One well can serve 640 acres, or one square mile. A well pad taking only five acres of land, can serve two to five square miles. Horizontal drilling can access gas Without disturbing natural areas that are particularly sensitive.

Water can be recycled at well pads, drawing down on the amount of water needed to be extracted, and thus less water impact and less impact from trucking. The technology, he said, “is racing ahead of environmental issues.”

Despite protests heard, he stated that there are no cases in the US where fracking was shown to spoil water resources. Pennsylvania currently has about 121,000 active wells.

Township officials shouldn’t be intimidated when questioned if they have an interest in gas leasing at stake. “No apology is needed, as long as you disclose where you’re at,” he said.

Asked about the “million gallons” of water needed for fracking or each well, Shepstone reminded that this isn’t really that large a number. Golf courses, he said, can use more than that.

He advised township supervisors who have zoning, to treat gas drilling as a “Principal Permitted Use” which carries certain standards. Townships, he said, are open to law suits, should they try and apply conditions on drilling operations. On the other hand, zoning can direct what areas in the municipality where drilling can occur.

Townships also do well to regulate related activities such as compressor stations and work camps, he added. Negotiate with the gas companies about repairing roads affected by their trucks.

“That’s where the real impact is, not this phony baloney about fracking,” Shepstone declared.

“I’m not neutral,” Shepstone underlined."

1. Think the actual number for royality income was 5 to 10 K per acre.
2. Hoping the royality owners consider supporting regional economic and environmental issues and help to protect the regional surface and groundwater quality - by installing and improving existing private wells and stormwater infrastructure

Just my thoughts

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Geology of PA and Groundwater Baseline Water Testing Citizen Database Lackawanna County with Geologist Brian Oram

Geologist Brian Oram will present, “Geology of PA and Groundwater” at the Lackawanna College Environmental Institute, Rt. 435, tonight at 6:30 p.m. The cost of the program is $4 and pre-registration can be made by calling 842-1506.

Join Oram for a presentation that will review regional geology, the connection between surface water and groundwater, water quality concerns, and provide insights into “baseline” testing as it relates to Marcellus Shale and other land development issues.
The presentation will present the facts and provide citizens and local agencies with insights into improving and protecting this invaluable resource.  Learn about the importance of proper well placement, sanitary well caps, sanitary seals, grouting, well design, geology of the region, depth of the freshwater aquifer, wellhead protection, community private well ordiances, geothermal well ordiances and standards and much more. 
Oram is a licensed professional geologist, with over 25 years experience.

To schedule an education session

1. Citizen and Environmental Database and Citizen Monitoring and Community Regional Database - Plus free booklet on Private Well Water Quality and Drinking Water

2. To help develop a third party basline analysis for you community, organization, or citizens group, consulting services, or online education and training.

Free Web Portal on Drinking Water

Citizen Groundwater and Surfacewater Database

DEP Oil & Gas Operation Information on Well Production, Waste Products, and Violations Marcellus Shale PADEP


Dept. of Environmental Protection
Commonwealth News Bureau
Room 308, Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg PA., 17120


Jamie Legenos, Department of Environmental Protection
DEP Makes Oil and Gas Operations More Transparent with New Online Resources
Information on Well Production, Waste Products, and Violations Now Online

HARRISBURG -- For the first time, Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industry production and compliance information is available online as part of the commonwealth’s ongoing effort to make the industry’s operations more transparent.
Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger said the oil and gas public reporting website, which debuted today, allows access to production statistics for oil and gas wells in the state, including historical data. A new, separate webpage also lets users view violation data, by operator, as well as the department’s enforcement measures.
“The public reporting website will create much needed transparency that allows for citizens and policymakers to be aware of the increasing amount of natural gas being generated in Pennsylvania,” said Hanger. “This is an industrial activity that is taking place widely throughout the state. It’s important that families know what is happening in their backyards and whether or not the company drilling there has a good track record of safe and environmentally sound operations.”
The public reporting website,, enables users to search all oil and natural gas production data by operator, county or a specific well number. Information on industry-generated waste can be viewed by operator, county or processing facility.
Act 15 of 2010 required Marcellus operators to report to DEP their well production totals from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010 by Aug. 15. Subsequent reports on Marcellus production are due every six months. All other oil and gas production besides Marcellus wells must be reported annually.
“It is absolutely essential for the oil and gas industry to be excellent in their operations to protect public health and our environment,” Hanger said. “This information will allow the public to see which operators are leading the way in a safe and environmentally conscious manner and which ones need to address their operating procedures.”
The violation, inspection, and enforcement information is available for 2008 through 2010 to date, including resolved violations for the three-year span. Information for 2010 is available year-to-date or monthly. To view the violation reports, visit and click on the button that says “Gas Well Violations.”
For more information about oil and gas operations in Pennsylvania, visit and click on “Oil and Gas.”

Short-Term Air Quality Impacts from Marcellus Shale Operations

The URL to link directly to this article is:


Dept. of Environmental Protection

Commonwealth News Bureau

Room 308, Main Capitol Building

Harrisburg PA., 17120


Katy Gresh, Department of Environmental Protection Southwest Regional Office

DEP Issues Report on Short-Term Air Quality Impacts from Marcellus Shale Operations in Southwest PA

Agency Continues to Monitor Air Quality in Other PA Regions
HARRISBURG -- Department of Environmental Protection today released a report on a five-week air quality study conducted near Marcellus Shale natural gas operations in southwestern Pennsylvania’s Greene and Washington counties.
“This short-term study only provides a snapshot of the air contaminants we found at surveyed sites, but the data shows no emission levels that would constitute a concern to the health of residents living near these operations," DEP Secretary John Hanger said, noting that the report does not assess the potential cumulative effects from natural gas operations.
“These results only provide preliminary information about the type of pollutants released to the atmosphere. Drilling activity continues to increase at a rapid pace across the state, so this study provides us with good information as part of our ongoing effort to gauge the impact these operations have on our air quality, public health and the environment. Needless to say, we plan to conduct more of these types of air-sampling exercises moving forward,” Hanger added.
DEP’s assessment focused on concentrations of volatile organic compounds, including benzene, toluene and xylene, which are typically found in petroleum products. The department also sampled for other pollutants including carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide near natural gas extraction and processing sites.
The agency gathered samples to provide background data at its monitoring station in Florence Township, Washington County.

The air monitoring surveys near natural gas operations were conducted at a wastewater impoundment, tank farm and two compressor stations. Those surveys detected the main constituents of natural gas—including methane, ethane, propane and butane—as well as low levels of associated compounds, including benzene and n-hexane, which were detected infrequently at the tank farm and at a compressor station. Higher concentrations of the main constituents of natural gas were detected mainly near the compressor stations.

Methyl mercaptan, a gas which has a penetrating and unpleasant odor similar to rotten cabbage or rotten eggs, was also detected at concentrations that generally produce odors at each location where samples were taken. That threshold is about one part per billion.

The air sampling surveys conducted for carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and ozone precursor emissions did not detect levels above national ambient air quality standards at any of the surveyed sites. However, DEP has not yet determined if the potential cumulative emissions of these air contaminants will cause or contribute to violations of the national ambient air quality standards.

DEP is conducting similar air monitoring studies near Marcellus gas facilities in the Dimock area of Susquehanna County, as well as in the north-central region of the state, to determine if there is a consistent statewide emissions profile for air contaminants near natural gas operations. All studies are expected to be complete in January 2011.

Since 2005, 2,300 Marcellus Shale wells have been drilled in Pennsylvania.
To view the report, visit and click on “Regional Resources,” then on “Southwest Region” and choose the “Community Information” link on the right side of the page.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Drinking Water Testing Baseline Testing of Private Wells Related to Marcellus Shale

Testing The Drinking Water - Private Well Testing related to the Industrial Development of the Northern Tier related to Natural Gas Development in the Marcellus Shale and other black shales.  The purpose of this posting was to make a few announcements:

1. New Website - Water Research Center -
2. New Website - Water Research Center - Citizens Database -
(Community Water Quality Database, Information on Baseline Testing, and More)
3. Third Party and Chain of Custody Services -
4. New Online Training Courses -
5. Water Treatment and Water Testing -
6. Private Well Owner and Watershed Survey for the Marcellus Shale Regions

Hope this webpages are useful.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Carbon County Guardian Groups Rare Blood Disorder Polycythemia Vera

Rare blood disorder-

"Study will look at air and water quality
Reported on Friday, October 29, 2010
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS Members of the Tri-County Polycythemia Vera Citizens Advistory Committee pose questions late Thursday to experts who will study the local air and water quality. From left: CAC chairman and Tamaqua Mayor Chris Morrison; Mark Ioos, vice president, Skelly and Loy, Harrisburg; Peter Jaran, engineer, Equity Environmental Engineering, Flanders, NJ; and Joe Murphy, CAC member.
A New Jersey firm will oversee a regional air and water quality study to try and find out why there is a higher then normal incidence of a rare blood disease in the local area.
The study, the first of a multifaceted investigation, comes about after cases of polycythemia vera, a rare blood cancer, have surfaced in clusters at an unusually high rate in Carbon, Schuylkill and Luzerne counties.

Peter Jaran of Equity Environmental Engineering, Flanders, N.J., will serve as project manager and will employ the expertise of a project team to include Skelly & Loy, an environmental consulting firm in Harrisburg; and Princeton Somerset Group, a firm headed by Dr. Dennis M. Stainken, providing expertise in the field of toxicology, health issues, chemical exposures, contamination and other issues.
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS “This is very personal to the community. We need to have open lines of communication,” says Peter Jaran, left, on Thursday at Tamaqua Borough Hall. Jaran, an environmental engineer from New Jersey, will serve as project manager in an air and water quality study as part of an investigation into a rare blood disorder that surfaced two years ago in Carbon, Schuylkill and Luzerne counties. Shown right is Joe Murphy, Hometown, of the Citizens Advisory Committee.
The study will be funded through part of the $8M earmarked by Sen. Arlen Specter.
“We were awarded the contract with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) at the end of September,” said Jaran.
On Thursday, members of the Tri-County Polycythemia Vera Community Advisory Committee (CAC) took Jaran and Mark B. Ioos, vice president, Skelly and Loy, on a tour of the local area. The session was followed by a meeting at Tamaqua Borough Hall in which Jaran outlined the course of action and answered questions posed by CAC members. Tamaqua Mayor Chris Morrison serves as chairman of the CAC and moderated the session.
The goal of the assessment is to identify possible contributing factors of the PV cases and related myeloproliferative diseases (MPDs) and their possible link to environmental conditions in the area.

The discussion mentioned factors such as the presence of Superfund sites in the area, along with fly ash trucking and storage, and a wide variety of other industries such as co-gen plants, gas plants and manufacturers, and even the existing fluff pile in Hometown.
“We were originally looking at the drinking water,” revealed Jaran, noting that “the first step is that we have to take a look at the (existing) data. How does each one of the environmental aspects impact the human body.”
Hydrogeology has been identified as task one of the project, followed by air pollution exposure assessment. Air assessment will evaluate present and past exposures of cluster-area residents to specific air pollutants, including factors such as topography and air emission. Task three will focus on community interaction, including a working relationship with the CAC.
“This is very personal to the community,” said Jaran. “We need to have open lines of communication.”

That view was echoed by Morrison, who stressed the importance of timely dissemination of information to the public.
CAC members posed a wide variety of questions to Jaran and Ioos. For example, Hometown resident Joe Murphy, longtime advocate for a health and environment, asked Jaran if his firm or any of its clients might be seen as having a conflict of interest regarding aspects of the local study, including its outcome. Jaran said no, explaining that the potential issue already had been explored at Equity Environmental Engineering.
The air and water assessment study and other related studies will extend through 2011 and 2012.
During the business portion of the meeting, CAC members approved a request to the CDC and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry for $25,000 in operational funding for both years.
Other studies are forthcoming. For example, Drexel University investigators will use a case control study to try and determine factors that may contribute to the PV cluster in the Tamaqua-Hazleton area by examining environmental and occupational histories of patients with PV and MPD-related disease and comparing them with those free of the diseases.
A University of Pittsburgh team will conduct a study that will compare PV rates in the Tamaqua-Hazleton area to those in four counties in the western Pennsylvania coal region to look for similarities and differences in the two areas that might provide clues to the causes of the disease.""

Few Points
1. Carbon County Groundwater Guardian Group - helped bring problem to the attention of the community.
2. Critical to get your water tested
3. Great Job to the Local Community - Community Advisory Committee


Brian Oram, PG

Friday, October 29, 2010

Dimock - Methane Proposed Water Line

DIMOCK TWP- Direct link to article

BY LAURA LEGERE  - This is not my work but the work of

"{A wealth of gas beneath this small Susquehanna County community has brought it a new industry, a national reputation for bad luck and a host of polarizing issues: the risks and damage to water, soil and air; the fair rate for leased land; the condition of the roads and the shape of the economy.
But nothing has defined the division in Dimock like a line that exists, for now, only on paper: a proposed $11.8 million water main to bring fresh water to 18 families with methane linked to gas drilling in their wells - a pipe that will travel along Route 29, the thoroughfare that cuts the township in two.
For the group of citizens and businesses called Enough Already that formed this month to oppose the line, the project represents a big-government solution that penalizes many taxpayers for the benefit of a few and threatens to drive away the gas companies that have brought them money or jobs.
For the residents who need the line - those whose water has been contaminated with methane the state found seeping from faulty natural gas wells - the opposition is an attack on their health and safety that comes after they have waited two years for clean water.

"To have neighbor go against neighbor - our own neighbors are doing this," said Norma Fiorentino, the retired nurse whose water well first drew the state's attention to the methane problem when the concrete slab above it was blown apart in January 2009.
"This is a real stab in the back for us," she said. "That was not our fault this happened."
'We're fed up'
Enough Already's two dozen core members met for the first time in early October, days after Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger announced a plan to use public financing to build the 12.5-mile waterline then sue to get the money back from Cabot Oil and Gas Corp., the company deemed responsible for the contamination.

The group declared its opposition to the line in an ad in the Mulligan's Shopping Guide, a Susquehanna County advertising publication, on Oct. 13. It began posting fliers with the same logo - a blue pipe labeled "water line" crossed out in red - in businesses and on public bulletin boards along the proposed route from Montrose to Dimock.
Dan and Gretchen Backer posted the fliers in the windows at the Inn at Montrose, the hotel and restaurant they bought and expanded since 2008 to serve the gas workers.
Mrs. Backer summarized the group's position: The state has "gone amok" by siding with families who are suing Cabot for contamination the driller says it did not cause and using the opportunity to demand a "handout" from a wealthy company in order to expand a public utility.
"There's just enough flags that say this is ridiculous," she said.
Before the lunch rush last Tuesday, she and Mr. Backer sat at a table in the tavern they renovated entirely except for the original bar made from wood reclaimed from a bowling lane.

The couple touts the fact that they have benefited from the influx of industry, and they think not enough is said about the good influence of gas drilling.

"Enough Already is enough with the negativity," Mr. Backer said. He fears the combination of state enforcement actions against the gas industry and a public perception of Dimock as a "wasteland" will kill the new opportunities.
"If they left, we're done. We fold," he said. "We can't survive serving steaks and cheeseburgers."
At Lockhart's - a combination tag and title business, gas station and diner about 2½ miles south on Route 29 - the Enough Already flier was posted last week on a cork board below another advertising a chicken-and-biscuit dinner.
Don Lockhart, the owner of the business for 26 years, sat on a stool at the lunch counter, where he keeps a petition asking the state infrastructure investment authority to deny financing for the project.
"They're going to shove this water down everybody's throats," he said. The affected residents should have clean water, he said, but the state should consider the impact on people who are not involved with the problem and think of less-intrusive options, like building a reservoir closer to the affected homes.
"All you're getting is the 'wah, wah' part of this," he said. "You're not getting any common sense. All you hear about is 'these poor people.' The people, we're fed up."
Residents without businesses also have signed on with the group, including at least three who have had replacement water provided by Cabot because they believe drilling has damaged the quality or quantity of water in their wells.
Martha Locey, a 78-year-old woman who lives on her family's farm in Hop Bottom, gave $20 - the money she had in her purse during the group's first meeting - to help pay for the Enough Already ad. Her farm's two water wells have had methane in them since they were drilled in the 1940s and 1970s, she said, and signed an affidavit for Cabot testifying to that fact.
"I came out with the truth, because I know it has been in the water," she said.
The company has used evidence of pre-existing methane to help prove its case that it did not cause the problems in the Dimock wells. It also paid Dr. Robert W. Watson, an emeritus professor of petroleum and natural gas engineering at Penn State University, about $25,000 to review its materials and well-completion records. Dr. Watson concluded that Cabot's wells did not cause methane to seep into aquifers.
DEP counters Cabot's evidence with a photographic record of methane bubbling out of the company's gas wells, documentation of excessive well pressures, and isotopic analysis - a kind of chemical fingerprinting - that matches the gas in the affected water supplies with the gas coming from Cabot's wells.
DEP Secretary Hanger has explained that the waterline is the only remedy that will guarantee the families clean water - now and in the future - because there is no certainty that methane will stop migrating from Cabot's wells.
He also dismissed the conclusions reached by Dr. Watson.
"No surprise that his report supports the company that is paying him," he said in an e-mail.
'Stirring up trouble'

The most visible battle in Dimock has been the one waged between DEP and Cabot in press releases, public announcements, letters and ads.
Mr. Hanger sees evidence of Cabot's influence in the formation of Enough Already, an accusation the group and Cabot both deny.
"For Cabot to constantly stir up trouble is very disappointing," Mr. Hanger said. "They are doing everything to deflect attention from their own failings and creating distractions from the real issue here, which is they drilled bad wells."
The businesses hosting the Enough Already petition are either Cabot contractors or frequently do business with the company or its workers, he pointed out. One business, listed on the ad as Guy Parrish's, is hired by Cabot to deliver replacement water to families affected by the stray methane.
Cabot spokesman George Stark said the driller "does business with many Susquehanna County companies, having invested nearly a billion dollars in the region. Cabot did not ask businesses to participate in any organization or group in Susquehanna County, or anywhere else for that matter."
Harold Lewis, a resident who has worked delivering water to the affected homes, built a large handmade sign with the words "water pipe line" crossed out in black in his front yard just beyond a telephone pole wrapped with four No Trespassing signs.
The anti-waterline sign faces across the road toward two homes with tainted water.
"It's nothing against the neighbors or anything like that," he said in a hallway of Elk Lake High School after a meeting organized by Enough Already on Thursday night. "It's against the pipeline."
The Lewis family also had replacement water supplied by Cabot for several months after they noticed an odor in their well water. Mr. Lewis said he was just "nervous in the beginning," but tests show the well water is fine.
"I know all the neighbors think I'm mad at them - I'm not," he said. "They're probably mad at me now."
The meeting on Thursday was punctuated with shouts from members of the audience, many from outside the town or county, who wore blue ribbons in support of the affected families in Dimock.
As the meeting ended, those wearing blue ribbons looked warily across the auditorium as those without ribbons were being interviewed for television. On the other side of the room, audience members sympathetic to Enough Already mumbled on their way out the doors that the families' complaints were "all about the money." Others said the families were "pumping chemicals into their own wells."
Lynn Senick, a Montrose resident and critic of the industry, stood outside and touched the ribbon on her lapel.
"I hate the divisiveness and the lies," she said. "I hate that the DEP, their authority is being flouted and challenged. I don't like to walk down the street and feel like I can't talk to certain people, or that because I have this" - she pointed to her ribbon - "now I'm an enemy."
Residents who will be served by the waterline also recognized the stakes are higher than hurt feelings.

"If we have regulations and laws but DEP won't hold the gas companies responsible, we might as well have no DEP," said Victoria Switzer, one of the affected residents, who paused in the hall after apologizing to the presenters for the heckling from the families' out-of-town supporters.

"No laws, no regs, just gas," she said. "Welcome to Dimock."

Contact the writer:}

My comments
1. If the only contamination problem is methane - Why the water line?
2. It is likely that there is a hot spot- i.e., one or two wells that are the main source or pathway for the gas and then the gas is migrating from that point?
3. If the contamination is only methane- Why a pipeline?
4. Where is the gas analysis?
5. There must be more information and more contaminants?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Independent Water Testing in Northeastern Pennsylvania

Independent Water Testing Prior to Natural Gas Exploration and Development in Pennsylvania and the Marcellus Shale- Certified Third Party Independent Baseline Water Testing and Environmental Analysis Provided

B.F. Environmental Consultants Inc. provides environmental consulting, expert witness, water quality sampling, independent baseline water sampling/ testing/analysis, chain-of-custody services, and education outreach services to landowners and other organizations. The primary focus of our outreach efforts is to aid in evaluating and documenting baseline environmental conditions, evaluate potential for environmental impact, educate citizens on the natural gas development, and assist municipalities/ citizen groups in planning related activities. Regarding the Marcellus Shale - We provide services throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania including Bradford, Carbon, Columbia, Luzerne, Lackawanna, Pike, Potter, Wayne, Wyoming, Susquehanna, and Tioga Counties, but we work on outreach programs throughout Pennsylvania- We work for the people.
A summary of the services provided by B.F. Environmental Consultants Inc. and its partners:

a. conducting baseline water quality sampling and monitoring and developing custom environmental monitoring/ assessment programs as part of a baseline water test;
b. expert testimony and professional consultant services;
c. environmental education and outreach;
d. conducting environmental assessments and inventories; and
e. implementing engineering controls and engineering design.
To adequately meet your needs - you must establish a baseline that does the following:

1. Addresses the existing condition of the groundwater source including volume and quality based on the existing or proposed usage and surrounding conditions. Therefore, a person with a quarry near their home and a spring - may need a different set a parameters than a person living in the middle of a 100+ acre forest.

(Pick the right parameters that meet YOUR budget, YOUR Need, and relates to YOUR situation - One package does not fit ALL).

2. Characterize your well - static and dynamic water level- measure flow or rate - calculate specific capacity.
3. Work with a "certified laboratory" using their technician or a technician that they approve or authorize.
4. The laboratory could be PADEP approve or Nationally Accredited and the laboratory must be certified for the specific methods or process your sample in cooperation with another laboratory that is certified for the necessary methods.
You can contact me at

Independent Water Testing / Third Party Sampling by a Licensed Professional

Over 20 years experience in geology, hydrology, and water quality related issues in Northeastern PA; expert witness, licensed water well driller, soil scientist, and much more.
Note: The PSU Approach may not be the best approach.

The State Certified Laboratories that serve Northeastern PA are (partial list):

Aqua-Tech Lab, Mountaintop, PA 868-5346

Benchmark Analytical, East Stroudsburg, PA, 421-5122

Kirby Health Center, Wilkes-Barre, PA 822-4278

Friend Lab Inc., Waverly, NY, 607-565-2893

Northeastern Environmental Labs, Scranton, PA, 348-0775

Quantum Labs in Dickson City, PA 570-489-6964

Hawk Mountain Labs 570-455-6011 (Hazle Township, PA)

Seewald Laboratories 570.326.4001 ( Williamsport, PA)

(always willing to update)
Do not be fooled - there are a number of "lab" websites. When you look deep enough- these are actually just collectors with little expertise in groundwater, water chemistry, and are not likely worth the money.