Friday, August 27, 2010

Pharmaceuticals in the Environment NATIONAL DRUG TAKE BACK PROGRAM - Get Rid of Prescriptions the Correct Way - Protect the Watershed

Please be aware that the federal DEA is conducting a NATIONAL DRUG TAKE BACK PROGRAM on September 25, 2010 with widespread participation by many law enforcement groups across the country and in Pennsylvania. This effort will help keep meds from being flushed into water resources. The program is an anonymous take back. To find a take back location in your area, go to this website and enter your zipcode:

Drug take back programs are very expensive to conduct, so please let your neighbors and family members know about this one day national event.  Saturday, September 25, 2010.

On September 25, 2010, DEA will coordinate a collaborative effort with state and local law enforcement agencies to remove potentially dangerous controlled substances from our nation’s medicine cabinets. Collection activities will take place from 10:00 a.m. through 2:00 p.m. at sites established throughout the country. The National Take-Back Day provides an opportunity for the public to surrender expired, unwanted, or unused pharmaceutical controlled substances and other medications for destruction. These drugs are a potential source of supply for illegal use and an unacceptable risk to public health and safety. This one-day effort is intended to bring national focus to the issue of increasing pharmaceutical controlled substance abuse. The program is anonymous.

Prescription and over the counter solid dosage medications, i.e. tablets and capsules accepted. Intra-venous solutions, injectables, and needles will not be accepted. Illicit substances such as marijuana or methamphetamine are not a part of this initiative.

If you miss this event- this is the proper procedure to dispose of prescription drugs:

1.Do not flush prescription drugs down the toilet or drain unless the label or
accompanying patient information specifically instucts you to do so.  For information on drugs
that should be flushed visit the FDA’s website-

2. To dispose of prescription drugs not labeled to be flushed, you may be able
to take advantage of community drug take back programs or other programs,
such as household hazardous waste collection events,  that collect drugs at a central location for proper disposal.

3.Call your city or county government’s household trash and recycling service
and ask if a drug take‐back program is available in your community.

If a drug take‐back or collection program is not available:

A.Take your prescription drugs out of their original containers.

B.Mix drugs with an undesirable substance, such as cat litter or used coffee grounds.

C.Put the mixture into a disposable container with a lid, such as an empty
margarine tub, or into a sealable bag.

D.Conceal or remove any personal information, including Rx number, on the
empty containers by covering it with black permanent marker or duct tape, or
by scratching it off.
E.Place the sealed container with the mixture, and the empty drug containers, in the trash.

 How to Dispose

Friday, August 13, 2010



The UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) has just recommended that drinking water contain 25-50 mg of magnesium per liter to prevent deaths from heart attack and stroke: American bottled water averages <5 mg of magnesium (Mg) per liter, while bottled water in the rest of the world averages about 20 mg of magnesium per liter. The US National Academy of Sciences estimated that the US deaths from soft water were 150,000 per annum, and that was in 1977!

The FDA and the US Department of Justice (DOJ) caused the Mg-deficient-water problem by Un-Constitutionally destroying the American mineral water industry in the 1930’s, in the mistaken belief that pure water was good, and that mineral water was just impure water. No other country has ever destroyed their mineral water industry.

For decades, the evidence has been overwhelming that Americans are very deficient in Mg, as evidenced by the 23% shortfall from the RDI, yet the FDA and DOJ have covered up their blunder, getting a Federal lawsuit dismissed before the evidence could be shown, and keeping silent about the millions of deaths indicated by over 50 epidemiological studies from nine countries. Recent studies clearly confirm that water-borne Mg is far, far better in preventing cardiovascular pathologies than food-borne Mg.

Epidemiological studies indicate that millions of Americans have died due to the FDA’s and DOJ’s destruction of the American mineral water industry. See:
Now, it is up to the FDA and DOJ to end this travesty, requiring the Mg content of bottled or canned beverages to be put in labels’ nutrition panels, and requiring that all bottled or canned beverages contain at least 25 mg of Mg per liter. FDA and DOJ have ignored petitions and a lawsuit, continuing to cause vast numbers of deaths just to cover-up their blunder.

It is not practical to fortify tap water with magnesium, because 99% of tap water is used for washing, flushing, etc., not drinking, so the cost of fortifying tap water would be prohibitive.
The best way of Mg-fortifying beverages is with "magnesium bicarbonate", as the bicarbonate has the added benefit of reversing the harmful acidification found in aging bodies. Magnesium bicarbonate is made by adding magnesium carbonate to carbonated water, which reacts.

Paul Mason, Mg Librarian
Adobe Springs Water Co. LLC

Note:  I tend to agree that softened water is not the best and water with very high hardness, i.e., very hard water, can create aesthetic problems (staining, coatings, films, difficulty washing using soaps, etc)- This article is not an endorsement of the product or company.

More inforamtion on water quality - Free Booklet at

PADEP Factsheet- Marcellus Shale: Tough Regulations, Greater Enforcement

Marcellus Shale: Tough Regulations, Greater Enforcement

"For more than two years Pennsylvania has been proactively increasing its oversight of gas drilling.  No other state has added more staff, done a more comprehensive strengthening of its rules or more  aggressively enforced its rules than Pennsylvania has.

Consider the following:

• In 2008, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) required every application for a Marcellus Shale drilling permit to include a mandatory water plan that governed water  withdrawal and disposal issues. That requirement has been in effect and working for two years.

• In 2008, DEP placed on its Web site the list of chemicals mixed with water that are used to frac or break the shale usually 5,000 to 8,000 feet underground to free the gas, and the department recently updated that list. DEP also required that the list of chemicals be available at each well site right from the first Marcellus Shale well drilled in 2005.

• In 2008, DEP raised substantially fees to apply for a drilling permit. The application fee was raised from $100 to now $5,000, $10,000 or more for deep Marcellus wells. All revenue was invested to increase oversight.

• In 2009, Governor Edward G. Rendell directed the hiring of 37 additional employees for oil and
gas staff.

• In 2010, the Governor directed the hiring of an additional 68 oil and gas employees. The 2009
and 2010 hiring will more than double the number of state employees regulating Pennsylvania’s
gas industry.

• In 2009, DEP opened a new office for gas staff in Williamsport, Lycoming County and another
new office in Scranton, Lackawanna County in 2010, two areas of the commonwealth that were
experiencing drilling for the first time.  (Hello to Steve in Lackawanna County- Brian Notes)

• Starting Nov. 1, 2010, DEP will post well-specific gas production data and updates every
6 months.

• A new regulation was passed on July 2, 2010 that requires drilling companies to treat drilling
water to the safe drinking water standard for Total Dissolved Solids (TDS). This new rule
ensures that streams in Pennsylvania do not exceed the safe drinking water standard of
500 milligrams per liter.

• Also passed on July 2, 2010, a new rule that mandates a 150 foot buffer for the 20,000 miles of
Pennsylvania's streams that are the state’s most pristine and highest quality. The combination
of the TDS and buffers rule provide unprecedented protection for Pennsylvania's waters.

• Enacting strengthened regulations that require best well design and construction practices,
including comprehensive measures to prevent gas migration as happened in Dimock Township,
Susquehanna County. Those rules will be final by November 2010.

• Mandating and enforcing strong blowout prevention policies such as:

o A snubbing unit, which prevents pipes from ejecting uncontrollably from a well, must be used to clean out the composite frac plugs and sand during post-fracturing (post-frac) if coil tubing is not an option;

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection 0130-FS-DEP4288 7/2010

o A minimum of two pressure barriers must be in place during all post-frac cleanout operations;

o Any blowout preventer equipment must be tested immediately after its installation and  before its use. Records of these tests must be kept on file at the well site or with the well
 site supervisor;

o At least one well site supervisor who has a current well control certification from a recognized institution must be on location during post-frac cleanout operations; and

o A remote-controlled, independently powered blowout preventer unit, which allows workers to control what’s happening on the rig at a safe distance, must be located a minimum of 100 feet from the well and operational during all post-frac cleanout

• Working closely with the State Police to conduct unannounced FracNet operations to strenuously enforce waste and highway safety laws for trucks hauling wastewater from drilling

When tough enforcement of our rules is required, the Department of Environmental Protection takes
action. In cases, DEP has stopped issuing new drilling permits; ordered wells to be plugged; ordered
that drilling stop, fracking halt, and well completion cease. All these steps put safety first.

The Marcellus Shale gas industry operating in Pennsylvania can and must be the very best in the world
and strong rules and enforcement will help it to be world class.

For more information, visit, keyword: oil and gas."
Again not my work- PADEP Fact Sheet

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Baseline Water Testing for Northeastern PA - a different Tiered Approach - Bromide, Methane, ethane, radionuclieds, arsenic

This is a list of parameter for wells outside the 1000 foot radius around a well and not along a horizontal leg.  I do not agree with the PSU recommendations from 2008  listing of parameters and I am providing this as an alternative.

Testing Package # 1
This package is recommended as a screening for post gas development or screening for wells that are not a long a major roadway or areas that have not been leased.
Total Coliform with e. coli confirmation, chloride, sodium, bromide, barium,pH, total dissolved solids, MBAS, iron, manganese, and methane/ethane.

Testing Package # 2
This is the minimum package I recommend for the area- this is based on PADEP recommendations, plus I added Arsenic and nitrate.  Note- If nitrate is at or greater than 1 mg NO3-N/L - I would recommend adding Nitrite.
Package # 1- plus T. Hardness, Magnesium, Strontium, Conductivity, Calcium, Zinc, Alkalinity, Arsenic, Nitrate, Total Suspended Solids, Sulfate, Oil & Grease, 21-VOCs/MTBE, Selenium

Testing Package # 3
More Comprehensive- Assuming the wells are outside 1000 feet of a well site and not along a horizontal leg
Package # 2 - plus Potassium, Sulfide, Ammonia, Acidity, Nickel, Gross, Alpha/Beta, Lead, and Uranium.

Possible Addons- Based on available frac water data- this would be more appropriate for wells within 1000 feet or less.
Radium 226 and Radium 228
Turbidity- cheap screening test
Phenol and phenolic compounds- located near well or along major road
Chemical Oxygen Demand - still considering - I do do not recommend
Total Organic Carbon- still considering- I just do not understand why?
2- Butanone (methyl ethyl ketone)
Phthalates- this may be a problem already for private wells with PVC casing or substand piping.
Ethylene Glycol- recommend
1,2- Propanediol - I think this is being used by some as an alternative to ethylene glycol
Acetone - may be source because of a break down in 1,2- Propanediol
Lithium- reviewing
Aluminum- Suggest
Thallium reviewing

Website provided for information only and the site is always under development and subject to change.

Other Post on the subject

Co-Authored - New Publication on Water Quality for Private Well Owners- Website -

Local Agencies and Natural Gas Devleopment Marcellus Shale

Local officials retain some power over drilling

Artticle By Elizabeth Skrapits

Published: August 9, 2010

"Dennis Briggs / The Citizens' Voice Work continued last month at this site in Lake Township, where Encana Oil & Gas USA Inc. is drilling Luzerne County's second natural gas well.
When it comes to regulating natural gas drilling, the state Oil and Gas Act trumps local ordinances - mostly
As is the case with methadone clinics and adult entertainment venues, municipalities and counties can't keep natural gas wells out altogether. But local officials do have some power, such as the ability to limit wells to agricultural, manufacturing or industrial zones and bar them in residential districts.
"We - local land use authorities - can regulate the 'where;' we cannot regulate the 'how.' That power, to regulate the 'how' of natural gas drilling, rests entirely with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania," Luzerne County Zoning Hearing Board Chairman Larry Newman said after last week's hearing on granting Encana Oil & Gas USA Inc. conditional use to drill 10 natural gas wells in Lake and Fairmount townships.
Municipal and county planning and zoning authorities do have some say in the matter of natural gas drilling in their communities, state officials say.

"They're not completely pre-empted by any means under state law," Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger said. "They do have a role."
Drilling processes, techniques and materials are beyond the power of local zoning authorities, Hanger said. For example, a zoning hearing board cannot tell a natural gas company what kind of cement can be used in a well casing, he said. Instead, the Oil and Gas Act gives DEP the authority to set drilling standards.
Denny Puko of the state Department of Community and Economic Development said the Oil and Gas Act generally not only pre-empts local regulations of any type except for the Municipalities Planning Code and the Flood Plain Act, but goes a step further: although municipalities and counties can do things under those two statutes, they can't regulate what the Oil and Gas Act regulates.
"They're limited," he said. "You can see there's not a whole lot of room."
But legal precedents are being set which can change that.
Puko cited three state court cases that clarified what counties and municipalities can and can't do when it comes to natural gas drilling: Huntley & Huntley vs. Oakmont Borough; Penneco Oil Co. and Range Resources vs. the County of Fayette; and Range Resources vs. Salem Township (Westmoreland County).
In the often-cited 2007 Huntley vs. Oakmont case, Huntley & Huntley sought to drill a natural gas well in a residential subdivision in Oakmont Borough. Borough council denied the company.
The upshot of the case was the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that while the conditional use permit had been improperly denied, companies cannot drill in areas where zoning ordinances do not allow them. The more recent Penneco case is similar in nature.
In the Range Resources vs. Salem Township decision, the court ruled that the township's ordinance overlapped and in some cases was more stringent than the Oil and Gas Act, making it "an attempt by the Township to enact a comprehensive regulatory scheme relative to oil and gas development within the municipality."
Unlike in Huntley vs. Oakmont, which was about the "where" of natural gas drilling, Salem Township was trying to regulate the "how." The court ruled against the township.
"It's kind of narrow what a municipality can do, according to the court precedent," Puko said. "I guess at this point, municipalities are left to interpret the law with their municipal solicitors, and act accordingly."
The court cases are leading zoning officials and solicitors through what Attorney Jeffrey Malak calls "new, uncharted waters."
Malak, who not only works with property on natural gas leases but also serves as the solicitor for several entities including the Back Mountain Community Partnership, has been researching the subject on behalf of the six member municipalities.
According to Malak, there are numerous provisions municipalities can try to get into their zoning ordinances, including:
Locating wells in certain zoning districts with permission (conditional use).
Keeping wells certain distances from occupied structures, public streets, roadways or lot lines.
Screening, buffering and fencing requirements.
Bonding the natural gas company to ensure responsibility for road maintenance and repair.
Ordinances to regulate dust, noise and light pollution are also possibilities.
However, Malak noted, "Just because we put it in the zoning ordinance doesn't mean that it's valid."
In one of the municipalities where Malak serves as solicitor, Dallas Borough, the zoning ordinance - which is available at - restricts natural gas well drilling to industrial zones and highway business districts. It has requirements including that drilling cannot take place within 200 feet of any occupied structure or 100 feet of any stream, spring or wetland.
The 100-foot setback from water is a DEP regulation, but municipalities can include that and other state requirements in their zoning ordinances, Malak said.
"It's a lot of referencing state laws: 'Hey, the state has this, we're going to put this in too,'" he said.
As more cases and appeals make it through the state courts, they will give further guidance to municipalities, landowners and gas companies on what is permissible and what isn't, Malak said.
"It's an evolving field of law," he said.", 570-821-2072

Please support the author !
My comments
1. We should also be taking time to strengthen our existing ordiances to deal with the potential secondary develoments following gas development.
2. Look to more low impact developments, water reuse. etc.
3. Sets not spend alot of time generating a local ordinance that is basically oil and gas law, but lets strengthen what we have to update and address secondary growth.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Reduce Winter Heating Costs by 50%

Purdue college scientists show us 1 great method to reduce 50% of winter home heating costs

Researchers at Purdue University are working on a new research project that promises the opportunity to reduce heating bill in half for those who reside in very cold climates. The analysis, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, builds on previous work that began about 5 years ago at Purdue's Ray W. Herrick Laboratories.

Heat pumps provide heating in winter and cooling in summer but are not efficient in extreme cold climates. The study involves changes to the way heat pumps operate to make them more effective in extreme cold temperatures.

The new technology works by modifying the traditional vapor-compression cycle behind standard air con and refrigeration.

The usual vapor-compression cycle has four stages:

1. Refrigerant is compressed as a vapor
2. Condenses into a liquid
3. Expands to a combination of liquid and vapor
4. Then evaporates

The project will investigate two cooling approaches during the compression process.

In one approach, relatively large volumes of oil are injected into the compressor to absorb heat generated throughout the compression stage.

In the second approach, a mixture of liquid and vapor refrigerant from the expansion stage is injected at various points during compression to supply cooling.
The brand new heat pumps might be half as expensive to operate as heating technologies now employed in cold regions where natural gas is unavailable and residents make use of electric heaters and liquid propane.

In the meanwhile here some ways to improve you home air quality and save energy:

- Be certain your thermostat is located in an area that is not too cold or hot.

- Install an automatic timer to maintain the thermostat at 68 degrees in daytime and 55 degrees during the night time.

- Use storm or thermal windows in colder areas. The layer of air between the windows acts as insulation and helps keep the heat inside the places you want it.

- If you haven't already, insulate your attic and all outside walls.

- Insulate floors over unheated spaces such as your basement, any crawl spaces plus your garage.

- Close off the attic, garage, basement, spare bedrooms and storage areas. Heat only those rooms that you use.

- Seal gaps around any pipes, wires, vents or other openings that could transfer your heat to areas that are not heated.
- Dust is a wonderful insulator and tends to build up on radiators and baseboard heat vents.

Most people do not know that common indoor air quality practices reduce home air heating costs too:
- Rain and moist may bring moisture indoors, creating dampness, mold and mildew -- big problems for healthy indoor air. Look at your roof, foundation and basement or crawlspace once a year to catch leaks or moisture problems and route water away from your home's foundation.

- Help keep asthma triggers away from your property by fixing leaks and drips once they start. Standing water and high humidity encourage the growth of dust mites, mold and mildew -- probably the most common triggers that can worsen asthma. Make use of a dehumidifier or ac unit if needed, and clean both regularly.

- High levels of moisture at home increase dampness and the growth of mold, which not only damage your home but threaten health. Install and run exhaust fans in bathrooms to remove unhealthy moisture and odors from your home.

- Ventilate your kitchen stove directly outside or open a kitchen window when you cook. Keeping exhaust -- including cooking odors and particles -- outside of your home prevents dangerous fumes and particles from harming you or your family.
About me - Rosalind Dall writes for the ductless split system air conditioner blog, her personal hobby blog focused entirely on tips to help people consume less energy and purify indoor air.

Source:  Reference  for Article