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