Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Produced Water Management in Pennsylvania PA Oil and Gas

This is not my work - but I pasted this information here because it was a very good resource. The source - NETL.

State Regulations: Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) Bureau of Oil and Gas Management (Office of Mineral Resource Management) is responsible for the statewide oil and gas conservation and environmental programs to facilitate the safe exploration, development, and recovery of Pennsylvania's oil and gas reservoirs in a manner that will protect the Commonwealth's natural resources and the environment. General environmental protection regulations governing waste management and wastewater in the context of oil and gas operations are also administered by PADEP's Bureau of Oil and Gas Management. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 3, through its Safe Drinking Water Branch, administers underground injection control (UIC) programs in Pennsylvania in direct implementation.

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
Bureau of Oil and Gas Management
Rachel Carson State Office Building
P.O. Box 8765
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8765
(717) 772-2199 (phone)
(717) 772-2291 (fax)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 3 Regional Office
1650 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2029
(215) 814-5700 (phone)

Produced Water Management Practices and Applicable Regulations

The disposal regulations in connection with oil and gas operations are found in the Pennsylvania Code (PA Code), Title 25 (Environmental Protection), Part 1 (Department of Environmental Protection), Subpart C (Protection of Natural Resources), Article I (Land Resources), Chapter 78 (Oil and Gas Wells). PA Code, Title 25 (Environmental Protection), Part 1 (Department of Environmental Protection), Subpart C (Protection of Natural Resources), Article II (Water Resources), Chapters 91 through 93, 95, and 102 contains the regulations governing National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permitting, water quality standards, wastewater treatment requirements, and erosion and sediment control. The Mid-Atlantic States Regional Office of the EPA (Region 3), through its Safe Drinking Water Branch, manages and implements the Region's underground injection control (UIC) programs. This includes the direct implementation of the UIC program in Pennsylvania.

General Requirements (§ 78.54)

The well operator shall control and dispose of brines in a manner that prevents pollution of the waters of this Commonwealth and in accordance with all applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.

Control and Disposal Plan (§ 78.55)

Prior to generation of waste, the operator shall prepare and implement a plan for control and disposal of brines.

The operator shall revise the plan prior to implementing a change to the practices identified in the plan.

Pits and Tanks for Temporary Containment (§ 78.56)

Except as provided in the regulations governing discharge requirements, the operator shall contain polluting substances and wastes from the drilling, altering, completing, recompleting, servicing, and plugging the well — including brines — in a pit, tank, or series of pits and tanks. The operator shall install or construct and maintain the pit, tank, or series of pits and tanks in accordance all applicable regulatory requirements governing design, maintenance, construction.

The operator may request to use other practices that provide equivalent or superior protection by submitting a request to the Department for approval. The request shall be made on forms provided by the Department.

Unless a permit under The Clean Streams Law (35 P. S. §§ 691.1–691.1001) or approval under the regulations governing control, storage, and disposal of production fluids has been obtained for the pit, the owner or operator shall remove or fill the pit within nine months after completion of drilling, or in accordance with the extension granted by the Department. Pits used during servicing, plugging, and recompleting the well shall be removed or filled within 90 days of construction.

Control, Storage, and Disposal of Production Fluids (§ 78.57)

Unless a permit has been obtained under the regulations governing discharge requirements, the operator shall collect the brine and other fluids produced during operation, service, and plugging of the well in a tank, pit, or a series of pits or tanks, or other device approved by the Department for subsequent disposal or reuse. Except as allowed in this subchapter or otherwise approved by the Department, the operator may not discharge the brine and other fluids on or into the ground or into the waters of this Commonwealth.

Except as provided in the regulations governing pits and tanks for temporary containment, the operator may not use a pit for the control, handling, or storage of brine and other fluids produced during operation, service, or plugging of a well unless the pit is authorized by a permit under The Clean Streams Law (35 P. S. §§ 691.1 through 691.1001) or approval to operate the pit as an impoundment under The Clean Streams Law is obtained from the Department.

The operator may apply for approval from the Department to operate a pit as an impoundment under The Clean Streams Law, as indicated by the Department's issuance of a pit approval number in accordance with this section. No pit will be eligible for approval under this subsection unless the capacity of any one pit or of any two or more interconnected pits is less than 250,000 gallons, or the total capacity contained in pits on one tract or related tracts of land is less than 500,000 gallons. Compliance with this subsection does not relieve the operator from the obligation to comply with Section 308 of The Clean Streams Law (35 P. S. § 691.308) and the requirements for obtaining a permit for the erection, construction, and operation of treatment works.

The pit must be approved, designed, constructed, operated, maintain, restored, backfilled, and revegetated in accordance with all applicable regulatory requirements.

Discharge Requirements (§ 78.60)

The owner and operator may not cause or allow a discharge of a substance to the waters of this Commonwealth unless the discharge complies with all applicable statutory and regulatory requirements, including:

The Water Resource Regulations (Chapters 91 through 93, 95 and 102 of the PA Code);

The Clean Streams Law (35 P. S. §§ 691.1 through 691.1001); and

The Oil and Gas Act (58 P. S. §§ 601.101 through 601.607).

The owner and operator may not discharge tophole water or water in a pit as a result of precipitation by land application unless the discharge is in accordance with the following requirements:

No additives, drilling muds, polluting materials, or drilling fluids other than gases or fresh water have been added to or are contained in the water, unless otherwise approved by the Department.

The pH is not less than 6 nor greater than 9 standard units, or is characteristic of the natural background quality of the groundwater.

The specific conductance of the discharge is less than 1,000 µmhos/cm.

There is no sheen from oil and grease.

The discharge water shall be spread over an undisturbed, vegetated area capable of absorbing the tophole water and filtering solids in the discharge, and spread in a manner that prevents a direct discharge to surface waters and complies with erosion and sedimentation control requirements.

The area of land application is not within 200 feet of a water supply or within 100 feet of a stream, body of water, or a wetland unless approved as part of a waiver granted by the Department.

If the water does not meet the applicable requirements, the Department may approve treatment prior to discharge to the land surface.

Reporting Releases (§ 78.66)

A release of a substance causing or threatening pollution of the waters of the Commonwealth, shall comply with the reporting and corrective action requirements governing incidents causing or threatening pollution.

If a reportable release of brine on or into the ground occurs at the well site, the owner or operator shall notify the appropriate regional office of the Department, and provide the description required by the regulations, as soon as practicable, but no later than two hours after detecting or discovering the release.

If, because of an accident, an amount of brine less than the reportable amount spills, leaks, or escapes, that incident does not have to be reported.

Upon the occurrence of any release, the owner or operator shall take necessary corrective actions to: prevent the substance from reaching the waters of this Commonwealth; recover or remove the substance which was released; and dispose of the substance in accordance with this subchapter or as approved by the Department.

Frequency of Inspections (§ 78.903)

The Department, its employees, and agents intend to conduct inspections at least once a year, if there is onsite brine disposal."
This is not my work - but I pasted this information here because it was a very good resource.  The source - NETL.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How Not to Plan, Site, or Use Rain Gardens - Lessons Learned

A case study in how not to do Rain gardens:

Seattle removes rain gardens in Ballard

Just a year ago, Seattle was promoting its roadside rain garden project in Ballard. Now, the city is spending half a million dollars to dismantle huge sections of it
Some neighborhood residents say, despite good intentions, the whole thing has been a fiasco.
When you hear the phrase rain garden, you think of lovely, watery greenscapes that help save the planet by keeping dirty storm water out of Puget Sound.

Mark Early, who is with the group Sustainable Ballard, says that’s exactly how Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) sold the street side rain garden project. Early says he thought it all sounded great. But, he says, the reality was a different story. Listen to KPLU Paula Wissel's story.

Summary - My comments

1. Do not put rain gardens along streets that are narrow and congested - do not allow parking along the road in these areas.
2. Rain gardens will overflow - provide from by-passes for large stormevents.

3. Always try a pilot - small scale first.

4. Educate the community - there will be aesthetic issues - it is a rain garden a living breathing system - not a flower garden.

5. Kids get bored and make bad decisions.

6. They should make the homeowners put in their own rain gardens on their property - there is room.

7. System appeared to be significantly undersized and not sized for peak storms.

8. Before ripping these out - we should learn from the mistakes and problems.  These problems appear to include: poor siting, design issues, lifestyle issues and changes, education on value, lack of capacity,  use not putting up with some inconvenience (insects, odors), and overall siting.

Just my thoughts

Brian Oram, Professional Geologist

Source for Small Scale Stormwater Systems and Rain Gardens

Friday, September 16, 2011

DALLAS TWP. - Residents erupted in protest Wednesday after the supervisors unanimously

Author -

DALLAS TWP. - Residents erupted in protest Wednesday after the supervisors unanimously voted to approve an agreement with Chief Gathering LLC to run a natural gas pipeline within a third of a mile of the Dallas district schools.

The agreement, similar to one the supervisors approved on Aug. 16 with Williams Field Services, sets provisions Chief must follow in the construction of a pipeline from natural gas wells in Susquehanna County to connect with the Transco interstate pipeline in Dallas Township. "We resent the fact that you're force-feeding us something we haven't even seen in writing," resident and supervisor candidate Liz Martin said.
The township's planning commission gave Chief conditional approval Tuesday night for the pipeline; the company has to show proof it has obtained the required state permits.

Township solicitor Thomas Brennan said the agreement with Chief, like that with Williams, calls for:
  • A 25-foot setback away from neighboring properties.
  • Chief still has to go through a land development and zoning process for the metering station to measure gas going into the Transco.
  • All laws and federal regulations will apply to the pipeline construction.
  • The metering station has to be "as benign" as it can be.
  • Chief won't put anything else natural gas-related within 1.75 miles of the Dallas district schools.
The agreement and planning commission approval are based on Chief's May 3 application, which calls for the pipeline to run through Goodleigh Estates. If the pipeline route is changed, it will require a new agreement and approval.

Development residents Jeffrey Dickson, his wife Jo Ann, their neighbors William and Patricia Watkins and Scott and Kelley Watkins filed a legal action April 26 against neighbor, Tuula D'Anca, for leasing Chief a right-of-way through her property; they say she violated the development's covenants.

Dickson's attorney, Robert D. Schaub, asked the supervisors to postpone the vote until they had a chance to look at the deeds and covenants. But Brennan said it is a private matter, so the township cannot get involved. The residents can go to court and get an injunction, "and this agreement does not stop you from doing that," he said.

"The agreement was fair for both parties and Chief is glad we were able to come to an understanding with the township," Chief's attorney Jeffrey Malak said.  Residents let loose with calls of "traitor" and "turncoat" to Malak when he told them he was a Back Mountain resident as well. There was also a lot of anger at the supervisors, who, as resident Calvin Tinsley noted, were not listening to the residents who elected them.
Resident Wayne Dottor said the agreement should be modified to put the pipeline somewhere without residences and not near schools, like the Luzerne County Fairgrounds.

The gas companies' arrogance also came up, including being referenced by Brennan and blasted by Tinsley, who said, "You people don't seem to understand. They don't give a damn." He said he has a pipeline on his own property and the company invaded what were supposed to be protected wetlands. "That's why we're outraged. They come in here with their monster arrogance," resident Jim DeMichele said. In other business, Brennan unveiled an amendment that would update the township's zoning ordinance to address issues related to natural gas drilling, including metering stations and pipelines. Other than existing pipelines, township officials "never really dreamed" there would be the kind of Marcellus Shale development that occurred over the past three years, Brennan said.

The amendment can be read online at and copies will be available in the township building. The supervisors will accept residents' comments on it until Oct. 13., 570-821-2072

My comments are as follows:
1. Where is the health and safety plan?
2. Where is the emergency response plan?
3. Who will tell the community what to do in the case of an emergency with either the gathering line or the Transco Pipeline?


Monday, September 12, 2011

Court Strikes Down Morgantown's Fracking Ban- West Virginia

Morgantown Fracking Ban Overturned


"Morgantown, W.Va. — The Circuit Court of Monongalia County, W.Va. entered summary judgment Friday overturning the City of Morgantown’s recently enacted ordinance banning horizontal drilling and fracking in and around the city. The Court determined that the drilling ban is preempted by the State's regulatory scheme and is therefore invalid, ruling in favor of Northeast Natural Energy (Northeast).

Judge Susan B. Tucker's order came in a  lawsuit filed by Northeast shortly after the ordinance was enacted in late June. Northeast has two Marcellus natural gas wells at a decades-old industrial site across the  Monongahela River from Morgantown. The two wells were fully permitted by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection three months before the ordinance was enacted.

Northeast is represented by Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC lawyers James A. Walls, Michael S. Garrison and Tamara B. Williamson, each of whom is a skilled litigator with experience in the natural gas industry."

Link to law firm website - 

Posted for informational purposes only

1. Ordinance passed City's June 21, 2011

2. Overturned  August 12, 2011  - That is a quick court system.

3. This appears to be the intent of the ordinance that was overturned
“An ordinance repealing Article 721 of the City of Morgantown’s Business and Taxation Code and replacing it with a new Article 721, which prohibits oil and gas drilling operations which involve horizontal drilling with fracturing or fracking within the City, and the operation of wells that utilize horizontal drilling with fracturing or fracking within one mile of the Morgantown City limits.” (The first reading was adopted on June 7, 2011.)  The vote was 6 in favor and 1 opposed." - Source

4. I looked at the City of Morgantowns Website for the Ordinance I found this link to all their ordinances.  I did not find the ordinance in question.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Flood Related Information and Assistance from the PADEP

Flooding from Tropical Storm Lee has devastated communities in much of the eastern half of Pennsylvania and left countless families and businesses facing unbelievable destruction. If you or someone you know has been impacted by the devastating flooding, the information in this document will help you to safely start recovering from this tragedy.

• When in doubt, throw it out! Throw away food that may have come in contact with floodwater – like:
o Home-canned foods.
o All foods in cardboard boxes, paper, foil, cellophane (plastic wrap) or cloth.

o Meat, poultry, eggs or fish.
o Spices, seasonings, extracts, flour, sugar, grain, coffee and other staples in canisters.
o Unopened jars with waxed cardboard seals, such as mayonnaise and salad dressing. Also, throw away preserves sealed with paraffin wax.
o Throw away any fruits and vegetables that have been in contact with floodwaters – including those that have not been harvested from gardens.
o Wooden cutting boards, plastic utensils, baby bottle nipples and pacifiers.
• You do NOT need to throw away the following items if they have been in contact with floodwater:
o Commercially canned foods that came into contact with floodwater and have been properly cleaned by: labeling cans with the name of food in permanent marker; removing labels; washing cans in water containing detergent; soaking cans for at least one minute in chlorine solution; rinsing in clean, cool water; placing on sides to dry (do not stack cans).

o Dishes and glassware if they are sanitized by boiling in clean water or by immersing them for 15 minutes in a solution of one teaspoon of chlorine bleach per quart of water.
• If electricity at your home has been off for long periods of time, throw away perishable foods (like meat, poultry, fish, eggs, leftovers, etc.) that have been above 40 degrees for two hours or more.
• Local authorities will tell you if tap water is safe to drink or use for cooking or bathing.
• If the water is unsafe, authorities may issue “boil water advisories” or tell you to use bottled water. Follow boil water advisories exactly to safely disinfect tap water before using it. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, cooking, food preparation, dishwashing, making ice and coffee, mixing baby formula and brushing teeth.
• Thoroughly wash all metal pans, ceramic dishes and utensils that come in contact with floodwater with hot soapy water and sanitize by boiling these items in clean water, or by immersing them for 15 minutes in a solution of one teaspoon of chlorine bleach per quart of water.

• If your private water well has been flooded, follow the disinfection instructions found in the flood-related information tab on the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s website or call the toll-free number, both of which can be found at the bottom of this fact sheet.

• Restaurant and food facilities inspected by the state, and hit by floodwaters, must be inspected by the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Food Safety prior to reopening.

• Farmers whose crops have been submerged in floodwaters need to have crops tested. Farmers should contact their local county Agriculture extension office for testing.
• Farmers whose crops have been harvested for forage and were submerged should also be tested before use. Farmers can contact local county Agriculture extension offices or the Department of Agriculture.


Avoid Floodwater and Mosquitoes
• Avoid contact with floodwater, which contains contaminants (things like sewage, fuel and hazardous chemicals) and debris from flooded homes, businesses and industrial sites.
• Disease outbreaks after floods are unusual. Therefore, the Pennsylvania Department of Health does not recommend vaccinating all flood survivors against tetanus. If you receive a puncture wound or have a wound that has come in contact with potentially contaminated floodwater, contact a health care provider promptly and ask if you need a tetanus booster or vaccine.
• Prevent mosquito bites by wearing long pants, socks, and long-sleeved shirts and by using insect repellents that contain DEET or Picaridin. To control mosquito populations, drain all standing water left in open containers – such as flower pots or buckets – outside your home or business.
Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
• Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that is produced by many types of equipment and is poisonous to breathe. Never use a gas-powered pump or generator, pressure washer, charcoal grill, camp stove, or other gasoline- or charcoal-burning device inside your home, basement or garage or near a window, door or vent. If your carbon monoxide detector sounds, leave your home immediately and call 9-1-1. Seek prompt medical attention if you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed or nauseated.

Wash your Hands
• Use soap and warm water to wash your hands. If water isn't available, use alcohol-based sanitizer.
Treat Wounds
• Clean out all open wounds and cuts with soap and clean water. Contact a doctor to find out whether more treatment is needed (such as a tetanus shot). If a wound gets red, swells, or drains, seek immediate medical attention.
Wear Protective Gear for Cleanup Work
• The CDC recommends wearing hard hats, goggles, heavy work gloves and watertight boots with steel toes and insoles (not just steel shank). Wear earplugs or protective headphones to reduce risk from equipment noise.
Clean Up and Prevent Mold Growth
• Be careful when entering a flood-damaged building. Loose, wet ceiling plaster is heavy and dangerous, so knock down hanging plaster before moving around.
• Clean up and dry out flooded buildings within 24 to 48 hours if possible. Open doors and windows and use fans to speed drying. To prevent mold growth, clean wet items and surfaces with detergent and water. To remove mold growth, wear rubber gloves, open windows and doors, and clean with a bleach solution of one cup of bleach in one gallon of water. Throw away porous items – like carpet, mattresses and upholstered furniture – that cannot be dried quickly.
• Everything that floodwater has touched should be disinfected. Scrub down walls and any other smooth, hard surfaces with the same bleach-water solution.
• Do not rush to move back into your home. Before a house is habitable, it must be dried and thoroughly cleaned, since floodwaters pick up sewage and chemicals as they travel.
• Do not pump the basement until the water has gone down, as pumping a water-filled basement could result in the walls collapsing.
• Contact your local code enforcement officer to inspect homes and other buildings for structural damage.
• A maintenance company or Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry inspector should inspect: o Flooded buildings with elevators.

o Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) tanks that were under water.
o Any boiler that was under water.
o Service stations with dispensing equipment (gas pumps, etc.) that were under water.
• When cleaning up, dispose of chemicals or other hazardous materials safely – never in creeks, streams or rivers.
Avoid Electrocution
• Once inside a flood-ravaged building, turn off the gas and electricity. Wear rubber-soled shoes or boots and rubber gloves and turn off the main switch using a piece of rubber, plastic or dry wood while standing on a dry board to avoid electrocution.
• Do not touch downed power lines or other wires and do not touch any water into which a power line has fallen.
Federal Assistance
• At this time, there is no federal assistance for homeowners and renters as a result of this flooding incident.
• Local, county, state and federal teams will be conducting joint Preliminary Damage Assessments (PDA) as soon as it is safe to do so.
• PDA teams will be looking at damages for Public Assistance (PA) which applies primarily to infrastructure damages for local, county and state governments and certain non-profits.
• PDA teams will also look at damages for Individual Assistance (IA), which is made up of a number of federal programs designed to help citizens get back on their feet.
• For applicants who qualify, IA can include funds to repair damages, replace major appliances or pay for temporary housing.
• There is no state disaster assistance program.
• Right now, citizens should document any flood-related damages with photographs and detailed information on the losses they sustained. The PDA teams need that information if there is a disaster declaration that includes IA.

• Citizens are free to begin the repair and recovery process. Make sure to keep copies of any receipts from repairs.

• If we get a disaster declaration that includes IA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) will release information with instructions on how to apply.
• Citizens will be able to apply over the phone or internet. FEMA will also staff disaster recovery centers (DRC) in the counties included in the IA declaration.

• DRCs are one-stop shopping for citizens. They can get information on every available federal resource in order to recover from this devastating situation.

Unemployment Claims

• Unemployment claims are being processed normally.

Visit to file an unemployment claim online.
• The Unemployment Compensation Service Center can be reached from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. each work day and Sundays 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at 888-313-7284. TTY service is available for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing at 888-334-4046. Videophone service for individuals who use American Sign Language (ASL) is available every Wednesday from noon to 4 p.m. at 717-704-8474.
Crop Insurance
• Those dealing with flood-related crop damage should note the following: o If participating in a federally-sponsored crop insurance plan, you must notify an agent within 72 hours of discovery of crop damage.
o All residue and crop damage should be left intact until insurance agents can properly assess extent of damage.
o Individuals should contact Karen Powell at 717-705-9511 or their crop insurance agent with crop insurance questions.
o Contact the Department of Agriculture at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency Agriculture desk at 717-651-2062.

Charity Scams
• Beware of charity scams. There are many legitimate organizations that help during disasters, but others prey on people’s generosity.
• Be wary of high pressure tactics and door-to-door solicitations; ask how much of the donations will go to the intended purpose and how much will be spent on operating expenses and fundraising.
• Write checks directly to the charity; don’t give cash donations.
• To check whether a charity is registered in Pennsylvania, call the Department of State’s Bureau of Charitable Organizations at 1-800-732-0999, or visit and click on “charities”.

Coping After a Disaster
• The days and weeks after an emergency are going to be rough. Some sleeplessness, anxiety, anger, hyperactivity, mild depression or lethargy are normal and may go away with time. If you or your loved ones feel any of these symptoms severely, seek counseling.
• The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare’s Mental Health Crisis Counseling Hotline (1-866-803-6382) is also available to help citizens cope with mental health issues related to Tropical Storm Lee. The service is available to all Pennsylvanians and is staffed by trained crisis workers 24 hours a day during the immediate crisis period.

• The Mental Health Crisis Counseling Hotline targets mental health-related calls and provides information to assist callers with contacts to their local resources. General questions should be directed to their local emergency management office.

Pennsylvania Department of Health • •
1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258)
Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency •
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection • • 1-866-255-5158
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture •
Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry •

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Public Warned of Health Threats from Floodwaters

"The state departments of Health (DOH) and Environmental Protection (DEP) todaywarned residents in central and eastern Pennsylvania of the health risks associated with coming into contact with floodwater.

A total of 159 water and sewage treatment plants have been affected, some to the point of overflow, causing sewage to leak into streams and rivers in some areas. In addition, floodwaters are carrying contaminants and debris from flooded homes and industrial sites.
"We have seen onlookers wading into floodwater to take photographs," said DEP Secretary Mike Krancer. "We cannot stress strongly enough that it is just not safe to be in contact with this water at this time."

Officials reminded residents the water has yet to crest in all areas. However, the state is working with local municipalities and regulators to immediately begin the process of rebuilding and recovery.
Residents should heed announcements from their local municipalities on the quality of drinking water, paying special attention to boil water advisories and requests for water conservation. Private wells that have been submersed by flooding should be tested prior to using the well water for drinking or bathing.
"Pennsylvanians' health and safety remains our top priority," said Department of Health Secretary Dr. Eli Avila. "We are working with local health care providers and facilities to ensure the public receives proper medical care in the affected areas and to get the word out on post-flooding health and safety guidelines."

In the event local water supplies become contaminated, or residents observe that tap water is cloudy and/or contains an unusual odor, they should:
Use alcohol-based, waterless hand sanitation products to clean their hands.
Use bottled water for drinking water.

Boil water by bringing it to a rolling boil and letting the water boil for at least one minute. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, cooking, food preparation, dishwashing, making ice/coffee, mixing baby formula and brushing teeth.

Wear gloves to protect open scratches or wounds from contacting contaminated floodwater. Raw sewage and other bacteria in floodwaters can cause infections. Wounds should be cleaned thoroughly with soap and clean water.

Disinfect everything the water has touched with a two-percent chlorine bleach solution. Use two or three capfuls of chlorine bleach per each bucket of water. Wear gloves and boots when disinfecting.

Discard food that has come in contact with floodwaters. Dishes and eating and cooking utensils should be thoroughly scrubbed with a solution made of clean water and chlorine bleach.
Common health threats after flooding include gastrointestinal (GI) disease and staph infections from contaminated waters.
To prevent mold, standing water should be removed from flooded buildings within 48 hours. If you plan to be inside the building for a while or you plan to clean up mold, you should buy a N95 mask at your local home supply store and wear it while in the building."

All great points
1. Additional Point for Private Well Owners

Friday, September 9, 2011

Flooding and Private Wells - If your private well has been flooded and inundated with water

I go to a lot of meetings and the citizens are always concerned about how the Marcellus Drilling might impact the groundwater aquifer, but we all seem to forget about these flooding events that most likely have a more cummulative negative impact on the environment and our health. If your private well has been inudated with water and possibly submerged, you will need to take the following action:

1. Make sure the power is off the the well and check the electrical connections. The well is accustom to being submerged, but not the electrical connections at the top of the well.
2. If necessary you may want to have a licensed well driller, plumber or other electrial contractor check the electrical connections.
3. If the connections look good - the well should be pumped to waste for the equivalent of 3 wellbore volumes. One wellbore volume is:
Depth of Well - 100 feet
Depth to water - 20 feet
Depth of Water in the well - 80 feet
Volume of water in 6 inch well - 80 * 1.5 = 120 gallons
4. Assuming the well contains a pump that pumps 5 gpm - one wellbore volume would be equivalent to pumping the well for 25 minutes. Therefore, 3 volumes would be 75 minutes.

5. Now shock disinfect the well - there is a procedure online at

6. Get the water tested - or contact a local laboratory or the PADEP.

Secretary Of Energy Report on Shale Gas - August 2011 - The problem is poor cementing and casing practices

The Secretary of Energy,  Steven Chu’s,  Shale Gas Commission released a report in mid August that basically said there is a growing demand for natural gas and a great potential, but there are a number of environmental concerns.  When statesments like this are made, the first thing individuals think about is the "frac process". 

The problem was the primary concerns were:
a. Cummulative effects associated with air quality.
b. Tracking and Monitoring Water Usage
c. Better Disclosure of Frac Chemicals and Best Practices
d. The Problem appears to be poor construction and cementing practices, older / abandon wells
e. Need for funded research
f. Need for more public and private partnerships and education
To download a copy of a 40 page copy of this report - Go to B.F. Environmental Consultants Inc.

other good articles or websites
Dont Fear the Frac

Water Research Center - Guest Report : Can Soft Water Solve Eczema Problems?

Can Soft Water Solve Eczema Problems?
Dry Skin - Eczema

For years there has been discussion about whether or not soft water relieves or even solves eczema-related problems. Companies have long touted the benefits of using water softener systems to turn hard water into soft water, and many machines have been sold based on this woolly ‘precept’. Such claims can raise hopes for parents whose children suffer eczema. According to a news article on the BBC website, ‘anecdotally, there are years of reports of people saying soft or softened water was helpful’.

Here, I want to look at the facts concerning soft water and eczema, and ask the big question: can soft water really be beneficial for eczema sufferers? And does hard water really aggravate eczema?

The difference between soft and hard water

To form a true picture of why someone would postulate the health benefits of soft water, we must turn to science and look at the composition of both water types. Water in its most fundamental state is represented by that most famous of chemical formulae: H2O. This abundant compound consists of one single atom of oxygen and two of hydrogen, chemistry 101 at its most basic.

Water can take many different forms: it can be a liquid, a gas or a solid; it can be light (deuterium-depleted) or heavy (lots of deuterium); and, of course, it can be soft or hard.

Hard water contains a high level of mineral content, namely calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg). When water passes through crevices, nooks and crannies in the ground, and over minerals such as calcite and gypsum, it ‘collects’ these minerals and forms hard water. In the United States, the majority of households suffer from hard water.

Soft water does not contain calcium and magnesium. Instead, it contains an abundance of sodium, and water softening machines turn hard water into soft water by a process known as ‘ion exchange’. Rain is an example of naturally occurring soft water. The main reason why water softeners are used in households is because hard water, when heated to specific temperatures, creates lime scale deposits that block pipes and ruin kettle and boiler elements. However, hard water is far better to drink than soft water because of its natural calcium content.

Following this logic, it must stand to reason that calcium and magnesium do nothing for eczema, or that sodium alone has some benefit to eczema sufferers. Can this be true?
The Big question: can soft water relieve eczema symptoms?

A study conducted by the University of Nottingham in the UK (known as the Softened Water Eczema Trial – SWET Trial) looked at 336 children with moderate to severe eczema. The experiment evaluated whether or not ion-exchange home water softening systems could reduce eczema symptoms.

The study lasted for exactly twelve weeks and used two groups of children to objectively determine any positive effects. Unfortunately, the trial provided no direct evidence to suggest water softeners relieve eczema symptoms via the use of ion-exchange water softener machines.

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Monday, September 5, 2011

Private Wells Pennsylvania an Online Guide Protect Your Groundwater Day September 13

Nearly a million households in Pennsylvania rely on private water supplies.In Pennsylvania, protection and maintenance of a private well is largely the responsibility of homeowners. Private wells are typically safe, dependable sources of water if sited wisely and constructed properly. Information is provided here to have your private water supply built correctly and protected adequately.  There are approximately 20,000 new private wells drilled each year in Pennsylvania.  Within Pennsylvania, 4.5 million people (37%) of Pennsylvania’s population Directly use ground water as their potable water source and indirectly we ALL rely on this resource.
The following are links to key documents or resources that each private well owner should have available (FREE).

1. Citizens Guide to Drinking Water Quality
2. How to shock disinfect a well?
3. A Drinking Water Help Guide.
4. Using a Sanitary Well Cap  and a Guide to Private Well Construction
5. "Getting the Waters Tested - The Marcellus Shale Factor-" Past Presentations- Information on Methane Gas (PA)

6. The formation of the Citzen Groundwater Database.  Work as a Community to Protect OUR Groundwater.  Information Sheet to submit data to the Citzen Database- complete form and send form and data to

7. Powerpoint Presentations on Groundwater Quality.
8. Master Well Owners and Carbon County Groundwater Guardians Groups
9. Informational Water Testing Program- affliate program available to help you non-profit or environmental group raise public awareness and help test private wells with an informational water testing program.

Please participate in the Free Private Well Owner Survey Related to the Marcellus Shale Formation and other Black Shales/ Unconventional Formations.

Please visit our family of websites:
B.F. Environmental Consultants

Protect Your Groundwater Day is on September 13, 2011

Why does Pennsylvania's groundwater need to be protected?  What can you do?

4½ million people (37%) of Pennsylvania’s population use ground water as their potable water source.
The ground-water resources of Pennsylvania need to be protected against contamination entering through improperly constructed residential wells and geothermal boreholes.

Simple ways everyone can act to protect Pennsylvania's groundwater:

Everyone can and should do something to protect groundwater. Why? We all have a stake in maintaining its quality and quantity. For starters, 95 percent of all available freshwater comes from aquifers underground. Being a good steward of groundwater just makes sense. Not only that, most surface water bodies are connected to groundwater so how you impact groundwater matters.

Furthermore, many public water systems draw all or part of their supply from groundwater, so protecting the resource protects the public water supply and impacts treatment costs. If you own a well to provide water for your family, farm, or business, groundwater protection is doubly important. As a well owner, you are the manager of your own water system. Protecting groundwater will help reduce risks to your water supply.

Groundwater protection

There are two fundamental categories of groundwater protection:

Goal 1:Keeping Groundwater safe from contamination.
Goal 2: Using it wisely by not wasting it.

Before examining what you can do to protect groundwater, however, you should know that sometimes the quality and safety of groundwater is affected by substances that occur naturally in the environment.

Naturally occurring contamination

The chemistry of the groundwater flowing into a well reflects what’s in the environment. If the natural quality of groundwater to be used for human consumption presents a health risk, water treatment will be necessary.
Examples of naturally occurring substances that can present health risk are:

Microorganisms (i.e., bacteria, viruses, and parasites; these tend to be more common in shallow groundwater)
Radionuclides (i.e., radium, radon, and uranium)
Heavy metals (i.e., arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, and selenium).

Public water systems are required to treat drinking water to federal quality standards. However, it is up to private well owners to make sure their water is safe.

Contamination caused by human activities

Human activities can pollute groundwater, and this is where every person can help protect groundwater — both in terms of groundwater quality and quantity.

Some common human causes of groundwater contamination are:

Improper storage or disposal of hazardous substances
Improper use of fertilizers, animal manures, herbicides, insecticides, and pesticides
Chemical spills
Improperly built and/or maintained septic systems
Improperly abandoned wells (these include water wells, groundwater monitoring wells, and wells used in cleaning contaminated groundwater)
Poorly sited or constructed water wells.

An emerging concern in recent years is the occurrence of pharmaceuticals and personal care products in water. Much research remains to be done to assess the health risks of trace amounts of these items. Nevertheless, disposal strategies for these substances are increasingly being advocated.

Water conservation

Americans are the largest water users, per capita, in the world. In terms of groundwater, Americans use 79.6 billion gallons per day — the equivalent of 2,923 12-oz. cans for every man, woman, and child in the nation.
Agricultural irrigation is far and away the largest user of groundwater in America at 53.5 billion gallons a day followed by public use via public water systems or private household wells at a combined total of 18.3 billion gallons per day. More efficient use of water in either of these areas could save a huge amount.

At the household level, the greatest amount of water used inside the home occurs in the bathroom. The remainder of indoor water use is divided between clothes washing and kitchen use, including dish washing, according to the U.S. EPA. Calculate your household water use here.

Depending on where in the country you live, outdoor water use can vary widely.

If you want to get an ever better idea how much water you use, find out your “water footprint” by calculating the amount of water it takes to produce some of the food you consume.

ACT — Acknowledge, Consider, Take action

On Protect Your Groundwater Day, the PGWA and the NGWA urge you to ACT. Use this day to begin doing your part for protecting one of our most important natural resources — groundwater.

​1.Acknowledge the causes of preventable groundwater contamination —
There are hazardous substances common to households.  Most household water use occurs in a few areas around the home. ​If you own a water well -Wellheads should be a safe distance from potential contamination. Septic system malfunctions can pollute groundwater. Poorly constructed or maintained wells can facilitate contamination. Improperly abandoned wells can lead to groundwater contamination.

Get Your Water Tested - Pump Out your Septic Tank

2.​ Consider which apply to you —

What specific hazardous substances are in and around your home?
Where do you and your family use the most water?
If you own a water well is your wellhead a safe distance from possible contamination?
Is your well/septic system due for an inspection?
Are there any abandoned wells on your property?

3. Take action to prevent groundwater contamination —

When it comes to hazardous household substances:
Store them properly in a secure place
Use them according to the manufacturer’s recommendations
Dispose of them safely.

When it comes to water conservation:
Modify your water use (more water saving tips)
Install a water-saving device.

If you own a water well ​move possible contamination sources a safe distance from the wellhead
Get current on your septic system inspection and cleaning
Get your annual water well system inspection
Properly decommission any abandoned wells using a professional.

For more information on Protect Your Groundwater Day, contact NGWA Public Awareness Director Cliff Treyens at

Content - Source - "Editting of Press Release Related to Groundwater Day- 2011".