Sunday, January 27, 2013

Private Well Owners in the United States - Your Story Matters - Website Dedicated to Information for Private Well Owners, Evaluation of Water Related Problems, and Education/Outreach Program.

Mr. Brian Oram is a licensed professional geologist in the state of Pennsylvania and a professional soil scientist with over 25 years experience in applied earth and environmental sciences. Mr. Oram has conducted research and consulting projects related to acid mine drainage ( AMD ), mine drainage, lake and stream monitoring programs, wetland creation and monitoring, filtration plant performance evaluations, testing new point of use water treatment devices and systems, hydrogeological evaluations, geological investigations, soils testing, soil morphological evaluations, water well drilling and construction, drinking water testing, citizen science, and land reclamation. Mr. Oram has also been involved with Citizen Monitoring and other Environmental Training Programs for groups within the United States, Europe, and even the former Soviet Union.

With respect to private water systems, the Water Research Center has been active in educating private well owners about groundwater flow, water quality, common water quality problems, how to evaluate and review water quality data, and provide insights into wellhead protection and water treatment. We hope that you find our portals a solid information and educational tool.  For our most recent effort and in response to the development of oil and gas resources through unconventional formations, we have added a number of key items to our portals:

1. The Helpguide Section - we have added sections related to saline water, barium, strontium, lithium, methane gas, and updated many of the other articles.

2. Nuisance Problems - we have updated the sections of the website to describe intermittent water quality problems that may be caused by near surface disturbances, but related or made worse by a bacteira.

3. Presentations - we have added our presentations related to private wells and natural gas development as pdf files to the portal - this will help with baseline test.

4. Direct Outreach (This is a great place to tell your story) - We have created two surveys - One for PA residents and one for non-PA residients that are private well owners or small water system owners.  This is a place where you can begin to tell us what type of assistance you need or questions you have.  If you fill out a survey you will receive for free a copy of our latest booklet - This is a
$ 5.00 value or you can order the book for yourself.  (Proceeds from the book go into publishing more booklets).

5. Online Outreach - please go to our Facebook Website.  If you are in Pennsylvania - consider joining the PA Groundwater Forum or the Carbon County Groundwater Guardians.

6. In PA - we are working on an unfunded project - Called the Citizen Surfacewater and Groundwater Database - we will be happy to review your certified water quality data for free.

7.  New Outreach - The US Map of Suspected Well Water Impacts - we are assisting this effort. We hope we can provide a fair and balance approach to assist private well owners.

8. In the near future -we are working on a website of case studies related to well water problems.  Not available just yet.  When it is done - You can check out the Helpguide Page.

In closing - all I ask is that you consider supporting the Water Research Center - Send No Money, just a copy of your baseline data, exchange links with our site, and/or tell  your friends. 


Brian Oram
B.F. Environmental Consultants Inc.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Panel to Discuss Marcellus Shale Gas Exploration

WILKES-BARRE, PA—January 26, 2013—Brian Oram, a professional geologist and soil scientist and founder of B.F. Environmental Consultants, has been invited to speak as part of a panel of experts convened to discuss key questions and concerns surrounding the Marcellus Shale Gas Exploration work currently underway in northeastern Pennsylvania.
The event is sponsored by The Louis Maslow STEM School at Wyoming Seminary and will take place January 30 at 7:00 pm in Amado Auditorium in the Lower School located at 1560 Wyoming Avenue, Forty Fort, Pennsylvania. The purpose of the event is to bring together a panel composed of area leaders in education, industry and business and will allow for examination of the some of the many implications of the Shale Gas exploration in NEPA from a variety of perspectives.
“There are still many questions in the minds of area residents and lawmakers about the work gas companies are doing in our area,” Oram said. “I believe this panel will be able to answer many of them. This will be an excellent opportunity to fully explore these issues.”

Other panelists include Representative Sandra Major (Republican, Northern counties including Susquehanna); Rep. Phyllis Mundy (Democrat, Luzerne County); Eileen Cipriani, President, West Wyoming Borough Council; William desRosiers or George Stark from Cabot Oil and Gas; Brian Oram, local water quality expert; Kenneth Klemov from Wilkes University Institute on Energy and the Environment; Marlene Troy, Professor of Environmental Science at Wilkes University; and Bernard Prusak, Director of the McGowan School of Ethics and Social Responsibility at King's College.

Other outreach on Marcellus Shale and Private Wells
Citizen Groundwater Database
Private Well Owner Booklet for PA
Past Presentations Videos

Energy Conservation & Sustainability Strategies in Northeast Pennsylvania

Energy Conservation & Sustainability Strategies, Tuesday, 6 pm January 29, 2013

Green Field Energy Solutions will present information on conducting home energy audits to help identify opportunities to increase energy efficiency. Participants will learn about the many strategies they can implement to reduce energy consumption and energy costs. They will also present information on Solar Energy – the benefits and the steps involved in helping participants get off the grid.
Green Field Energy Solutions was founded on the principles of education and providing sustainable alternatives to energy that accommodates any budget or energy production goal. The GFES team is highly passionate about what we do. Our team brings over 16 years of engineering, construction, and project management experience as well a depth of education. Our technical and administrative staff makes the GFES experience easy for our clients.

Download a Pdf -

other key websites   Clean Drinking Water for Private Well Owners - Energy Related Products for Home and Office -

Monday, January 14, 2013

Timber Management Timber Harvesting Ordinances In Pennsylvania

Filling a request for information:

The borough of ???????  is nearing completion of a Multiple Municipal Comprehensive Plan. I believe it will recognize some issues involving steep slopes, run-off and natural resources and development. Hopefully, in the not to distant future,it will be presented to the councils of the involved municipalities and accepted. Once these issues have been acknowledged I am considering developing a timbering or logging ordinance. Also there has been some clearing and logging of, what some may consider, significant parcels of land. This has not gone unnoticed by some residents of the area. Considering these factors it may soon be an appropriate time to, ONCE AGAIN, bring up the idea of a Natural Resource Preservation Ordinance and or a Logging or Timbering or Forestry Ordinance. As a resident and a member of the Borough Planning Commission I consider these relevant issues.

I am looking for advice, input, facts, figures and possible support. Support from LOCAL organizations and residents will be the Key factor. I would like to start planning and looking for support now.

Thank you for your time.

The following items can be found at Conservation Tools
Chrin Brothers Inc. v. Williams Township Zoning Hearing Board and the Township of Williams (PA Commonwealth)
Organization: PA Commonwealth Court
Year: 2003
This case is one of the few where a timber harvester sued to overcome restrictions set forth by a local timber-harvesting ordinance. The municipality won this case, as it demonstrated that the restrictions were reasonable and defensible.

Dealing with Local Timber Harvesting Ordinances
Author(s): Coreen Ripp, Elif Kaynak, Mike Jacobson
Organization: Penn State University
This booklet was created by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, with input from the PA Forest Products Association and the PA Association of Township Supervisors. The booklet 's target audience is the forestry industry, therefore it is from their point of view in dealing with townships and their ordinances. However, a model timber harvesting ordinance is included in the Appendix to assist municipalities in creating laws that conform to the Municipal Planninc Code, allowing for the harvest of timber resources.

Kennett Township (Chester County) Timber Ordinance
Organization: Kennett Township, Chester County
The Amendments to the Kennett Township Land Development Ordinance, defining generally accepted forestry terminology, setting acceptable standards and practices, esablishing different riparian buffers, etc.

Model Timber Harvesting Ordinance, PA
Organization: Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors
A model ordinance created by PSATS, DCNR and various academics ordaining and enacting regulations to timber harvesting practices and to allow for and encourage proper forest management within a township.

Montgomery Co. Planning Commission Timber Harvest Ordinance
Organization: Montgomery Co. Planning Commission
Very detailed and descriptive ordinance that addresses a variety of issues regarding timber harvesting in a township.

Stoltzfus v Zoning Hearing Board of Eden Township, Lancaster County, 2007 WL 3274837 (PA Cmwlth, 2007).
Organization: PA Commonwealth Court
Year: 2007

PA Commonwealth Court case upholding a municipality's refusal to grant a variance to an individual requesting that a log processing business on agricultural land be reclassified as a forestry use.

Taylor v. Harmony Township Board of Commissioners (PA Cmwlth, 2004)
Organization: PA Commonwealth Court
Year: 2004

PA Commonwealth Court case upholding an ordinance which restricted timber harvesting on steep slopes that are flood or landslide-prone. The appellant argued the township may not restrict timber harvesting, because the MPC prohibits unreasonable restrictions on timber harvesting. The court found the harvesting prohibition on landslide-prone land was reasonable.

Timber Harvest Operations Field Guide For Waterways, Wetlands and Erosion Control
Organization: PA Department of Environmental Protection
Year: 2007
Information to assist timber harvesters to prepare and implement soil erosion and sediment control plans, and to work around streams and wetlands. Experience has shown that most soil erosion problems originate with the improper layout or construction of skid trails, logging roads and landing areas. Therefore, the focus of this publication is to provide guidance and furnish specifications to properly design and implement an effective erosion and sediment control plan on a timber harvesting site.

Timber Harvest Ordinance, Center Township
Organization: Center Township, Butler County, PA
Year: 2002
This ordinance is posted to show the sections related to permit issuance, violation notices, suspensions, and penalties.
Timber Harvesting Information
Organization: West Bradford Township, Chester County
Year: 2006
Provides information for individuals or companies that are looking to conduct a timber harvest in West Bradford Township. It explains the processes that must take place prior to the issuance of a permit and, more importantly, includes a sample permit document.

Timber Harvesting Ordinance, Montgomery County
Organization: Montgomery Co. Planning Commission
Detailed example of a timber harvest ordinance. Also includes a detailed glossary of terms.

Timber Harvesting Ordinance, Williams Township, Northumberland County
Organization: Williams Township, Northumberland County
The timber harvesting ordinance that was upheld by the Commonwealth Court of PA in Chrin Bros., Inc. v. Williams Township Zoning Hearing Board. In part, the court found that the township was within its right to impose reasonable regulations on forestry practices within its boundaries.

Timber Harvesting/Riparian Buffer Ordinance, Kennett Township
Organization: Kennett Township, Chester County
Year: 2005
A very well-written and concise example of a timber ordinance. We’ve included this document due to its detail in addressing riparian buffers and woodland disturbance.
For more information, visit

Here is what I found.
Please support the Carbon Groundwater Guardians and The Water Research Center

PS – We have a new education booklet out for Private Well Owners in PA

Interesting Reading
Soil Science Simplified -

Manual of Woody Landscape Plants: Their Identification, Ornamental Characteristics, Culture, Propogation and Uses

Carbon budget of forest biomass and soils in southeast Norway calculated using a widely applicable method [An article from: Forest Ecology and Management]