Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Home Builders Remodeling Contractors: Energy Efficiency Is Homeowners' Top 'Unmet Need'



Poll: Energy Efficiency is America’s No. 1 Housing Concern


Safety, affordability and privacy were unsurprisingly some of top housing needs identified in a recent national survey of more than 10,000 households by the Demand Institute. However, the top unmet housing concern was not as easily predicted: energy efficiency. The poll was intended to define a "satisfaction gap" between what respondents actually have and what they say is important. Survey respondents were given a list of 52 housing and community concerns and asked to rank them, on a scale of 1 to 10, by how important they felt the issues were and how much their current home satisfied these needs. The result: 71% of U.S. households polled placed a great deal of importance on energy efficiency, but only 35% felt their homes were energy efficient with low monthly utility costs. Based on these numbers, energy efficiency was the housing concern with the largest gap between the rates of importance and satisfaction—beating out consumer needs and wants for storage space, safe neighborhoods, affordability, landlord responsiveness, and more.

Read More about this Poll

Take Action

Energy Audit Training Program - Special Discount $ 50.00
Combined Residential and Commercial Training Course Discount - $ 300+ Discount


B.F. Environmental Consultants based in Northeastern Pennsylvania and the Poconos region has been providing professional geological soils hydrogeological environmental consulting services since 1985. The company specializes in the following areas: hydrogeological and wastewater evaluations for siting land-based wastewater disposal systems; soils consulting (soil scientists), environmental monitoring, overseeing the siting, exploration, and development of community/ commercial water supply sources; environmental training/ professional training courses, and other environmental services.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Radiation From Fracking? Yes But Not a Big Problem (PADEP)


PADEP Says Not A Problem
" While many environmental issues whirl around the drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, at least we don’t have to worry about radiation.
In the most comprehensive study of the subject ever conducted, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection found that there is no concern of radiation exposure from fracking wells for oil or gas (PA DEP News Release).
Released last week, the Technologically-Enhanced Naturally-Occurring Radioactive Material, or TENORM, study, analyzed the levels of radioactivity associated with oil and gas development in Pennsylvania, particularly fracking. PA DEP Deputy Secretary Vince Brisini said the study concluded there is little potential for harm to workers or the public from radiation exposure from fracking for either oil or gas.
Only a few samples analyzed in the study were found with radiation levels above that of potato chips, which have the highest radioactivity of all foods.
Rocks, sediments and sands contain naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) such as uranium, thorium, potassium-40, carbon-14 and tritium (H-3) as well as their daughter products (see figure at end of post), particularly radon (Rn) and radium (Ra)."
A real problem is Radon in Air and Water in homes. Radon Air and Water Testing and Radon Measurement Training Course
Suggestions by Blog Owner.
1. Not all areas and deposits are the same and some deposits may be have high radioactivity.
2. All waste streams should be monitored and evaluated.
3. Workers protected and screened and waste streams properly managed and disposed.
4. If a beneficial use is proposed, this should require an experimental and limited permit to evaluate the risks and develop best management practices.
Courses 

40-hour HAZWOPER OSHA Certificate Training Program

40-hour HAZWOPER OSHA in Wilkes Barre PA

The HAZWOPER Course content is based on the OSHA 29 CFR 1910.120 Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard.  The standard was developed to ensure that workers working in the following areas were protected from hazards they may encounter:

1. Clean-up Operations
2. Corrective Actions at RCRA Facilities
3. Voluntary Clean-Up Operations
4. Hazardous Waste Activities at TSDs
5. Emergency Response Operations for Releases of, or Substantial Threats of Releases of Hazardous Substances Without Regard to the Location of the Hazard

Students, upon completion of the course, will receive a 40-hour certificate of completion that will meet the classroom requirements for working at hazardous waste sites plus 2, 3 and 4 above.  It will also cover a portion of the requirements for 5 Emergency Responders.

5 day Course
This five-day course is entitled HAZWOPER/OSHA Certificate and will be held on the campus of Wilkes University on March 6, 7, 8, and March 21 and 22, 2015 from
8 AM to 5 Pm each day.

Topics:  The course topics will include: OSHA Regulations, Basics of Chemistry, Basics of Toxicology, Sources of Information, Respiratory Protection, Dispersion of Chemicals in the Environment, Health & Safety Management, Site Control, Safe Work Practices, Confined Spaces, Excavation & Trenching, Hazard Assessment, Monitoring Instruments, Personal Protective Equipment, Decontamination, Medical Surveillance, Container Management, Emergency Response, Site Safety Plan and Other Hazards.

Instructors:  Richard Hofman, CIH, CSP, CPEA (Lead) is a part-time senior safety and health consultant with High EH&S Consulting Ltd. Mr. Hofman is the Safety & Health Manager for the VA Hospital System in Washington D.C. Prior to this he was actively involved as a principal consultant and vice-president with Hofman Safety and Industrial Hygiene over 18 years. He is a board certified safety professional and certified industrial hygienist. Richard is also certified as a professional environmental auditor in health and safety. He holds a BS from Wilkes University in Environmental Sciences. He has over 30 years of experience.

Steven High, MPH, MS, CSP, ARM, CHST, EMT is the president of High EH&S Consulting Ltd. based in Lancaster, PA. Mr. High has over 25 years of experience in safety and health. He holds a BS in Business Administration from Elizabethtown College, a Masters in Public Health from Johns Hopkins, a Masters in Safety Sciences from IUP and many other professional designations. He provides instructor-trainer programs for the OSHA Training Institute Outreach and is authorized as an construction and general industry trainer. He has held corporate positions in EH&S covering a wide range of industries.

Course will offer - 40 PDHs at a cost of $ 850.00

Wilkes University

Center for Continued Learning
84 West South Street, Wilkes Barre, PA 18766

Phone - 570 - 408-5615

other Announcements

2015 Contractors Expo Mohegan Sun- Thursday, February 19, 2015 from 4:30-8:30- only $ 30.00.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Potential for radiation exposure from oil and gas development PA Low.

Department of Environmental Protection: DEP study shows there is little potential for radiation exposure from oil and gas development.
Text of Jan. 15 press release.

"HARRISBURG – The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced the results of its TENORM Study, which analyzed the naturally occurring levels of radioactivity associated with oil and natural gas development in Pennsylvania. While the study outlines recommendations for further study, it concluded there is little potential for harm to workers or the public from radiation exposure due to oil and gas development.


"The study report is the culmination of a multi-year effort and represents what we believe to be the most comprehensive radiological study of the oil and gas industry ever conducted," Vince Brisini, DEP Deputy Secretary for Waste, Air, Radiation and Remediation said. "While the recommendations for future actions contained in the report call for additional studies and efforts, we now have data to inform the management of natural gas resources and resultant wastes for environmental and health protection."


In January 2013, at the direction of Gov. Tom Corbett, DEP began studying radioactivity levels in flowback waters, treatment solids and drill cuttings, as well as transportation, storage and disposal of drilling wastes. This included a study of radon levels in natural gas to ensure that public health and the environment continue to be protected.


In summary, the peer-reviewed study concluded that:
         There is little potential for additional radon exposure to the public due to the use of natural gas extracted from geologic formations located in Pennsylvania.
         There is little or limited potential for radiation exposure to the public and workers from the development, completion, production, transmission, processing, storage, and end use of natural gas. There are, however, potential radiological environmental impacts from fluids if spilled. Radium should be added to the Pennsylvania spill protocol to ensure cleanups are adequately characterized. There are also site-specific circumstances and situations where the use of personal protective equipment by workers or other controls should be evaluated.
         There is little potential for radiation exposure to workers and the public at facilities that treat oil and gas wastes. However, there are potential radiological environmental impacts that should be studied at all facilities in Pennsylvania that treat wastes to determine if any areas require remediation. If elevated radiological impacts are found, the development of radiological discharge limitations and spill policies should be considered.
         There is little potential for radiation exposure to the public and workers from landfills receiving waste from the oil and gas industry. However, filter cake from facilities treating wastes could have a radiological environmental impact if spilled, and there is also a potential long-term disposal issue. TENORM disposal protocols should be reviewed to ensure the safety of long-term disposal of waste containing TENORM.
         While limited potential was found for radiation exposure to recreationists using roads treated with brine from conventional natural gas wells, further study of radiological environmental impacts from the use of brine from the oil and gas industry for dust suppression and road stabilization should be conducted."

To read the entire report and a complete list of its observations and recommendations, visit www.dep.state.pa.us, keyword: TENORM.

Media contact: Eric Shirk, 717-787-1323

Northeast Pennsylvania Polycythemia Vera (PV) Investigation

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Northeast Pennsylvania Polycythemia Vera (PV) Investigation.  Update for 2014 !

Author - Lora Siegmann Werner, ATSDR Region 3

Posted with the authors approval - "I included you on this email because you have indicated in the past you were interested in receiving updates about ATSDR/CDC’s work to study the occurrence of polycythemia vera (PV) in three northeastern Pennsylvania counties (Carbon, Luzerne, and Schuylkill), or you are one of the researchers involved in this work.  When updates are available, my goal is to share this kind of email update with you periodically.  I first sent an update like this in October 2013, and most recently sent out updates in August 2014 and October 2014. This update is for January 2015.  

Background 
In 2004, using state cancer registry records, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PADOH) found a PV cluster in northeast Pennsylvania. PV is part of a disease group called myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN), which is a group of slow-growing blood cancers where the bone marrow makes too many red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets. 

In 2006, ATSDR was asked to help study PV patterns in the area. From 2007-2008, ATSDR reviewed medical records, conducted genetic testing, and confirmed this PV cluster.  In 2009, Congress funded ATSDR to continue this investigation. ATSDR is overseeing 18 projects with PADOH, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and various universities and private organizations. These projects are based on recommendations from an expert panel. The panel identified four areas for investigation; epidemiology, genetics, toxicology, and environmental studies.
In 2014, the last of the contracts for the 18 different projects ended.  

Status
The graphic with this email provides a summary of the status of each of the 18 projects as of January 2015.  I’ve attached this graphic both as a “snapshot” in the body of this email, as well as a pdf attachment.  Projects highlighted in “green” in the attached graphic have work complete and a final product available (if applicable).  Projects highlighted in “yellow” have final products in progress and undergoing clearance.  Projects highlighted in “red” have final products that are anticipated but not yet started.  The shapes of the projects in the graphics give you an idea of the category of work of that project, as described in the key on the graphic.

As of January 6, 2015, work is complete and a final product is available (if applicable) for 11 projects.  We are happy to announce that 1 new project (#10) moved from yellow to green since my October 2014 update:
#10:  “A Feasibility Assessment to Improve the Reporting of Hematopoietic Diseases“ conducted by CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control.  Final report and ATSDR/CDC summary factsheet on ATSDR website at:
http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/sites/polycythemia_vera/

The purpose of this study was to find ways to increase reporting of PV and other blood cancers to cancer registries by physicians’ offices and other outpatient facilities by working with state central cancer registries in Kansas, New York, and South Carolina. Blood cancers are under-reported because they are often diagnosed and treated in outpatient facilities. The reporting practices of physicians’ offices and other outpatient facilities can affect the completeness and accuracy of cancer registry data.  The primary finding from this study was that a substantial amount of effort and staff resources on the part of state cancer registries is needed to enhance the reporting for these illnesses. Final products for another projects are in progress; this includes one new project moving from red to yellow (#6, Gene Profiling) since my October 2014 update.   We are happy to report that all projects are in at least the yellow stage of final product development at this time.

For more information:
Call ATSDR’s toll-free PV information line: 866-448-0242 or email jcx0@cdc, which will connect you to Dr. Elizabeth Irvin-Barnwell, ATSDR Division of Toxicology and Human Health Sciences. 

Contact Lora Siegmann Werner, ATSDR Region 3, by phone at 215-814-3141 or by email at lkw9@cdc.gov. "

Comments by Brian Oram - Keystone Clean Water Team
1. Interesting pdf documents


2.Radionuclides may play a role -Recommend radon and radionuclide  testing if you are in regions with high background. 


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Cut Methane Climate Action Plan

FACT SHEET: Administration Takes Steps Forward on Climate Action Plan by Announcing Actions to Cut Methane Emissions

The Obama Administration is committed to taking responsible steps to address climate change and help ensure a cleaner, more stable environment for future generations. As part of that effort, today, the Administration is announcing a new goal to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40 – 45 percent from 2012 levels by 2025, and a set of actions to put the U.S. on a path to achieve this ambitious goal.

U.S. oil production is at the highest level in nearly 30 years, providing important energy security and economic benefits. The U.S. is also now the largest natural gas producer in the world, providing an abundant source of clean-burning fuel to power and heat American homes and businesses. Continuing to rely on these domestic energy resources is a critical element of the President’s energy strategy. At the same time, methane – the primary component of natural gas – is a potent greenhouse gas, with 25 times the heat-trapping potential of carbon dioxide over a 100-year period.

Methane emissions accounted for nearly 10 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2012, of which nearly 30 percent came from the production transmission and distribution of oil and natural gas. Emissions from the oil and gas sector are down 16 percent since 1990 and current data show significant reductions from certain parts of the sector, notably well completions. Nevertheless, emissions from the oil and gas sector are projected to rise more than 25 percent by 2025 without additional steps to lower them. For these reasons, a strategy for cutting methane emissions from the oil and gas sector is an important component of efforts to address climate change.

The steps announced today are also a sound economic and public health strategy because reducing methane emissions means capturing valuable fuel that is otherwise wasted and reducing other harmful pollutants – a win for public health and the economy. Achieving the Administration’s goal would save up to 180 billion cubic feet of natural gas in 2025, enough to heat more than 2 million homes for a year and continue to support businesses that manufacture and sell cost-effective technologies to identify, quantify, and reduce methane emissions.

ADMINISTRATION ACTIONS TO REDUCE METHANE EMISSIONS
Building on prior actions by the Administration, and leadership in states and industry, today the Administration is announcing a series of steps encompassing both commonsense standards and cooperative engagement with states, tribes and industry to put us on a path toward the 2025 goal. This coordinated, cross-agency effort will ensure a harmonized approach that also considers the important role of FERC, state utility commissions and environmental agencies, and industry. Administration actions include:

Propose and Set Commonsense Standards for Methane and Ozone-Forming Emissions from New and Modified Sources
In 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) laid a foundation for further action when it issued standards for volatile organic compounds (VOC) from the oil and natural gas industry.  These standards, when fully implemented, are expected to reduce 190,000 to 290,000 tons of VOC and decrease methane emissions in an amount equivalent to 33 million tons of carbon pollution per year. The standards not only relied on technologies and practices already in widespread use in the oil and gas sector, but also incorporated innovative regulatory flexibility.  Along with a rule to streamline permitting of oil and gas production on certain tribal lands, this approach ensured that important public health and environmental protections could be achieved while oil and gas production continued to grow and expand.

Building on five technical white papers issued last spring, the peer review and public input received on these documents, and the actions that a number of states are already taking, EPA will initiate a rulemaking effort to set standards for methane and VOC emissions from new and modified oil and gas production sources, and natural gas processing and transmission sources. EPA will issue a proposed rule in the summer of 2015 and a final rule will follow in 2016. In developing these standards, EPA will work with industry, states, tribes, and other stakeholders to consider a range of common-sense approaches that can reduce emissions from the sources discussed in the agency’s Oil and Gas White Papers, including oil well completions, pneumatic pumps, and leaks from well sites, gathering and boosting stations, and compressor stations.  As it did in the 2012 standards, the agency, in developing the proposal and final standards, will focus on in-use technologies, current industry practices, emerging innovations and streamlined and flexible regulatory approaches to ensure that emissions reductions can be achieved as oil and gas production and operations continue to grow.

New Guidelines to Reduce Volatile Organic Compounds
EPA will develop new guidelines to assist states in reducing ozone-forming pollutants from existing oil and gas systems in areas that do not meet the ozone health standard and in states in the Ozone Transport Region. These guidelines will also reduce methane emissions in these areas. The guidelines will help states that are developing clean air ozone plans by providing a ready-to-adopt control measure that they can include in those plans.

Consider Enhancing Leak Detection and Emissions Reporting
EPA will continue to promote transparency and accountability for existing sources by strengthening its Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program to require reporting in all segments of the industry. In addition to finalizing the updates to the program EPA has already proposed by the end of 2015, EPA will explore potential regulatory opportunities for applying remote sensing technologies and other innovations in measurement and monitoring technology to further improve the identification and quantification of emissions and improve the overall accuracy and transparency of reported data cost-effectively.

Lead by Example on Public Lands
The Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will update decades-old standards to reduce wasteful venting, flaring, and leaks of natural gas, which is primarily methane, from oil and gas wells.  These standards, to be proposed this spring, will address both new and existing oil and gas wells on public lands. This action will enhance our energy security and economy by boosting America’s natural gas supplies, ensuring that taxpayers receive the royalties due to them from development of public resources, and reducing emissions. BLM will work closely with EPA to ensure an integrated approach.

Reduce Methane Emissions while Improving Pipeline Safety
The Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) will propose natural gas pipeline safety standards in 2015.  While the standards will focus on safety, they are expected to lower methane emissions as well.

Drive Technology to Reduce Natural Gas Losses and Improve Emissions Quantification 
The President’s FY16 Budget will propose $15 million in funding for the Department of Energy (DOE) to develop and demonstrate more cost-effective technologies to detect and reduce losses from natural gas transmission and distribution systems.  This will include efforts to repair leaks and develop next generation compressors. The President’s budget will also propose $10 million to launch a program at DOE to enhance the quantification of emissions from natural gas infrastructure for inclusion in the national Greenhouse Gas Inventory in coordination with EPA.

Modernize Natural Gas Transmission and Distribution Infrastructure
DOE will continue to take steps to encourage reduced emissions, particularly from natural gas transmission and distribution, including:
· Issuing energy efficiency standards for natural gas and air compressors;
· Advancing research and development to bring down the cost of detecting leaks;
· Working with FERC to modernize natural gas infrastructure; and
· Partnering with NARUC and local distribution companies to accelerate pipeline repair and replacement at the local level.

Release a Quadrennial Energy Review (QER)
The Administration will soon release the first installment of the QER, which focuses specifically on policy actions that are needed to help modernize energy transmission, storage, and distribution infrastructure. This installment of the QER will include additional policy recommendations and analysis on the environmental, safety, and economic benefits of investments that reduce natural gas system leakage.

INDUSTRY ACTIONS TO REDUCE METHANE EMISSIONS
The Administration’s actions represent important steps to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. Fully attaining the Administration’s goal will require additional action, particularly with respect to existing sources of methane emissions. Several voluntary industry efforts to address these sources are underway, including EPA’s plans to expand on the successful Natural Gas STAR Program by launching a new partnership in collaboration with key stakeholders later in 2015.   EPA will work with DOE, DOT, and leading companies, individually and through broader initiatives such as the One Future Initiative and the Downstream Initiative, to develop and verify robust commitments to reduce methane emissions.  This new effort will encourage innovation, provide accountability and transparency, and track progress toward specific methane emission reduction activities and goals to reduce methane leakage across the natural gas value chain.

Voluntary efforts to reduce emissions in a comprehensive and transparent manner hold the potential to realize significant reductions in a quick, flexible, cost-effective way. Achieving significant methane reductions from these voluntary industry programs and state actions could reduce the need for future regulations. The Administration stands ready to collaborate with these and other voluntary efforts, including in the development of a regime for monitoring, reporting and verification. 

BUILDING ON PROGRESS
Today’s announcement builds on the “Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions” released in March 2014. Since its release, the Administration has taken a number of actions to set us on a course to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector and other sources:

· DOE has launched a new initiative that will make up to $30 million available to develop low-cost highly sensitive technologies that can help detect and measure methane emissions from oil and gas systems. Just last month, DOE announced the 11 innovative projects selected.
· DOE convened a series of roundtable discussions with leaders from industry, environmental organizations, state regulators, consumer groups, academia, labor unions, and other stakeholders.  The meetings culminated in July 2014, with the creation of an Initiative to Modernize Natural Gas Transmission and Distribution Infrastructure that laid out a series of executive actions, partnerships, and stakeholder commitments to help modernize the nation’s natural gas transmission and distribution systems, increase safety and energy efficiency and reduce methane emissions.
· The US Department of Agriculture (USDA), EPA and DOE, in partnership with the dairy industry, released a Biogas Opportunities Roadmap in August 2014 highlighting voluntary actions to reduce methane emissions through the use of biodigesters.
· BLM released an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) in April 2014 to gather public input on the development of a program for the capture and sale, or disposal, of waste methane from coal mines on public lands. 

·EPA proposed updates to its 1996 New Source Performance Standards for new municipal solid waste landfills and sought public feedback on whether EPA should update guidelines for existing landfills in June 2014, which they anticipate finalizing this year. 

Released - THE WHITE HOUSE- Office of the Press Secretary 1/14/2015

May few comments:
a. Why do we have a climate action plan before a National Energy Plan?  The program is energy management, waste, meeting peak demands, poor or lack of distribution, and inefficiencies.  Transmissions losses need to be minimized !
b. If the peaking and distribution were addressed, it would make renewable options even more feasible.
c. Also - methane - biggest source of methane on the planet- wetlands, cows, termites, and biological degradation. 
d. Agree with climate adaptation and mitigation, but we also have to be honest we have developed in the wrong areas.
e.Hope about we stop corn based ethanol.
f. No comment on the Ozone issue.

Shale Gas Development

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A 100-year Flood Can Occur Every Year !

News Release from The American Geosciences Institute , Alexandria, Va. 


"You have probably heard of “100-year floods” and “500-year droughts,” and perhaps you’ve seen signposts near rivers showing when the last big flood was or statements about when the last severe drought occurred. But do you really know what those terms mean, or what your likelihood is of experiencing such a hazard in any given year? Probably not, according to Richard Vogel of Tufts University, because although such terms have long helped policymakers and the public try to make sense of severe weather, they may confuse the issue more than clarify it.

Return periods refer to the amount of time that passes on average between consecutive events of similar magnitude for a given location. “The famous 100-year flood is the flood that’s exceeded on average once every 100 years,” meaning “it has a 1 percent chance of occurring in any given year,” Vogel told EARTH. But when it comes to communicating potential risk from flooding, Vogel says, return periods give many people a false sense of security, partly because they are often mistaken as absolutes instead of averages.

So what does the “100-year flood” actually mean, and how can people get a better sense of what their risks actually are? Read more in the January issue of EARTH magazine: http://bit.ly/1x5HFov.  
For more stories about the science of our planet, check out EARTH magazine online or subscribe at www.earthmagazine.org. The January issue, now available on the digital newsstand, features stories on whether the iceberg that sunk the Titanic was anomalous, where  ash from a Yellowstone supervolcano eruption would likely settle, and how huge shell piles from the Incan period in Peru offer clues to past El NiƱo events, much, much more.

Keep up to date with the latest happenings in Earth, energy and environment news with EARTH magazine online at http://www.earthmagazine.org/. Published by the American Geosciences Institute, EARTH is your source for the science behind the headlines."
###
The American Geosciences Institute is a nonprofit federation of 50 geoscientific and professional associations that represents more than 250,000 geologists, geophysicists and other earth scientists. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in the profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in society's use of resources, resiliency to natural hazards, and interaction with the environment.





Thursday, January 8, 2015

Coal Mining Deaths at a Low - Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA)

MSHA: Coal Mining Deaths At Historic Low
"Press Release: ARLINGTON, Va. – Preliminary data released by the U.S.Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration indicates that 40 miners died in work-related accidents at the nation's mines in 2014, two fewer than in the previous year. Coal mining deaths dropped from 20 in 2013 to 16 in 2014, the lowest annual number of coal mining deaths ever recorded in the United States. The previous record low was 18 in 2009.
While the numbers of coal mines and miners have recently declined, the number of deaths in 2014 is about half what the industry experienced in the early 2000's, when the numbers of working coal miners were at comparable levels.
Twenty-four deaths occurred in metal and nonmetal mines last year, an increase from 22 deaths in 2013.
The most common causes of mining accidents in 2014 involved powered haulage and machinery; five powered haulage and five machinery related deaths occurred in coal mines, and powered haulage accounted for eight deaths in metal and nonmetal mining. Powered haulage accidents involve equipment used to transport people, materials or supplies, and machinery accidents are associated with the action or motion of machinery or failure of component parts.
During the last quarter of 2014, nine mining deaths occurred, compared to 15 during the same period in 2013. Four of those deaths occurred in coal mines and five in metal and nonmetal mines, compared to six and nine in the previous year, respectively.
“Mining deaths are preventable, and those that occurred in 2014 are no exception,” said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. “While MSHA and the mining industry have made a number of improvements and have been moving mine safety in the right direction (Who NEEDS MSHA Training?), these deaths, particularly those in the metal and nonmetal industry, makes clear the need to do more to protect our nation's miners.
“Advancements in health and safety demand the cooperation of the entire mining community,” he added. “Miners deserve the reassurance that they will return home safe and healthy after every shift.”
Ten coal mining deaths occurred underground and six occurred at surface operations. In metal/nonmetal mining, six deaths occurred underground, and 18 occurred at surface operations.
Main stressed that, to prevent deaths, mine operators must maintain effective safety and health management programs that are constantly evaluated, continue find-and-fix programs to identify and eliminate mine hazards, and provide training for all mining personnel.
Among the measures MSHA has undertaken to prevent mining deaths are increasing surveillance and strategic enforcement through impact inspections at mines with troubling compliance histories; enhancing pattern of violations actions at mines with chronic violation histories; implementing special initiatives, such as “Rules to Live By,” which focuses attention on the most common causes of mining deaths; and engaging in outreach efforts with the mining community. “These actions by MSHA, along with the efforts of the mining industry, are leading to safer and healthier mines,” Main said.
An analysis of mining fatalities, along with best practices for mining operations, is available at http://www.msha.gov/fatals/summaries/summaries.asp."

Monday, January 5, 2015

Water Test Kits Private Well Water Dinking Water Testing

Water Test Kits - Private Well Owner Guide - Get Your Water Tested - Get a Kit !
On the federal level,  there are no specific construction standards for private wells, but some states and local agencies have passed standards related to siting, construction, testing, and maintenance.   Even if this is the case, the guidelines, standards, or regulations require the well owner to be the manager of their own drinking water supply.    This is only a short summary of the information and general recommendations for private well owners. 
There are a number of steps to this process and well will break them down as follows:
Well Placement
Well Construction
Well Testing (Yield and Quality)
Well Maintenance
Annual Water Testing
Well Placement
In general, the primary guidance with to water well placement in Pennsylvania is that a water well should be 100 feet from a septic system (regulated), 50 feet from a septic tank (regulated), 10 feet from a sewer line under pressure (regulated), and 10 feet from a property line. To be honest, these isolation distance do not consider impacts from other natural conditions or activities.  In general, we  would recommend the following:
1. If possible, the private well owner should control all activities within a 50 to  100 foot radius of the wellhead, i.e.., top of the water well. These activities should include: use of pesticides and herbicides, storage of toxic or hazardous chemicals, storage or management of manure and other waste, diversion of surface water and runoff, overuse of the area by grazing animals, location of burrow pits, burn pipes, rubbish storage, or storage of used cars or other items that may contain antifreeze, oils, and greases.
2. Well casing should extend at least 12 inches above grade.
3. Well should be fitted with a sanitary well cap that has some form of venting.
4. The well should be located at least 10 feet from a property line.
Other suggested isolation distances
Delineated wetlands or floodplains (25 feet)- with top of casing 3 feet above flood elevation.
Surface waters (25 feet) Storm water Systems (25 feet)
BioInfiltration Stormwater Systems (50 feet +)
Spray Irrigation/ Septage Disposal (100 feet+)
Sinkholes and Closed Depressions (100 feet +)
Farm silos / manure storage (200 feet) Septic Systems (100 feet)
Septic Tanks/Holding Tanks (50 feet)
Chemical Storage/Preparation Area (300 feet)
Well Construction
1. Prefer the use of steel casing that extends at least 15 feet to 20 feet into firm bedrock or 60 feet below ground, whichever is greater.
2. Casing should be of  adequate wall thickness to deal with corrosion and stress – 19lb casing.
3. The base of the casing should contain a driveshoe on the bottom of the casing and casing centralized in the borehole.
4. Wells drilled by a licensed well driller using only potable water as the drilling fluid.
5. Casing should be double circumferential welded or threaded casing
6. Well caps should be sanitary well caps that are properly vented.
7. Annular space should have a grout layer that is at least 1.5 inches thick.
8. Pitless adapters should be used over well pits.
Well Testing (Yield and Quality)
After the well is drilled, the well should be developed using surging, air-lift, or pumping the well.  This is done to clean out the well cuttings and improve yield.  In some cases, this needs to be done to improve the efficiency of the borehole. If the well yield is low, some well drillers will hydrofrac the well. If you are going to hydrofrac a water well, we recommend zone hydraulic fracturing to isolate the deeper potential water-bearing zones.   After the well development has been completed, a shock wellbore disinfection should be conducted.  The well should be allowed to fully recover and a minimum 2-hour yield test is recommend.  After the yield testing, the well should be shock disinfected.  For information on shock disinfection – we recommend visiting Water-Research Center.   The well yield data should include the static water level (water level before pumping), maximum dynamic water level (maximum depth to water during pumping), pumping rate, and length of the pumping test.  This data should be included on the well log and the specific capacity of the well should be reported.  The specific capacity is the rate of yield or gallons per minute per foot of drawdown.  The drawdown is the difference between the static and dynamic water level measurement. 
Before the end of the yield testing, it is recommended that a general water quality analysis of the well be conducted.  This testing should include bacterial quality, general water quality, and specific parameters that are known problems for your region.  Do not rely on a free water analysis or a basic water quality screening down by the well driller.  This should be either information or certified testing conducted by a laboratory.  For information on this type of testing, please contact the Water-Research Center.   The center offers a number of water testing options, screening tests, and special packages for city water users and private well and spring systems.  The initial water quality testing data should be reviewed and evaluated.  This evaluation should include the need for any further action to improve the well security, continue with well development, or add equipment to improve well water quality.  In some cases, water treatment systems are installed as an additional barrier or layer of protection.  In many cases, the only type of additional treatment that is needed is a whole-house particle filter and a sanitary well cap.  For information on Do-it-Yourself Water Treatment Systems.
Well and System Maintenance
At a minimum, the well water system should go through an annual inspection.  This inspection could be associated with the annual water quality test or inspection of any water treatment systems.  During this evaluation, the aesthetic quality of the water should be evaluated and some basic field water quality screening should be conducted.   For the field water screening, it is possible this can be done using a number of low-cost meters or an informational water quality screening test.  Not sure of the nature of the Problem - Check out the Water Quality Well Guide or Some Case Studies.
Annual Water Testing
Depending on the results of the initial evaluation, the results should be evaluated to determine what are the water quality parameters that should be monitored to help track the general water quality of the well.  If a water treatment system was installed, the annual water quality evaluation should include the performance of the water treatment system.  If you need help with determining what you need, WE can Help !    Our Mail Order Program - Get the Water Testing Results and a Review of the Findings with NO Sales Pitch. Why ? Because we do not Sell Water Treatment !
If you are in Pennsylvania, please check out the The Keystone Clean Water Team can provide guidance on the selection of water quality parameters, review water quality data, and make recommendations on the water quality parameters.  If you are interested, you may want to obtain a copy of our Educational Booklet and Brochure.
Arsenic, bacteria, lead, trace metals, benzene, toluene, chloride, sulfate, phosphate, sodium, potassium, lead, aluminum, chromium, manganese, iron, cancer causing agents, water quality case studies

Assistance for Forest Landowners Forest Management and Stewardship Plans PA


Financial and technical assistance available to private forest landowners

"The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), a branch of the US Department of Agriculture, works with landowners through conservation planning and assistance designed to benefit the soil, water, air, plants, and animals that result in productive lands and healthy ecosystems. On Thursday, January 8, 2015, at the Cumberland Woodland Owners’ Association meeting, Diana Dellinger, NRCS District Conservationist, will speak about financial and technical assistance available to private forest landowners for improvements to their property. The meeting will be held at 7:00 P.M. at the Cumberland County Extension Office which is located at 310 Allen Road in Carlisle. You do not have to be a member and there is no cost to attend.
Using Farm Bill funds, the NRCS provides federal cost-share funding to private forest landowners for a variety of resource concerns through the following programs:
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to forest landowners through contracts between 2-4 years in length. These contracts provide financial assistance to help plan and implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns and for opportunities to improve soil, water, plant, animal, air and related resources on non-industrial private forestland.
Owners/managers of eligible non-industrial private forest production or land being proposed for conversion to forest land who have a natural resource concern on the land may participate in EQIP. In Pennsylvania, the primary purpose of this program is to improve lands for wildlife habitat or reduce erosion or water quality problems. Applicants can apply for funding for forestry practices implementation or for a Forest Management Plan (CAP 106). Applicants without a Forest Stewardship Plan or a Forest Management Plan (CAP 106) will be assigned a low priority for implementation funding. Also, forest landowners in the Golden Winged Warbler Area can also apply for funding to create habitat for the Golden Winged Warbler.
Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) encourages land stewards to improve their conservation performance by installing and adopting additional activities, and improving, maintaining, and managing existing activities on agricultural land and non-industrial private forest land.
Your DCNR Service Forester and the National Resource Conservation Service can help you navigate the application process for any of these programs. NRCS maintains offices across the state as part of the USDA Service Centers, single locations where you can access the services of NRCS, the Farm Service Agency and the Rural Development agencies.
The Cumberland Woodland Owners Association is an organization of forestland owners and others interested in forestry issues in south central Pennsylvania. For more information about the meeting or the Cumberland Woodland Owners Association, contact Fred Peabody at 717/776-3565 (email: fredp5@earthlink.net)."
In Northeastern Pennsylvania, a lot of the NRCS outreach is through the Pocono Northeast RC&D Council.

Friday, January 2, 2015

FREE WELL WATER TESTING Pike County Pennsylvnaia

Conservation District looking for Volunteers  to allow FREE WELL WATER TESTING


Pike County Conservation District along with the US Geological Survey (USGS) will be completing a study of drinking water wells from around the county during the summer of 2015. The wells included in the study will be selected from a list of private residential or business wells owned by individuals who agree to volunteer access to their well for the study.  From this list of volunteers, wells will be selected based on several criteria such as geology, accessibility and construction information.  In order to place your well on the list, just call or email the Pike County Conservation District at 570-226-8220 or PikeCD@pikepa.org and give some basic contact info and well location.


Help Pike County develop a baseline for drinking water quality! This is a great opportunity to have an excellent comprehensive sampling of your well water. The cost of this sampling would be several hundred dollars but well water tests completed as part of this study will all be done at no cost to the well owner because this study is funded by the Commonwealth Finance Authority through a Marcellus Legacy Fund Grant awarded to the Pike County Conservation District.   Well water samples will be compared to EPA health standards along with many secondary standards for safe drinking water. Also included in the testing will be several chemicals associated with Unconventional Gas Well Drilling (fracking).  Well owners will be provided with the results. There are only 60 openings for wells throughout Pike County available for the study. Well locations and names will be kept confidential; only the data from the water tests will be used in the study.