Drinking water

December 20, 2013

MWRA reaches $3.1 million settlement against companies in massive water main break in 2010

Source: http://www.boston.com, December 18, 2013
By: Martin Finucane

The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority said today it had approved a $3.1 million settlement of a lawsuit against the consultants, contractors, and suppliers responsible for a section of water main in Weston that suffered a massive failure in May 2010, leaving nearly 2 million people in the Boston area without clean drinking water for more than two days.

MWRA officials said the settlement would cover nearly all of the MWRA’s costs to repair the pipeline and find and study the coupling components that failed. It also covers the cost of restoring the bank and channel of the Charles River nearby, where the water from the failed pipe flowed.

“The goal of the lawsuit was to make our ratepayers whole,” Fred Laskey, executive director of the agency, said in a statement. “We believe this settlement is very reasonable and also allows us to save the significant costs of a lengthy legal battle.”

The settlement included Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc., The Shaw Group, Inc., Fay, Spofford & Thorndike, Inc., J.F. Shea, Inc., Traylor Bros., Inc., Daniel O’Connell’s Sons, Inc., Barletta Engineering Corp., Mid-America Pipe Fabrication & Supply Co., A&J Mechanical, Inc., and Victaulic Company, the MWRA said.


October 8, 2013

Chemicals from coal ash leaching into groundwater near Flemington community

Source: http://www.starnewsonline.com, October 5, 2013
By: Kate Elizabeth Queram

Before Kimberly Wood takes a shower, brews a cup of tea or boils water for cooking, she makes a deal with herself: Don’t think about it. Just don’t think about it. Don’t think about how this sip, that bite, the very next drop of water could finally be the one that makes her sick.

Wood is one of about 200 residents in the Flemington community, a tiny, low-income neighborhood off U.S. 421, just south of Duke Energy Progress’ Sutton Steam Plant. In 1978, the neighborhood’s drinking water was contaminated when a host of pollutants from a nearby landfill seeped, unnoticed, into private wells. The mess was eventually cleaned up when the neighborhood was placed on New Hanover County’s water system via two drinking-water wells, now managed by the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority.

But those two wells were drilled just a half mile from the power plant, where arsenic, boron and other poisons are leaching from unlined coal-ash ponds into area groundwater supplies. The contaminated water plume is slowly creeping toward the new wells, turning Flemington residents once again into sitting ducks. Most of them have no idea, and those who do can afford to do little beyond wait and hope.

“For a long time, I didn’t want to drink the water,” said Wood, a full-time student at Cape Fear Community College. “But everything we do is water. You make tea with it, you cook with it, you bathe your animals in it. I’m a full-time student. I don’t have a job. You don’t just go buy things like bottled water.”

August 9, 2013

Groups Score Victory in Fracking Wastewater Fight

Source: http://www.enewspf.com, August 7, 2013

If not for the effort of Clean Water Action and Earthjustice, a wastewater treatment plant in southwestern Pennsylvania might have spent each day of the past three years dumping up to 500,000 gallons of untreated natural gas drilling wastewater into the Monongahela River.

Instead, the plant has not discharged a drop of waste into the Monongahela River, a drinking water source for 350,000 people. And under a new permit issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the plant will not be allowed to discharge anything, unless it proves it can comply with the law and treat all of the contaminants in fracking wastewater.

The DEP had initially tried to fast-track the planned wastewater plant in Masontown, PA, quietly allowing Shallenberger Construction Inc. to dump inadequately treated fracking wastewater directly into the Monongahela River until the company built all of the necessary treatment facilities at the plant.

“When fracking began in western Pennsylvania, the gas industry treated our rivers as a convenient place to dispose of their waste,” stated Myron Arnowitt, PA State Director for Clean Water Action. “We knew we had to act and we are glad to see that this agreement upholds the protection for our drinking water that every Pennsylvanian expects and deserves.”

In 2008, pollution levels spiked so high in a 70-mile stretch of the Monongahela River that the entire city of Pittsburgh was urged to drink bottled water. The DEP acknowledged that the problem was due in large part to untreated fracking wastewater being discharged from sewage treatment plants. The Shallenberger plant would have added to the contamination

August 6, 2013

ND Oil Co Fined for Endangering Drinking Water Source

Read here about an oil and gas company in North Dakota that has been fined a record $1.5 million for endangering a drinking water source.


July 25, 2013

Fracking Study Shows Water Not Contaminated by Chemicals

Read here about a study that showed that chemicals from natural gas drilling did not contaminate drinking water aquifers in Pennsylvania.…

June 27, 2013

Sealing Cited In Gas Leaks, Not Fracking

Source: Dow Jones News Service, June 26, 2013
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com


Poorly sealed natural-gas wells — not hydraulic fracturing of shale-rock formations — are likely to blame for dissolved gas found in private water wells in Pennsylvania, according to a new study by Duke University.

Duke scientists found that 82% of the 141 water wells they tested in a part of Pennsylvania above the rock formation known as the Marcellus Shale had elevated levels of methane, the main component of natural gas.

Water wells nearer to natural-gas-industry drilling sites had the highest levels according to the study, published online this month by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

However, the study found no evidence that hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the process of using water and chemicals to crack shale formations deep underground and unlock trapped oil and gas, was causing fluids to migrate upward into drinking aquifers closer to the surface.

Instead, it concluded that wells being drilled were most likely not adequately sealed, allowing gas to flow upward and sometimes enter aquifers used by homes. The combination of steel pipes, called casing, and cement sheaths used in well construction don’t always contain gas as intended, industry officials and observers contend.

“Poor casing and cementing problems are the simplest explanation of what we found,” said Rob Jackson, a professor of environmental sciences at Duke and lead author of the study, which was funded by the university.

Environmentalists have criticized fracking as an industrial threat to rural communities and their drinking water.

Steve Everley, a spokesman for Energy in Depth, a group funded by the Independent Petroleum Association of America, said the Duke study “is not a smoking gun to say that gas drilling is a problem.” He noted how other recent research has found high levels of methane in water wells, even when there hasn’t been nearby fracking.


May 20, 2013

No Pollution Found in AR Fracking Study

Read here about a study in Arkansas that found no contamination in drinking water wells resulting from hydraulic fracturing.


May 16, 2013

Pollutants detected in water wells in Sublette County’s gas fields

Source: http://wyomingpublicmedia.org, May 10, 2013
By: Willow Belden

Credit Courtesy Linda Baker
Pollutants including benzene and diesel-range organics have shown up in water wells like this one in the Pinedale Anticline for several years.

Links to Sublette County water quality monitoring data

Maps showing the locations of gas wells, water wells, and other hydrologic data

Sublette County has been in the news a lot because of its air quality problems, which largely stem from natural gas production. But there’s another issue too: Pollutants have been showing up in water wells. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.

WILLOW BELDEN: The pollutants in question are petroleum products like diesel-range organics and benzene. They first started showing up in water wells in the Pinedale Anticline gas field in 2006. That prompted the Bureau of Land Management and the Department of Environmental Quality to call for extensive testing, and the following year, they detected hydrocarbons in 85 wells. Several were at concentrations exceeding the DEQ’s limit for what’s safe to drink. Since then, there have been dozens of detections each year, and each year, a handful exceed the legal limit. But nobody knows where the pollutants are coming from.…

April 1, 2013

Menhaden Processor Accused of Polluting State Waters

Read here about a menhaden processor in Virginia that is facing water pollution charges.…

February 28, 2013

60,000 affected by E China water pollution

Source: Xinhua News Agency (China), February 25, 2013
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

Tap water for 60,000 people was cut off Monday due to the pollution of a water source in east China’s Jiangxi province, government sources said.

Around 10 a.m. Monday, an oily substance was seen floating near a water intake used by a tap water company on the Liaohe River, the environmental protection bureau of Yongxiu county said.

An initial investigation blamed the pollution on an oil pipeline leak upstream. The pipeline has been shut down.

Local environmental authorities have sent workers to clean up the pollution and the tap water network.

The county government has sent fire trucks to bring water to local residents.

No water pollution has been reported in areas near Yongxiu county.