Water Resources

December 4, 2013

Waste fines issued

Source: The Dominion Post (WV), November 24, 2013
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

The State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has issued a consent order about violations concerning water pollution and waste disposal by Clarksburg-based Central Supply Co. (CSC), including several at its Monongalia County locations.

The Mon County Notices of Violation (NOVs) were issued following inspections at its Morgantown Industrial Park (MIP) facility May 22, 2012, and Feb. 12 of this year; at its Hornbeck Road facility Dec. 7, 2012, and Feb. 12 of this year; and at a fill site on Goshen Road Nov. 28, 2012.

DEP spokesman Tom Aluise explained how a consent order works. NOVs may be issued following an inspection, and may carry fines. In some cases, violations are severe enough to lead to an administrative consent order, which includes the violations, findings of fact, a compliance order and penalty assessment.

The DEP then meets with the company, he said, to discuss the order and negotiate the fine and other changes. The company can then agree to the proposed settlement and sign it, or be subject to a DEP lawsuit. Most sign the order, he said, to stay out of court. The order becomes final after a 30-day comment period.

Under the order, CSC agrees to take all recommended corrective actions. “However, CSC does not admit to any factual and legal determinations made by the [DEP] and reserves all rights and defenses available” in any other proceedings.

The order was issued Nov. 6 and CSC President Dwayne McCartney signed it Nov. 8.

At the MIP site, on May 22, the order says, CSC disposed of material removed during the treatment of control of waste without DEP approval. It also allowed a discharge from its washout pits to flow into the MIP stormwater system, which flows into the Monongahela River.…

December 2, 2013

Fracking report: parts of Britain are likely to be too dry to drill

Source: Guardian (UK), November 28, 2013
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

Fracking may be impractical in parts of Britain where water supplies are scarce, the water industry revealed as it announced a deal with the oil and gas industry.

Hydraulic fracturing technology is a controversial process of shale gas and oil extraction where water and chemicals at very high pressure are blasted at dense shale rocks, opening fissures through which tiny bubbles of methane can be released.

But the quantities of water required are very large, leading to cases in the US – where fracking is widespread – of towns and villages running dry.

In a memorandum of understanding published yesterday, the water trade body Water UK and the UK Onshore Operators Group (UKOOG), which represents fracking firms, agreed to co-operate on expanding the number of fracking sites in the UK.

The agreement noted “the pressure on local water resources” and in it Water UK acknowledged: “The quantities of water needed vary by site and throughout the gas exploration and production process, but the demand could have an impact on local water resources. This demand may be met from a number of sources, including the public water supply, direct abstraction, water transported by tanker from other areas, or recycling and reuse of treated flowback or produced water.”

It added: “Where water is in short supply, there may not be enough available from public water supplies or the environment to meet the requirements.”

Water can be brought in from other areas, but this is costly, causes a nuisance to residents and is impractical in large quantities. It may be possible to use seawater in some areas.

UKOOG said dealing with such issues was one of the aims of the memorandum. Water UK said there could be risks to the water supply particularly in the south-east, where the pressure of population puts supplies under stress.

The Environment Agency admitted at a public meeting in Balcombe, Sussex – where the fracking company Cuadrilla has been drilling for oil – that pressure on water supplies could raise serious problems.

An official told local residents: “The big question mark is over cumulative demand for water in the south-east should this industry take on a much bigger size.”

The UKOOG memo came as four protesters were arrested while trying to stop a lorry delivering machinery to a potential fracking site in Salford. Three men and a woman were arrested on suspicion of obstructing the highway, police said. The four were part of a group of about 30 who had been attempting to block the delivery.

Captions:

A protest at a potential fracking site in Salford led to the arrest of four people

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October 18, 2013

Water contamination remains a big concern for farmers

Source: http://www.standard.net, October 16, 2013
By: Dana Rimington

A problem may be lurking beneath the surface of farmland soil, and farmers are worried.

The problem, they say, is contaminants that are being sent into storm drains and eventually reach farm irrigation ditches. Farmers pay a high price if they discover their edible crops have been polluted — such a situation forces them to destroy the crop and start over.

“It’s expensive to destroy a crop, but it’s cheaper than a lawsuit on our end if we get people sick,” said Jeremy East, operator of eight farms he leases throughout Davis County.

“In the back of our minds, we know there could be the potential for problems by not knowing what’s in the irrigation water. There is the potential for bad stuff to happen.”

To avoid some problems, East spends around $2,000 to test his water numerous times throughout the year.

He hasn’t encountered any contamination yet, but he is constantly aware of the possibility, knowing his career would pay the ultimate price if his farmland were affected.

“There’s a lot invested into these crops every year, and you don’t normally get a lot back, so it’s scary, because one bad crop could bankrupt anybody,” East said.

When building homes on farmland, developers have to be mindful of the old farm’s drains and irrigation ditches that still reach out to other farmers.…

October 7, 2013

Potential Groundwater Contamination Leads to Lawsuit

Read here about Louisiana companies being sued over groundwater contamination that may leach into a city’s water supply.

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September 13, 2013

Pennsylvania drillers may soon face tightened environmental regulations

Source: http://www.lexology.com, September 5, 2013
By: Scott J. Bent, Baker & Hostetler LLP

Oil and gas drillers in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale formation may soon find themselves subject to more stringent environmental protection standards under regulations proposed by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (“the Department”). The Department announced on August 27, 2013 that the proposed regulations were approved by the state’s Environmental Quality Board. The proposal now moves to the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office and the Office of General Counsel, followed by a public comment period.

The proposed regulations address four general issues: 1) protection of public lands and resources; 2) orphan and abandoned well identification; 3) pollution containment practices; and 4) protection of water resources.

Protection of Public Resources

Under the proposed regulations, applicants for well permits must notify the appropriate public resource agency (such as the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources or the Pennsylvania Game Commission) if a well site is within a certain distance of public lands or resources. For example, notice is required if a site is within 200 feet of a national natural landmark or within 1,000 feet of a water well, surface water intake, reservoir, or other water source used by a water purveyor.

The resource agency has an opportunity to provide comments and recommendations to the Department and the well operator. The Department makes the final determination on the permit application, and it may add conditions to the well permit to mitigate potential impact to public resources.…

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.

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June 24, 2013

Pollution From Mines Leads to Lawsuits

Read here about lawsuits that have been filed by environmentalists as a result of water pollution from reclaimed mine sites.

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May 31, 2013

Faulty Valve Leads to Evacuation

Source: Great American Environmental Division, May 2013

The operator of a small waste water treatment plant was in the process of receiving a bulk shipment of chlorine bleach used in the treatment process at the facility. Unfortunately, the valve connecting the hose to the tank was not secure. Before the vendor and operator realized what had happened, a significant amount of chlorine bleach was released. The liquid chlorine ran down the parking area and into a small culvert on a neighboring property. The vendor was able to close the valve but the spill had caused the culvert and surrounding soil to he contaminated. Fumes from the release caused an adjacent manufacturing operation to he evacuated. The cost to neutralize the chlorine and remediate the spill was significant and the company was fined as well. The facility had environmental coverage which covered both clean up and fines and would respond to third party bodily injury and business interruption claims should they arise.

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May 29, 2013

Water Pipe Impact

Source: Great American Environmental Division, May 2013

During excavation of a trench for the installation of an underground pipe, the excavation contractor struck a 3-inch water line, resulting in the release of 30,000 gallons of water. The water ran to a storm drain and eventually to a local creek, causing increased turbidity, pH and chlorine levels. The event was reportable to the local environmental agency and may result in monitoring, clean-up costs and fines.…

May 1, 2013

FL Water Pollution Bill Up for Vote

Read here about a water pollution bill that is up for vote in Florida.…