Water supply

December 30, 2013

EDITORIAL: Fracking's impact on water supplies looking better

Source: http://www.beaumontenterprise.com, December 26, 2013

Fracking has caused a bonanza of oil and gas production in the United States, but it has its detractors. And one of their chief complaints was that it used too much water, as much as five million gallons per well, even though it accounts for less than 1 percent of the water consumed in a big oil-producing state like Texas.

Yet a new study by the University of Texas at Austin indicates that fracking actually cuts overall water use for energy. As the price of natural gas has declined, some utilities have switched to using gas instead of coal to produce electricity. The amount of water saved by shifting a power plant to gas from coal is 25 to 50 times greater than the amount needed to get the natural gas via fracking.

Trade-offs like that must be kept in mind when looking at energy production and use in this country. No aspect of this complex equation is pure. For example, wind farms have been increasingly criticized for their large numbers of bird deaths caused by turbine blades.

Even if alternative forms of energy like wind and solar can increase in coming years, oil and natural gas will remain fundamental to our energy needs. And the bottom line on fracking is that it has produced so much oil and gas that this country is less dependent than ever on oil imports from the volatile Mideast.

Fracking should be monitored wherever it occurs to ensure it doesn’t drain area water supplies or contaminate ground water. But the pluses far outweigh the drawbacks, which is why few states or locales have banned it nationwide.


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.


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


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.


February 4, 2013

Local water study pulled into 3M suit

Source: StarTribune (MN), January 31, 2013
By: Jim Anderson

A panel looking at long-term needs was examining some of the same issues as the state was in the lawsuit.

Three years ago, officials in Woodbury and Cottage Grove began looking at a fundamental but vital question: Will there be enough safe drinking water for our growing communities in the future?

Informal meetings became a task force that would include representatives from four state agencies, Washington County and several other cities. And now, work started by that panel has become enmeshed in a mountain of evidence in the state’s lawsuit over water contamination in the county against 3M Co. The trial in that suit is expected to begin this year.

Even with the recent stirring of new housing developments in southern Woodbury and northern Cottage Grove, water issues are not a short-term concern, city officials said.

“It’s not an issue in 2013, it’s not even going to be an issue in 2020,” said David Jessup, Woodbury’s engineering and public works director.

Rather, the panel that became the South Washington Water Supply Work Group was looking much further into the future — 30, 40, even 50 years from now. And the scope and complexity of those questions are why it would encompass other communities and agencies.

As much as cities like Cottage Grove and Woodbury have changed in the past several decades, they will look even more different as the population keeps growing and new business and industry arrives. “All of these things are going to require more water,” Jessup said.

In November 2010 — a month before the state filed its suit against 3M — the two cities asked for help from the Metropolitan Council in its water supply study, said Bonnie Kollodge, spokeswoman for the regional planning agency.…

April 30, 2012

Lawsuit settled over well pollution

Source: http://www.dailyrecord.com, April 27, 2012
By: Peggy Wright

State to get $950,000 for cost of cleaning 4 towns’ water supply

A Florham Park alloy manufacturer and a deceased man’s estate have agreed to pay $950,000 toward the cleanup 14 years ago of contaminants found in a well that supplies drinking water to residents of four towns in Morris County.

Without any admissions of liability for the contamination, SMCMUA Executive Director Bill Hutchinson said the water did not pose a danger to customers. Court records said that Black Brook Well 1, located on property at Morristown Airport in Hanover Township, showed excessive levels of dichloroethane and trichloroethylene but its water was always blended with water in Well 2 so the end result was acceptable water quality.

Before filing suit, the DEP tried in 1998 to direct Precision to spend $1.77 million on installing air strippers to decontaminate Black Brook Well 1, but the demand was resisted, court records said.

Instead, the DEP undertook the cleanup and filed suit to recover remediation costs. The agreement by defendants to pay a total of $950,000 to end the litigation has been reached. Attorney Damon Sedita, who represents the Horstmann estate and a Horstmann-owned entity called Great Meadows Land Development Corp., declined to say how the $950,000 would be split between the multiple defendants.

In general, he said, the litigation dragged on because; “It was all over the dollars.”

The DEP earlier in April published notice of the consent judgment in the New Jersey Register.…

March 23, 2012

7th Circuit Rules No Pollution Coverage under Illinois Law

Source: The National Law Review, March 22, 2012
By: Angela Ebert

On March 12, 2012, the Seventh Circuit, applying Illinois law, held that the Village of Crestwood was not entitled to coverage for claims relating to a contaminated water supply. See Scottsdale Indemnity Co. v. Village of Crestwood, ___ F.3d ___, 2012 WL 769730, Nos. 11-2385, 11-2556, 11-2583 (7th Cir. Mar. 12, 2012). The policyholder, the Village of Crestwood, was sued in a number of bodily injury claims and a property damage remediation claim stemming from allegedly contaminated well water containing perc (PCE – percloroethylene, also known as tetrachloroethylene), a solvent used in dry cleaning. Allegedly perc that was used by a nearby dry-cleaning store leaked into the groundwater that led into the well. Without disclosure to the Village residents and with alleged knowledge of the contamination, the Village allowed the well to be used as a source of daily water supply from at least 1985 through 2007.…

December 21, 2011

Water board investigates perchlorate contamination source

Source: Desert Dispatch (Barstow, CA), December 18, 2011
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

It’s been more than a year since officials discovered perchlorate in Barstow’s drinking water, but a new wave of tests by water experts conducted last week should determine the extent of the plume.

Geologists and water experts began drilling and sampling groundwater Dec. 12. The sample areas are downgrade from 30433 Poplar Lane, an area believe to be the source of last year’s perchlorate contamination, according to a release from the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board. The team finished sampling the 20 sample points Friday.

In Nov. 2010, Golden State Water Company discovered one of their wells close to the Soapmine Road area was contaminated with perchlorates — a substance often used in the production of fireworks, rocket fuel and road flares. That well is no longer in operation, according to John Dewey, spokesperson for Golden State.

According to the release, the federal Environmental Protection Agency found high concentrations of perchlorate in the soil around Poplar Street in northern Barstow during an investigation of the contamination earlier this year. The investigation also found perchlorate in two private wells on Poplar Street and in Golden State’s former public water supply well.…

July 1, 2011

Plumbing Contractor – Contaminated Water

Acknowledgement to Great American Environmental Division

A plumbing contractor installing a lawn sprinkler system did not install adequate vacuum breakers on the discharge side of the water supply valves. When pressure in a drinking water system fed by the same water main fell below atmospheric pressure, a vacuum was created which caused back-siphonage of stagnant water from the lawn sprinkler system into the drinking water supply. Several people drank from the water supply and contracted dysentery. Costs were incurred to investigate the issue, purge the system and to provide temporary clean water. Suits followed alleging bodily injury.…

April 6, 2011

St. Louis to get $26.5 million from Velsicol and others in water settlement

Source: http://themorningsun.com, March 31, 2011
By: Linda Gittleman

After five long years of negotiations, St. Louis has reached a $26.5 million settlement in its suit against Velcisol Chemical Co. and others over contamination of the city’s water supply.

In special meetings on Sunday and again on Tuesday, the St. Louis City Council unanimously approved the agreement, city manager Bob McConkie said.

“It’s a monumental and historic occasion and it’s a gigantic step forward in our quest to provide reliable and quality water so the citizens won’t fear it,” McConckie said.

In 2005, as the city and the nearby townships continued its struggle to clean up the pollution left by Velsicol, St. Louis officials were warned by the state’s Department of Environmental Quality to find a new source of water.…

September 21, 2010

Sprinkler System Installed Without Adequate Vacuum Breakers

Acknowledgement to Great American

A plumbing contractor installing a lawn sprinkler system did not install adequate vacuum breakers on the discharge side of the water supply valves. When pressure in a drinking water system fed by the same water main fell below atmospheric pressure, a vacuum was created which caused back-siphonage of stagnant water from the lawn sprinkler system into the drinking water supply. Several people drank from the water supply and contracted dysentery. Costs were incurred to investigate the issue, purge the system and to provide temporary clean water. Suits followed alleging bodily injury.…