Pitt Researchers Test Waste Water From Marcellus Shale Drilling

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — There are new concerns about the level of treatment for waste water from Marcellus Shale drilling.

Every day, tanker trucks offload drilling waste water to be cleaned at a plant in Josephine, Indiana County.

The private operators say the water is stripped of its radioactive materials and heavy metal contaminants and discharged into the nearby Blacklick Creek tributary of the Allegheny River basin.

But in a report to be released Tuesday, University of Pittsburgh researchers contend that it’s far from clean.

“This plant isn’t doing what it needs to do to properly treat oil and gas waste water going into Blacklick Creek that we have documented that they are very high levels of heavy metals,” Dan Volz, with the University of Pittsburgh, said.

Professor Volz says when they tested discharged water, they found levels of heavy metals such as barium and strontium in levels as much as a dozen times above clean water standards, posing a threat to people, trout and other aquatic life.

He called on the state Department of Environmental Protection to take immediate action.

“The DEP should immediately revoke the permit for this facility and not allow them to take Marcellus Shale gas waste water,” Volz said. “It’s evident that their treatment process is inefficient and that would be the ultimate public health remedy would be to close this plant down, yes.”

KDKA’s Andy Sheehan visited the plant just two weeks ago and in a tour of the facility, owner Paul Hart demonstrated how heavy metal and solids are removed from the water.

“When you find out the actual quality of the discharges, when you do an actual analysis of the rivers, when you come to facilities like ours, people have found that there is a much better handle on this than what they realized,” he said.

In a statement on Monday, Hart again said his discharges are not in keeping with drinking water standards nor should be. Hart said the levels discharged into the creek are in compliance with state standards and have minimal impact on the water basin.

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Comments

One Comment

  1. Meghan says:

    What company is this? Have you tested different companies? Why give all the companies a bad rap if some of them are not doing this?

    1. Joan says:

      “THIS ISNT ALL THE COMPANIES” – oh Meghan, how naive are you? OR guess you’re one of the FEW that gets a little kickback, eh?
      Every company leaves over limit toxins, thinks once it mixes with the in situ water that it will thin enough for tests, HA HA HA Hah! Then they all do it, over and over, and we get whats left – TOXINS. And what about the water they can’t/won’t bring back up – that leaches into the table from below. ‘oh we seal our cores with cement’ – yeah I’m sure thats impervious to testing too! Instead of the Statue of Liberty’s creed, this is the Pennsylvania creed: TAKE ALL OUR RESOURCES, TAKE IT ALL OUT OF STATE, LINE A FEW POCKETS BUT MAKE MORE MILLIONS OUT OF STATE – AND LEAVE US YOUR TOXINS INSTEAD!!!! YEA!!!!

    2. Noah says:

      Because if they are all using the same essential process then they are all not complying. That would be like asking a dozen bakers what process they use to make bread rise.

      It sounds from your previous statements that you either make money from this, or are a cheerleader for these companies. I can understand it being your (or your mothers) bread and butter but if it is blind trust then you are on the wrong path.

      When I hear these drilling companies advertisements about “improving our processes to decrease toxic waste”.. “decrease” is the important word in that sentence. I am upset that they were allowed to start this drilling without processes in place so as not to pollute the soil and water. The drilling companies are no friend of mine – or yours.

      It is not reasonable to believe that the drilling companies do not already know what kind of damage they are doing. If their engineers and management have turned a blind eye or willfully did not research land impacts then they are not responsible enough of a company to do business in this state, or any other for that matter. If they are polluting willfully, I would like to see criminal charges lined up for every person employed by these companies that knew they were going to make people sick before a drill bit ever hit the dirt.

  2. Chris says:

    This is disgusting. I thought we would have leaned by now to you can’t keep dumping heavy metals and other contaminants into the water. Too bad the DEP won’t grow a set and stop this drilling before it’s too late.

    1. Meghan says:

      This isn’t all companies! Also the law needs to be enforced if there is even regulation laws in PA.

      1. Joan says:

        “THIS ISNT ALL THE COMPANIES” – oh Meghan, how naive are you? OR guess you’re one of the FEW that gets a little kickback, eh?
        Every company leaves over limit toxins, thinks once it mixes with the in situ water that it will thin enough for tests, HA HA HA Hah! Then they all do it, over and over, and we get whats left – TOXINS. And what about the water they can’t/won’t bring back up – that leaches into the table from below. ‘oh we seal our cores with cement’ – yeah I’m sure thats impervious to testing too! Instead of the Statue of Liberty’s creed, this is the Pennsylvania creed: TAKE ALL OUR RESOURCES, TAKE IT ALL OUT OF STATE, LINE A FEW POCKETS BUT MAKE MORE MILLIONS OUT OF STATE – AND LEAVE US YOUR TOXINS INSTEAD!!!! YEA!!!!

      2. joan says:

        oh – and if you catch any company – well they’ll just use OUR tax money to clean it up ‘to standards’ (yeah) , but before that they’ll get a tax write off for any costs on their end. Sounds like win win win for Megan & the out of state gas companies!

  3. Meghan says:

    Well Joan I just want to tell you that I am NOT getting any kickback from this drilling in my area. Although my mom works for Cheveron and knows that the larger companies that do drilling follow all regulations. Its the smaller companies that may be slinding under the radar. Why should we be against drilling in the US? It may one day put our gas prices back down. With everything going on in Libya right now the prices are not going to go down soon. I also know that in my area there is a huge processing plant that is owned by a major company. They must be following regulations since its that large. There would be know way for the major companies to get away with this. So don’t assume that all companies are doing this and also don’t be opposed to drilling. This may help the budget crisis in PA right now. This is not the biggest thing in PA you should be worried about the education of the children of PA with a 50% budge cut in Education. Having the drilling in PA may eventually help with budget problems. I am not say it will but I am say that this might help who knows.

    1. Rob says:

      Your mom works for Chevron and you’re denying any bias? How stupid do you think people are, “Meghan?” Do you really think that most internet users are disabused of the notion that there are paid trolls disseminating corporate propaganda on every news article on fracking, which would OBVIOUSLY include YOU? Just remember one thing, Meghan: you can’t take the money with you when you die, especially if you drink their tainted water.

  4. glenn says:

    Peopple like meghan sound money hungry to me. Rmember you can’t eat paper or drink gas to survive. These drilling companies are killing two of our basic needs of life, food and water. Who cares about money or jobs if its not safe to drink our water? I guess money hungry and thirsty people like meghan

  5. Jason says:

    This need for people who have grown up with parents in some sector of the “energy” industry to attempt excuses for the careless, greedy gas drillers makes me sick. The compleat lack of intelligence in favor of greed makes me think you deserve what’s coming! However, the rest of us, our rivers, animals, and our entire food chain (which some of us learned about in elementary school) should NOT have to suffer so a few idiots can make a buck…

  6. J says:

    Hey, I have an idea…everyone opposed to drilling shut your heat off all winter, do not drive your vehicles, shut your computers off cause thats electricity produced by evil coal companies selling their evil black rocks to the evil electric generation companies…THEN maybe take a trip to one of these sights and learn a bit about what is really going on then maybe you’ll see that you only hear about the bad things that have occurred caused by a few negligent and idiotic companies and not the ones that proceed day to day without incident and trying to perfect the many addressed problems. Gas companies produce to make cash…people buy it to stay warm and to continue their luxorious lifestyle. you make it sound like you dont use natural gas, or oil, or coal, etc. MAYBE you enjoy sending our hard earned moola over seas for the same commodities! All the nay sayers are such hipocrites. Drill and drill right…gas company makes cash…we stay warm for cheaper…and we arent supplying the america haters with anymore funding!

  7. Meghan says:

    Thank you j that was perfectly said and the people who think I am money nungry im not….im in school to be a teacher obviously I care about the future of our country. Andi don’t care about money. I know tha this drilling here is good for PA with all the budget cuts why would you want to give all the jobs made here because of drilling to other countries. If you are so against drilling then stop driving around and use no heat or electric.

    1. J says:

      Well Meghan, I must admit that the industry is not perfect but is growing and learning more and more every day. 98% of the people that work in pennsylvania’s gas fields are hunters, fisherman, campers, just plain old outdoors people so why would they willingly partake in knowingly destroying their homes and hobbies. Perfecting these processes will take time and accidents will happen as time goes on…but the leaps and bounds being made by the gas companies to get it all done right in the past few years is amazing. I encourage ANYONE to stop in to one of these sites and ask good honest questions…call the company even… and keep an open mind. Its a shame really that everyone hates the drilling and fracing yet they love the warm homes, the vehicles they drive, and the electric they use. It makes no sense what so ever! Everyone wants to have omlettes but no one wants to touch the eggs. Then when someone grabs the eggs, fries em up for everyone else to enjoy, They all point their fingers at the cook(while stuffing their faces with said omlettes) call him a baby chicken killer. and try to throw him out. It makes no sense at all. Keep up the good fight and stay opinionated and and open minded. There has been drilling in PA for decades…not much has changed about it except the word MARCELLUS in front of it and the cash being paid to landowners for leases has gone sky high.

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