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(Business Insider)   Penn Dept of Environmental Protection: "So we found high levels of benzene and arsenic in the bodies of residents near your fracking sites." Natural Gas companies: "We didn't ask you to look for that." PDEP: "Oh yeah, sounds good. Nevermind"   (businessinsider.com) divider line 17
    More: Scary, Radical Environmentalism, Western Pennsylvania, toxic metal, toxicology testing, petroleum industry, drinking water, Pennsylvania, NYSE Composite  
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3465 clicks; posted to Politics » on 04 Nov 2012 at 3:56 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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Archived thread
2012-11-04 08:34:24 AM  
6 votes:

cirby: "Toxicology tests on the plaintiffs found the presence of toluene, benzene and arsenic in their bodies, according to the complaint."

...and how much did they find in the drinking water around the site?

How much was naturally occurring?

What level of "contamination" was found? Parts per million? Billion? Trillion? 

The first rule of biased science writing: toss out a list of chemicals "found" somewhere, but not the amounts, and never tell anyone that they've been found in the water there since well before humans moved onto the continent...


Right here, in the deposition by the DEP scientist.

It's a SCRIBD upload of the letter from the law office to Sec Krancer with ALL the juicy scientific details details and includes that scientists sworn under oath testimony

The real concern is the heavy metals that are in the water. Metals that are wholly associated and known to be associated with drilling activities.
Heavy Metals which the PA DEP has specifically chosen NOT to include in their public and private reports, in spite of the fact that the lab tested for them 

It is only biased to people who are too intellectually lazy and or stupidly gullible to do their own research

But hey, it's FARK, you're expected to live DOWN to our expectations...so, Have at it.
2012-11-04 12:08:23 AM  
3 votes:
Enjoy your glorious free market citizens. I'd like to call one person out in particular who lives nearby this to show them what actually happens when we follow their worldview, but that will probably get me banned.
2012-11-03 11:59:26 PM  
3 votes:
I think the best course of action is to remove as many regulations from business as possible because the free market will ensure they do the right thing.
2012-11-04 11:58:16 AM  
2 votes:

Dougie AXP: I know I'm going to catch hell for this but I am an EH&S professional for a large Nat Gas operator in the Marcellus (they also operate across the company)

The PADEP requires all home/water wells be tested at the cost of the company with 2000 ft of the vertical well bore before any drill bit touches the earth.

Some companies test further out to be safe.

The aquifers and mercellus zones are separated by THOUSANDS o feet of rock.

PA was the birthplace of the oil industry in the United States and has had continuous, albeit small, oil and gas presence ever since. There are shallow gas zones (some as Low as 500 feet) all over the state. Shallow gas pockets will find the path of least resistance to the surface. Also, what do you think makes coal burn? Methane evolves off of coal seams and can leach into the ground/water with no human interaction.

The geological makeup of PA is unique. To get an idea of how complex the fracture structure is take a pane of glass, spider web it and repeat that several hundred million times on top of each other.

Speaking to landowners a majority of whom have no interest or leases you find out the history of the areas and routinely hear that they could see methane vents in springs and they're water wells well before the industry as a whole showed up.

Someone asked who would pay for the carbon filtration systems, that would be the leasing company. In PA if there is a registered complaint and the DEP finds methane where it shouldn't be the leasing gas company is legally required to do whatever the DEP states, at a cost to the company, and provide drinking water (bottled or filtration system) at their cost until the water returns to normal. At which point the homeowner gets to keep the system for piece of mind.

And for an article stating the DEP has no authority or is in the industry's back pocket, I'd like to disagree given how much they talk to us and can shut down jobs if their not completely satisfied with (which I am perfectly fine with, I've personally kicked off contractors for failing to heed my companies requirements for environmental protection).

As for the makeup of frac fluids: most major players in the Marcellus use fracfocus.org to disclose fluid compositions to the public. Additionally, fluid compositions are disclosed to regulating bodies.

Lastly, you want this low gas price environment and high regulation to continue. This pushes out the mom and pop shops (who are more apt to cut corners and can't afford to meet the basic requirements of environmental protection) and leaves the companies well versed in this environment to develop the needed infrastructure and best practices to do this safely and effectively.

/dons flame retardant suit
//here we go.



That hole in the planet will be there for the life of the planet. What's the long term maintenance plan?

Also, this...PA has between 180,000 and 350,000 orphaned and abandoned wells of all ages and all types.
Each orphaned and abandoned well a potential conduit between the frack zone and the surface.

How many more houses need to blow up when new development creates additional methane migration?
www.cardcreek.com
This one is in McKean County, just outside Bradford, PA.

You say PA is well regulated and on paper you are right. But PA has layed off over half their DEP field staff.
Regulations are worthless without staff to enforce them. Basically, you're expected to self regulate by filling out forms, reports and documentation and submitting them.
Every once in a while you get a visit and a check mark on the appearance of the well pad. But this is smoke and mirrors...

State Game lands 59, Fisk Hollow, PA. On a single well pad, truckers we are friendly with reported a major leak. Nothing in the news.
We went up to investigate and there was a huge wet spot on the well pad and a bunch of straw all over..and a T-shirt or a towel wrapped around the well at the surface.

Reported this to the DEP, they went up and investigated, 2 weeks later....Nothing wrong, they said.

Another truck driver reported another leak. Another DEP investigation at Fisk Hollow....nothing in the news.

We had to drive to Harrisburg and in person request the DEP investigation report for FISK Hollow...and here's the summary:
3 wells were drilled on one pad.
The drilling contractor used a drilling mud compound that included the biocide ANHIB2 but was missing additional Ph balancers that would reduce the acidity of the fluids in the well bore.
Hydrochloric acid formed during drilling and it ate through the casing. on all 3 wells. Resulting in the spill of thousands of gallons of drilling mud and well cuttings.

PA DEP had no intention of releasing this information.

AND TAHT..my good man, is the most serious argument against the state of PA and how they're managing this. Negative news, even if fact based and of relevance to PA Citizen's health, is intentionally buried under near impenetrable layers of bureaucratic rock.

Also this:
Methane migrating into water wells HAS been a major issue for PA for ever. Water well construction has been very lightly regulated throughout PA's history....
So, knowing this was an issue, and knowing the Marcellus rush was coming, why then would the state encourage a major rush without taking steps to help it's private water well owners fix a known issue?

I'm not flaming you. And as a member of the industry I'm not even blaming you.

But I got no problem telling you that PA is being negligently reckless in how the state is managing this.

PA's been drilled more times than a 5 dollar crack whore....and yeah, all kinds of nasty things are leaking out now.
2012-11-04 05:55:56 AM  
2 votes:
I love how industrialists claim they're coming to the defense of the scientific method by asking for more details on the levels of these contaminants and how they compare to naturally occurring levels. Benzene and toluene would only be found in concentration together if it was artificially concentrated benzene (two steps in the process of producing concentrated benzene are toluene hydrodealkylation and toluene disproportionation). But that isn't even your main error here, knuckleheads!

The main error would be to assume that a scientist would say anything other than 'More study is needed' when faced with evidence of a public water source possibly being contaminated by nearby hydrofracking. But that's not what the Penn Dept of Environmental Protection did! Instead they brushed this evidence aside and let the Natural Gas industry continue along their potentially dangerous path.

Natural Gas has the potential to change american energy, and thus we are at a crossroads. Will we slow down this race to frack just long enough to ensure these industry practices that will soon become standard are safe and optimally effective? Or will we rush in guns blazing and just cross our fingers, hoping no innocent families suffer cancer or children born with birth defects due to our all-consuming thirst for profit.

UG. There's no reason to jump to the fringes on this one, people.
2012-11-04 04:01:17 AM  
2 votes:
And this is why, when someone complains about 'red tape' strangling business, I want to slap them.
2012-11-03 11:54:48 PM  
2 votes:

BarkingUnicorn: There will be small, short-lived riots no matter who wins.


And we, as a country, will deserve it. Every ounce of it.
2012-11-03 10:33:35 PM  
2 votes:
There will be small, short-lived riots no matter who wins.
2012-11-04 04:13:59 PM  
1 votes:
X-boxershorts

You bring up some great points, and I recognize that you are not flaming me but bringing issues to the attention of authorities as a concerned citizen looking to keep business honest.

Now, please allow me to state that I do not disagree with you about the current workforce of the DEP. They are severely underfunded and need more regulators well versed in the oil and gas industry. I believe that supposed to be helped by the impact fees and higher permit fees generated by 2012 Act 13. However, I cannot be sure. I am one of the few, as a native Pennsylvanian and O&G industry person actually advocating for excise taxes. Excise taxes could help fund the DEP and keep up their orphaned and abandoned well program.

Unfortunately those wells were abandoned by previous operators who were independent and small wildcatters. Who were less then fastidious in their record keeping. At present, when a previously unknown/abandoned/orphaned well is discovered by us, we're obligated to GPS it, report it to the DEP and help them plug it before we can continue with our operations. Now in the specific area I work, we have yet to come across any but I know that they have in the other parts of the state.

So I plead to you to continue to hold the DEP and the industry accountable. It's the only way to affect change. I do my part on my side.

I checked and the area of PA you call out specifically we do not operate in so I can't comment on that operators specific operating procedures but I can tell you that any contractor that did that in my field would be summarily dismissed and their contract fought to withold all payments. There is no reason for that kind of carelessness aside from penny pinching contractors (who shouldn't be doing this kind of work in the first place) or shody operators for hiring them in the first place.

I can tell you that the mid-majors and major operators do share contractor performance information and we routinely blackball contractors who act in wreckless manners. Those pictures you posted are not the operators themselves but contractors. Very few companies own their own trucking lines anymore. Additionally that contractor was/is probably being investigated by the Dept. of Justice/FBI and state agencies. Trust me, the operator will be held partially reliable for their contractors conduct. Someone will and should go to jail over that.

As for long term maintenance, our lease operators check on a daily basis the well pressure, and casing pressures. When anything happens out of the ordinary we shut in the well and consult with our engineering department to diagnose and prepare repair plans before they get worse. However, since we are large enough we can weather low price environments while still performing this kind of maintenance, some of the smaller mid size companies and mom and pop shops can't and that's when you get problems.

I can tell you that we have drilled a few dry holes here and what we do in that event is this: pump the well full of cement, GPS the vertical well bore location, reclaim the property (restoring it to its "as found" condition) and let our permits expire. Now since I'm not in charge of permits and contracts I can't tell you with 100% confidence but I believe that there is an obligation to the operator to take care of any issues that arise on the property unless the property is repurposed for something else (i.e. another business comes in and develops the land for another reason).

Again, thank you for a non-yelling counter point discussion. It's always appreciated.
2012-11-04 11:34:34 AM  
1 votes:
I know I'm going to catch hell for this but I am an EH&S professional for a large Nat Gas operator in the Marcellus (they also operate across the company)

The PADEP requires all home/water wells be tested at the cost of the company with 2000 ft of the vertical well bore before any drill bit touches the earth.

Some companies test further out to be safe.

The aquifers and mercellus zones are separated by THOUSANDS o feet of rock.

PA was the birthplace of the oil industry in the United States and has had continuous, albeit small, oil and gas presence ever since. There are shallow gas zones (some as Low as 500 feet) all over the state. Shallow gas pockets will find the path of least resistance to the surface. Also, what do you think makes coal burn? Methane evolves off of coal seams and can leach into the ground/water with no human interaction.

The geological makeup of PA is unique. To get an idea of how complex the fracture structure is take a pane of glass, spider web it and repeat that several hundred million times on top of each other.

Speaking to landowners a majority of whom have no interest or leases you find out the history of the areas and routinely hear that they could see methane vents in springs and they're water wells well before the industry as a whole showed up.

Someone asked who would pay for the carbon filtration systems, that would be the leasing company. In PA if there is a registered complaint and the DEP finds methane where it shouldn't be the leasing gas company is legally required to do whatever the DEP states, at a cost to the company, and provide drinking water (bottled or filtration system) at their cost until the water returns to normal. At which point the homeowner gets to keep the system for piece of mind.

And for an article stating the DEP has no authority or is in the industry's back pocket, I'd like to disagree given how much they talk to us and can shut down jobs if their not completely satisfied with (which I am perfectly fine with, I've personally kicked off contractors for failing to heed my companies requirements for environmental protection).

As for the makeup of frac fluids: most major players in the Marcellus use fracfocus.org to disclose fluid compositions to the public. Additionally, fluid compositions are disclosed to regulating bodies.

Lastly, you want this low gas price environment and high regulation to continue. This pushes out the mom and pop shops (who are more apt to cut corners and can't afford to meet the basic requirements of environmental protection) and leaves the companies well versed in this environment to develop the needed infrastructure and best practices to do this safely and effectively.

/dons flame retardant suit
//here we go.
2012-11-04 07:37:57 AM  
1 votes:

EnviroDude: If the frack wells are shallow and near the water producing sands, then they might interconnect. But my experience shows most residential water wells are shallow (
Anyway, the easiest way to remove Arsenic (naturally occurring), and BTEX is to install carbon filtration systems at each of the drinking water well heads.


You know why nobody asked your opinion?

Because at exactly no point in the past has anything you ever said suggested it's worth anything.
2012-11-04 06:37:38 AM  
1 votes:
i295.photobucket.com

/Since when do wingnuts care about the environment?
2012-11-04 06:31:38 AM  
1 votes:

Girl From The North Country: I think the best course of action is to remove as many regulations from business as possible because the free market will ensure they do the right thing.


Already been done. The invisible hand of the free market created a government complete with regulatory agencies in order to police itself. Invisibly, of course.
2012-11-04 05:07:57 AM  
1 votes:
"Toxicology tests on the plaintiffs found the presence of toluene, benzene and arsenic in their bodies, according to the complaint."

...and how much did they find in the drinking water around the site?

How much was naturally occurring?

What level of "contamination" was found? Parts per million? Billion? Trillion? 

The first rule of biased science writing: toss out a list of chemicals "found" somewhere, but not the amounts, and never tell anyone that they've been found in the water there since well before humans moved onto the continent...
2012-11-04 04:26:37 AM  
1 votes:

Gulper Eel: jbuist: We got ourselves an article that doesn't state any particular levels of contamination but surely the industrialists are to blame for this, uh, something, I guess.

The testing appears to have been about markers more than levels. For some reason TFA didn't link to the original Times article, but here you go.

I'm inclined to support fracking, if only because it's opposed in NY the same dipshiats who think Indian Point should be closed because of OMG TSUNAMI MOTHRA.


You really shouldn't taunt Tsunami Mothra.

Just sayin.
2012-11-04 04:17:00 AM  
1 votes:

jbuist: We got ourselves an article that doesn't state any particular levels of contamination but surely the industrialists are to blame for this, uh, something, I guess.


The testing appears to have been about markers more than levels. For some reason TFA didn't link to the original Times article, but here you go.

I'm inclined to support fracking, if only because it's opposed in NY the same dipshiats who think Indian Point should be closed because of OMG TSUNAMI MOTHRA.
2012-11-04 02:37:14 AM  
1 votes:
EnviroDude:

It's funny that you think you have any credibility.
 
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