February 12 is the deadline to get your comments into Pennsylvania's Environmental Quality Board on the proposed Marcellus wastewater regulations.
In an action alert to its members, the Clean Water Action says that the wastewater that results from drilling operations that tap into into the Marcellus Shale's rich natural gas deposits :
"contains a mix of heavy metals including arsenic and lead, toxic chemicals such as benzene that can cause cancer, and salts. This wastewater is generally 3-6 times saltier than seawater, and already has changed fresh water streams in Pennsylvania into salt water environments!"The natural gas industry, represented by the Marcellus Shale Coalition, released a Statement on Flowback Water Treatment which generally--but not specifically--addresses the proposed regulations.
Currently, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has been allowing drillers to dump their wastewater with little treatment, and sometimes with none at all. However, the DEP has proposed new standards for Marcellus wastewater which would finally require real wastewater treatment prior to any discharges into our drinking water supply.
A copy of the proposed new standards, and information on where to send your comments, can be found here.
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