Tag Archives: Pennsylvania

Little Sisters of the Poor under siege again, this time from California, Pennsylvania

“Lawsuits by the states of California and Pennsylvania against the Trump administration’s new religious liberty rule have sent the Little Sisters of the Poor back into court to defend their right to adhere to their faith beliefs.” click here

Bromide in Drinking Water Sources, Pennsylvania

Good KD, Vanbriesen JM. Power plant bromide discharges and downstream drinking water systems in Pennsylvania. Environmental science and technology. 2017 Sep 25. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.7b03003.

Coal-fired power plants operating wet flue gas desulfurization (FGD) have recently been implicated in increasing bromide levels in drinking water sources, which affect formation of disinfection by-products. Bromide was not included as a regulated constituent in the recent steam electric effluent limitations guidelines and standards (ELGs) since the U.S. EPA analysis suggested few drinking water facilities would be affected by bromide discharges from power plants. The present analysis uses a watershed approach to identify Pennsylvania drinking water intakes downstream of wet FGD discharges and considers the population served by these systems, providing context for the potential extent of the effects of coal-fired power plant discharges on downstream drinking water plants and consumers of publicly-supplied drinking water. Twenty-two (22) public drinking water systems serving 2.5 million people were identified as being downstream of at least one wet FGD discharge. During mean August flow conditions in receiving rivers, the median bromide concentration contributions at intake locations ranged from 5.2 to 62 µg/L for the Base scenario (including only natural bromide in coal) and 16 to 190 µg/L for the Bromide Addition scenario (natural plus added bromide for mercury control); ranges depend on bromide loads and receiving stream dilution capacity.

Groundwater Contamination Attributed to Macellus Shale Gas Development

Llewellyn GT, Dorman F, Westland JL, Yoxtheimer D, Grieve P, Sowers T, Humston-Fulmer E, Brantley SL. Evaluating a groundwater supply contamination incident attributed to Marcellus Shale gas development. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2015 May 4. pii: 201420279.

High-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) has revolutionized the oil and gas industry worldwide but has been accompanied by highly controversial incidents of reported water contamination. For example, groundwater contamination by stray natural gas and spillage of brine and other gas drilling-related fluids is known to occur. However, contamination of shallow potable aquifers by HVHF at depth has never been fully documented. We investigated a case where Marcellus Shale gas wells in Pennsylvania caused inundation of natural gas and foam in initially potable groundwater used by several households. With comprehensive 2D gas chromatography coupled to time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GCxGC-TOFMS), an unresolved complex mixture of organic compounds was identified in the aquifer. Similar signatures were also observed in flowback from Marcellus Shale gas wells. A compound identified in flowback, 2-n-Butoxyethanol, was also positively identified in one of the foaming drinking water wells at nanogram-per-liter concentrations. The most likely explanation of the incident is that stray natural gas and drilling or HF compounds were driven ∼1-3 km along shallow to intermediate depth fractures to the aquifer used as a potable water source. Part of the problem may have been wastewaters from a pit leak reported at the nearest gas well pad-the only nearby pad where wells were hydraulically fractured before the contamination incident. If samples of drilling, pit, and HVHF fluids had been available, GCxGC-TOFMS might have fingerprinted the contamination source. Such evaluations would contribute significantly to better management practices as the shale gas industry expands worldwide.

Faulty wells, not fracking, contaminate drinking water wells with methane gas

Duke researchers conclude that water contamination in Texas and Pennsylvania occurred because of leaky well shafts near the earth’s surface and not because of hyrdalic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing itself takes place thousands of feet underground.

Thomas H. Darrah, Avner Vengosh, Robert B. Jackson, Nathaniel R. Warner, Robert J. Poreda. Noble gases identify the mechanisms of fugitive gas contamination in drinking-water wells overlying the Marcellus and Barnett Shales PNAS, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1322107111 September 15, 2014

Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have enhanced energy production but raised concerns about drinking-water contamination and other environmental impacts. Identifying the sources and mechanisms of contamination can help improve the environmental and economic sustainability of shale-gas extraction. We analyzed 113 and 20 samples from drinking-water wells overlying the Marcellus and Barnett Shales, respectively, examining hydrocarbon abundance and isotopic compositions (e.g., C2H6/CH4, δ13C-CH4) and providing, to our knowledge, the first comprehensive analyses of noble gases and their isotopes (e.g., 4He, 20Ne, 36Ar) in groundwater near shale-gas wells. We addressed two questions. (i) Are elevated levels of hydrocarbon gases in drinking-water aquifers near gas wells natural or anthropogenic? (ii) If fugitive gas contamination exists, what mechanisms cause it? Against a backdrop of naturally occurring salt- and gas-rich groundwater, we identified eight discrete clusters of fugitive gas contamination, seven in Pennsylvania and one in Texas that showed increased contamination through time. Where fugitive gas contamination occurred, the relative proportions of thermogenic hydrocarbon gas (e.g., CH4, 4He) were significantly higher (P < 0.01) and the proportions of atmospheric gases (air-saturated water; e.g., N2, 36Ar) were significantly lower (P < 0.01) relative to background groundwater. Noble gas isotope and hydrocarbon data link four contamination clusters to gas leakage from intermediate-depth strata through failures of annulus cement, three to target production gases that seem to implicate faulty production casings, and one to an underground gas well failure. Noble gas data appear to rule out gas contamination by upward migration from depth through overlying geological strata triggered by horizontal drilling or hydraulic fracturing.

Click here for full paper.

Legionnella found at Pittsburgh Veteran’s Affairs hospital…

Legionnella found in the water supply….investigation continues….click here.

Harrisburg (PA) slush fund, financial woes the fruit of progressive/liberal policy?

An interesting expose of the financial dealings of the Harrisburg Authority…..click here….

Philadelphia (PA) water main break causes sinkhole, evacuations

Clean-up operations for a major water main break in Southwest Center City were disrupted the morning of July 24 when a gas line broke, apparently under the weight of collapsing asphalt. Evacuations followed…..click here for more….