Friday, January 23, 2015

Testing Spills For Radium, More Guidance On Buffers, Endangered Plant Reg Changes

Vince Brisini, DEP Deputy Secretary for Waste, Air, Radiation and Remediation, told the DEP Citizens Advisory Council Wednesday the results of the TENORM Study of radiation exposures from natural gas-related activities lead his staff to recommend any reportable spills be tested for radium and and workers cleaning up spills should take appropriate precautions.
Hayley Book, DEP Office of Policy Director, said a revised spill testing and response policy is being developed within the agency and no final decisions have been made.
Brisini also said the agency had provided additional guidance to landfills on how to properly dispose of waste, including from drilling operations, that containing naturally occurring radiation.  Presently DEP requires a 50 to 1 ratio for waste containing TENORM.
Brisini made his comments during a presentation on the results of the TENORM Study.  He also announced he would be leaving the agency on January 23 for a new position.
Ken Murin, Chief of DEP’s Wetlands, Encroachment and Training Division, briefed Council on the interim policy the agency issued in December to implement Act 162 which changed the requirement for stream buffers in special protection watersheds.
Murin said, in addition to that guidance, DEP would be issuing two other guidance documents: 310-2135--002: providing additional guidance on equivalency determinations and 310-2135-003: guidance on how to provide offsetting buffers as required by Act 162.  He said the additional guidance should be available in the next month or so.
Comments on the first policy are due February 18.
Rebecca Bowen, DCNR’s Division of Conservation Science and Ecological Resources, told the CAC her division is about finished with a proposed rulemaking that would make changes to the agency’s endangered and threatened plant species list.
Bowen said 31 species are being added and 22 species are being removed, although some of those changes represent changes to the formal species names.  DCNR is also providing a written justification for each of the species changes.
She said DCNR expects to put the proposed changes out for public comment in the next few months.
[Note: The transition to the Wolf Administration could adjust the timing and substance of some of these recommendations.]
The presentations by Murin and Bowen will be published on the CAC Meetings webpage.
The next meeting of the DEP Citizens Advisory Council will be on February 17 in Room 105 of the Rachel Carson Building in Harrisburg.

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