Tuesday, April 26, 2022

DEP: Latest Penn State Report On Environmental Impact Of Road Dumping Conventional Drilling Wastewater Will Have ‘Immediate,’ ‘Large,’ ‘Intense’ Impact In PA, Nationally

On April 25, Kurt Klapkowski, Acting DEP Deputy Secretary for Oil and Gas Management, told the
DEP Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board Penn State’s latest study on the environmental impact of road dumping conventional oil and gas wastewater will have an “immediate,” “large” and “intense” impact on the use of this material in Pennsylvania, nationally and possibly internationally.
DEP has had Penn State’s study under view since December 30 when it was submitted to the agency by Dr. William Burgos and his team.  A revised report was submitted to DEP on or about April 11.

“There’s nobody that wants this released more than me,” said Klapkowski.  “I think it’s important enough that it has to be a priority for us.”

“I was likening it to like a 20 pound stone being thrown into a pond, right? The ripples that are gonna come off this are gonna be immediate, and large,” said Klapkowski.  “You know  inside Pennsylvania, frankly I think nationally, this study has great interest. I don't know if internationally, but possibly internationally, especially if other provinces allowed the use of this material, or other countries. I think people are gonna be looking at this study and saying this is what Penn State found on this, and this is important.”

“The attention is gonna be immediate and intense.”

Not Allowed Under Oil & Gas Regulations, But They Still Can

Klapkowski explained road dumping is “not allowed under our [Oil & Gas Regulations], and we don’t have any plans to allow it under our regulations, as far as I’m aware of, as of this date.”

He pointed out there are a number of entities “moving through the co-product determination process in DEP’s Waste Management Program that allows road dumping under the Residual Waste Regulations.

But, so far none of those entities have met the requirements of DEP’s Residual Waste co-product determination process.

As noted previously in PA Environment Digest, any conventional oil and gas operator now spreading drilling wastewater is doing so illegally.  Read more here.

The latest oil and gas waste reports filed with DEP bring the total amount of reported conventional drilling wastewater illegally road dumped to nearly 2.9 million gallons from 2018 to 2021.  Read more here.

Eyewitnesses report indiscriminate road dumping of conventional oil and gas wastewater continues in 2022.

While road dumping typically occurs on dirt and gravel roads, there were reports again last week of road dumping occurring on State Route 6 in Warren County and other paved roads on a clear day.

Operators who say it is not happening are simply wrong.

On April 21, a consultant for conventional oil and gas operators on DCED’s PA Grade Crude [Oil] Development Advisory Council reported the state Office of Attorney General is investigating the illegal disposal of conventional drilling wastewater through road dumping under DEP’s Residual Waste Regulations.  Read more here.

Public Release Of Latest Report

“It’s gonna be a coordinated release,” said Klapkowski.  “I would definitely be willing to pledge to the TAB [Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board]  and to the CDAC [DCED’s PA Grade Crude (Oil) Advisory Council] that we would be willing to talk about setting something up separate for the two groups, and I think it's one of those ones it makes sense to have together. I don't think it makes any sense to have the Penn State professors do two separate presentations in two separate groups when they're groups of similar interest.” 

Klapkaowski said if the report isn’t released until a week before the August 18 DCED's PA Grade [Oil] Advisory Council, then “something’s gone terribly wrong at that point, because that’s three months out.”

Click Here for Klapkaowski’s comments.

Public Representatives?

A point of controversy in the past has been the lack of representatives of the public or environmental groups in the oil and gas regulatory development process.

A majority of members on the Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board are members of the oil and gas industry, although there are a few non-industry, academic voting and non-voting members.

A majority of DCED’s PA Grade Crude [Oil] Development Advisory Council are members of the conventional oil and gas industry, with a few non-industry members who are members of the Senate and House.

Road Dumping Threatens Health, Environment

A growing body of research by Penn State University and others is finding conventional oil and gas drilling wastewater being dumped indiscriminately on Pennsylvania’s dirt and gravel roads every year is a threat to the environment and human health.

Major studies reported in peer-reviewed journal articles have concluded spreading wastewater from conventional oil and gas drilling on dirt and gravel roads can harm aquatic life, poses health risks to humans and damages the roads.  Read more here.

Preliminary results from a new Penn State research study by a team led by Dr. Nathaniel Warner found road dumping of conventional oil and gas drilling wastewater results in increased cancer risks for people living along those roads, especially children.  Read more here.

The study found increased cancer risk from arsenic, lead and nickel in road dust contaminated by wastewater that is above the one in a million risk threshold.

According to these studies, conventional wastewater contains harmful contaminants like lead, radioactive radium, bromine, barium, radioactive strontium, chromium, cadmium, arsenic, copper, benzine, Diesel-Range organics and Gasoline-range organics.  Read more here.

Typical Road Dumping

The typical road dumping of oil and gas wastewater on dirt roads involves a vac truck making three or more passes on each section of road using a combination of an open value on the back of the truck and then a blanket pass with a homemade spreader bar that offers no control on the amount of brine spread.

There are no state standards restricting the amount of wastewater that can be dumped on roads, no setbacks from streams or wetlands to avoid contamination and no requirements for testing the wastewater before it is disposed of in this way.  Read more here.

See Photos Here - Read more here.  See Photos Here - Read more here.

Visit DEP’s Office Of Oil & Gas Management webpage to learn more about this program.

For more information and available handouts, visit DEP’s Oil & Gas Technical Advisory Board webpage.  Questions should be directed to Todd Wallace twallace@pa.gov, 717-783-6395.

Related Articles This Week:

-- Financial Assurance, Plugging Regulations To Be Reviewed To Prevent New Abandoned Oil & Gas Wells Under Federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Plugging Program

-- DEP: Federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Prompting Review Of On-Site Disposal Options For Oil & Gas Well Plugging Wastes; Radioactive Waste Disposal 

-- DEP: Draft Updates Coming To Regs. On Conventional Oil & Gas Waste Disposal As Early As July; Waste Reporting Changes Invited 

-- DEP Not Seeing Uptick In Oil & Gas Drilling; Expects $8 Million Deficit In Funding Oil & Gas Regulatory Program 

Related Articles - Road Dumping:

-- PA Environment Digest Road Dumping Article Compilation

-- Attorney General’s Office Reported To Be Investigating Conventional Oil & Gas Operators For Illegally Road Dumping Drilling Wastewater

-- Conventional Oil & Gas Operators Continued To Illegally Road Dump Over 580,000 Gallons Of Drilling Wastewater In 2021

-- Millions Of Gallons Of Conventional Oil & Gas Wastewater Spread Illegally On Dirt Roads, Companies Fail To Comply With DEP Waste Regulations  

-- Better Path Coalition Report: How To Close The Loophole Allowing Uncontrolled Road Spreading Of Conventional Oil & Gas Wastewater & Fix Oil and Gas Waste Reporting System 

-- Preliminary Results From New Penn State Study Find Increased Cancer, Health Risks From Road Dumping Conventional Drilling Wastewater, Especially For Children 

-- New Pitt-Duquesne Study Shows Higher Exposures To Radiation In Road Dumping Of Drilling Wastewater When Appropriate Exposure Scenarios Are Used 

-- The Science Says: Spreading Conventional Drilling Wastewater On Dirt & Gravel Roads Can Harm Aquatic Life, Poses Health Risks To Humans - And It Damages The Roads

--  Penn State Center For Dirt & Gravel Road Studies: Road Dumping Of Oil & Gas Wastewater To Control Dust Is Environmentally Unsound Practice 

[Posted: April 26, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

No comments :

Post a Comment

Subscribe To Receive Updates:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner