The Delaware River Basin Commission, the agency that oversees drinking water quality for the watershed, voted to prohibit the discharge of wastewater from fracking operations into the region’s waterways or land. The commissioners voted 4-0, with the federal government abstaining. The commission is made up of representatives from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware along with a federal representative from the Army Corps of Engineers.Susan Phillips | StateImpact Pennsylvania | December 7, 2022
The Delaware River, which runs from upstate New York and empties into the Delaware Bay, provides drinking water to about 15 million people in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. About one-third of the Delaware River Basin lies above Marcellus Shale natural gas deposits.
“DRBC’s press release is below and is disingenuous – not a positive step, not protecting the resources of the basin as DRBC is mandated to do. These new regulations will result in the contamination of the Delaware Basin and harm environmental and human health.
“If you go to the link approved a final rule ( https://www.nj.gov/drbc/about/regulations/final-rule_import-export-hvhf-discharge.html ) and scroll down a little more than half way to:
Final Rule: Activities Prohibited & Activities Not Regulated by the Final Rule
You will see the lists below.
Please see my comments after each item. Please bear in mind that I have not had a chance to carefully review all the details, but these comments reflect how I see these regulations now – a few hours after the December 7th DRBC meeting when they were revealed. We have lots of work ahead of us – THIS IS NOT A FULL BAN of either wastewater import or water export for fracking elsewhere – all of us living in or using Delaware River water – in the Delaware Basin and out of Basin (like NYC) are in danger of being poisoned.
Examples of activities that are prohibited by the final rule:
Examples of activities that are beyond the scope of the proposed and final rule follow. The final rule does not:
DELAWARE RIVER BASIN COMMISSION
P.O. Box 7360, 25 Cosey Road
West Trenton, NJ 08628
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACTS: Elizabeth Brown, Elizabeth.Brown [at] drbc.gov
Kate Schmidt, Kate.Schmidt [at] drbc.gov
WEST TRENTON, N.J. (December 7) – By a vote of 4-0, with the federal government abstaining, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) today approved a final rule prohibiting the discharge of wastewater from high volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) to water or land in the Delaware River Basin and clarifying the circumstances in which water, including wastewater, may be exported from or imported into the Basin.
Today’s action is reflected in Commission Resolution No. 2022 – 04 which prohibits the discharge of wastewater from HVHF to land or water throughout the Basin to control future pollution, protect public health and preserve the waters of the Basin. Resolution No. 2022 – 04 also strengthens DRBC policies concerning the exportation and importation of water, including wastewater, into and from the Basin and provides greater detail for implementing them. Resolution No. 2022 – 04 discourages, limits and places conditions on water importation and exportation to protect the health and safety of Basin residents and preserve Basin waters for aquatic life and other uses. The resolution recognizes the Delaware River Basin’s limited water quantity, susceptibility to drought, and limited capacity to assimilate wastewater.
“The DRBC Commissioners have taken a bold step to protect our Basin’s exceptional water resources,” said Steve Tambini, DRBC Executive Director. “Adoption of these rules by the Commission is a joint action of four states and the federal government,confirming the significant and vital role our shared water resources play in the lives of more than 13 million people,” Tambini noted.
The DRBC held five public hearings on the draft rules and received thousands of comments and petitions from a diverse cross-section of the Basin’s communities and beyond. The DRBC staff and Commission member agencies reviewed and evaluated all comments, along with additional scientific and technical literature and reports.
Today’s action marks the DRBC’s second major rulemaking on HVHF. At a February 25, 2021, meeting, the Commission approved a final rule prohibiting the practice of HVHF in the Basin, Resolution No. 2021-01. At the same meeting, the Commission directed the Executive Director to prepare the rules adopted today.
“We appreciate the robust public engagement, the input from the DRBC’s state and federal members, and the careful deliberation by the Commissioners throughout this process,” Tambini said.
Resolution No. 2022 – 04 and a Frequently Asked Questions document are available to translate into Spanish and other languages on the DRBC website via a Google Translate widget. Requests for translation of additional documents related to this rulemaking can be made by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
The DRBC is an interstate-federal government agency created in 1961 by concurrent compact legislation, marking the first time that the federal government and a group of states joined as equal partners in a river basin planning, development and regulatory agency. The five Commission members are the governors of the basin states (Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania) and the commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ North Atlantic Division, who represents the federal government. To learn more about the Commission, please visit www.drbc.gov or follow DRBC on Twitter at @DRBC1961.
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Delaware River Basin Commission
P.O. Box 7360
West Trenton, NJ 08628-0360
P: (609) 883-9500 x205 *currently working a hybrid schedule; email is best contact
F: (609) 883-9522
Kate.Schmidt [at] @drbc.gov
Managing, Protecting & Improving the
Basin’s Water Resources since 1961
Unlike the major river basins in eastern Pennsylvania (Susquehanna River & Delaware River) the Ohio River basin lacks a true river basin commission. The closest thing to it is a commission known as ORSANCO, which stands for Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission.
The commission was established in 1948 “to control and abate pollution in the Ohio River Basin.” As an interstate commission, ORSANCO represents the federal government and 8 states: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.
In light of all the Marcellus Shale wastewater being dumped into the upper tributaries of the Ohio River, it is rather alarming there is no mention of Marcellus Shale or gas drilling wastewater disposal in the PDF files below from 2010. This is in stark contrast to many of the problems reported in the upper tributaries of the Ohio River, with trihalomethane issues and new concerns in 2011 about radioactive wastewater disposal into the Monongahela River and other Ohio River tributaries located in Pennsylvania. As the old saying goes, “Everyone is downstream from someone.” In this case, 7 states are downstream from Pennsylvania and that should merit new concerns.
June 2010 Meeting Minutes (No mention of Marcellus Shale or drilling wastewater disposal)
http://orsanco.org/images/stories/files/aboutUs/commissionminutes/197comminjune10.pdfPAGE NOT FOUND 12-8-22
POLLUTION CONTROL STANDARDS for discharges to the Ohio River – 2010 Revision
(No mention of Marcellus Shale or drilling wastewater disposal)
http://orsanco.org/images/stories/files/pollutionControlStandards/docs/2010standardsfinal.pdfPAGE NOT FOUND 12-8-22
Sampling data: January – June 2010
Analytical results of bimonthly samples collected from 31 locations on the Ohio River and its tributaries. In addition to the routine set of parameters collected bimonthly, quarterly analyses for five metals are performed on a rotating basis among stations.
http://orsanco.org/images/stories/files/bimonthlyData/qmbimonthlyjan-jun2010.pdfPAGE NOT FOUND 12-8-22
5735 Kellogg Avenue
Cincinnati, Ohio 45230
Monongahela River in Pittsburgh, PA
Fallen Leaves: A Tree’s Gift to the Stream
December 2, 2022 – After a gorgeous season of fall foliage, the leaves of our deciduous trees turned brown and have fallen. Once they are on the ground, it can be easy to forget about the ecological importance of these leaves. However, the second portion of the leaves’ lives have just begun- now is their turn to give back to the ecosystem that formed them! Once in the stream, there are 3 processes that leaves may undergo: leaching, conditioning, and fragmentation. Leaching is when the soluble organic compounds in a leaf are pulled into the water. Stroud Water Research Center has coined the combination of leached organic compounds and stream water as “watershed tea.” Just like when you stick a tea bag into a mug of water and see the tea disperse throughout the hot water, so do the nutrients from the leaves disperse throughout the stream. The dissolved organic compounds provide important nutrition for the microbes and other organisms within the stream.
The University of Pittsburgh has a Fracking Problem
December 8, 2022 – The ties between the University of Pittsburgh Board of Trustees and the fracking industry may hold the answer to the inexplicably hasty decision to withdraw from an event that could lead to further public scrutiny on the industry. Many of the trustees that govern the University have deep social and financial ties to the fossil fuel industry, particularly the fracking industry in Western Pennsylvania. Fracking giants like EQT often take advantage of these important relationships to control their public image and stifle opposition.
Oil leak shuts down Keystone Pipeline
December 8, 2022 – WASHINGTON COUNTY (KSNT) – The massive Keystone Pipeline has been shut down after oil was found to be leaking into a Kansas creek. The leak is said to have happened 20 miles south of Steele City, Nebraska, on the Kansas/Nebraska border, a major junction for the 2,687-mile pipeline system. The pipeline carries oil from Canada down through South Dakota to Steele City, where it splits. One arm runs east through Missouri, the other heads through Kansas and to the Texas Gulf Coast.
Frac’ers dumped waste from wells with PFAS across Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia. Regulators refuse to test for PFAS, even after spills
A new map reveals at least 97 new locations that could have been contaminated by the industry’s use of “forever chemicals.” PITTSBURGH — Waste from fracking wells that used PFAS – commonly known as “forever chemicals”– has been dumped at dozens of sites across Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia — all of which could face contamination of soil, groundwater and drinking water as a result.
Electric utilities in Pa. monitoring grid in the wake of North Carolina attacks
Pennsylvania utilities are monitoring for threats after an attack on two electric substations left thousands of people without power in North Carolina. FirstEnergy owns Penn Power, Met-Ed, Penelec, and West Penn Power, which together serve more than 2 million customers in Pennsylvania. The company says it uses real-time monitoring to detect physical and cyber attacks on the grid.