Free Webinar Thursday On New Gas-Drilling Regulations

Potter County Today

waterspringAs natural gas drilling has increased, state regulators have become increasingly concerned about pollution risks to ground and surface water, and they have been developing new regulations to protect water sources. Two experts with the Pa. Dept. of Environmental Protection will offer details in a free, one-hour, web-based seminar on Thursday, Nov. 18, at 1 pm. Presented by Penn State Cooperative Extension, the webinar is titled, “Pa. DEP Regulatory Update.” It will feature Dana Aunkst, director of DEP’s bureau of water standards and facilities regulation, and Eugene Pine, professional geologist manager. Online participants will have the opportunity to ask questions.

Pennsylvania recently adopted new treatment requirements for total dissolved solids, limiting discharges to a threshold of 500 milligrams per liter. The new regulations have resulted in new wastewater treatment practices by gas drillers.

“A properly cased and cemented oil or gas well is critical to protecting groundwater, public health, safety and the environment,” explained Pine.  “New well-drilling and completion practices used to develop Marcellus Shale wells, as well as recent impacts to drinking water supplies and the environment by both traditional and Marcellus Shale wells, prompted DEP to re-evaluate its requirements . . . With the continued development of the oil and gas industry, the potential exists for natural gas to migrate from the wellbore by either improperly constructed wells or older, deteriorated wells. This migration could adversely affect underground sources of drinking water and pose a threat to public safety and the environment. Accordingly, DEP has revised its well-drilling and operation regulations.”

The webinar is part of an ongoing series of workshops and events addressing issues related to the state’s Marcellus Shale gas boom. Information about how to register  is available at http://extension.psu.edu/naturalgas/webinars.

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