Webinar Focuses On DEP’s 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 presented an overview of the state’s new standards for water discharges and well construction during a webinar on Thursday.

Presented by Penn State Cooperative Extension, the program was titled, “Pa. DEP Regulatory Update.” It featured Dana Aunkst, director of DEP’s bureau of water standards and facilities regulation, and Eugene Pine, professional geologist manager.

They explained the impact of Pennsylvania’s recently adopted total dissolved solids regulations, limiting discharges in public waters to a threshold of 500 milligrams per liter. The new regulations have resulted in new wastewater treatment practices — particularly recycling and reuse of flowback water from hydrofracturing — by gas drillers. On Thursday, just hours before the webinar, the state’s Independent Regulatory Review Commission unanimously approved the state’s new gas well construction standards.

The webinar was part of an ongoing series of workshops and events addressing issues related to the state’s Marcellus Shale gas boom. It was recorded and will be available soon, along with archived versions of other webinars on natural gas topics, at this site: http://extension.psu.edu/naturalgas/webinars.

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