Note: UMRA does not maintain that information is completely accurate in the items referenced here. Commentary should be considered another point of view and not necessarily the opinion or policy of the Upper Monongahela River Association. We are providing unchecked information because there are many unresolved questions, and while some of the material is inflammatory or incorrect, it is important to understand the variety of positions on the issues.If you wish to follow news on Marcellus Shale development on a daily basis, you should check these sites:
http://www.frackcheckwv.net Sign up for their email.
UMRA has written to WV G0overnor Joe Manchin and Randy C. Huffman, Secretary, WV Department of Environmental Protection emphasizing our belief that a comprehensive approach to regulating drilling in the Marcellus Shale must be developed. Specifically, we feel that regulations and information to monitor and control the impacts of MS gas wells in West Virginia are needed. You can read our letter by clicking the link above.
Few people would ever guess that drilling for natural gas could significantly affect the movement of river barges, but recent events suggest otherwise. In late October water analyses in the mid-Monongahela valley indicated high levels of dissolved solids. To reduce dangers to pubic water supplies and fish populations, the Corps of Engineers increased releases from Tygart and Stonewall Jackson lakes. The Corps was able to do so for only a short period because of the need to supply water for downstream navigation. The lake levels are low and recreational boat access to Tygart Lake was threatened.
Newspaper reports say that the initial alarms came from riverside industries, not governmental monitoring. Both Allegheny Power's electric plant at Masontown, PA and the U.S. Steel Clairton coke plant suddenly recorded high total dissolved solids (TDS) in their cooling water.
Preliminary analysis suggested that the threat came from large truck deliveries of waste water from gas well drilling in the Marcellus Shales to sanitary waste plants discharging, directly or indirectly, into the Monongahela River.
Additional raw data for the Monongahela River basin can be found through our River Monitoring page.