WV/PA Monongahela Area Watersheds Compact


Eighth Meeting - April 28, 2011

1 - Barry Palley, Watersheds Compact Co-Chair, opened the meeting and greeted everyone. He said there is a need for Bromide standards. What is adequate, he asked.

2 – Martin Niverth, UMRA, Green County,  said there was a poor number of inspectors, but the PADEP is taking water readings seriously; companies are responding. Consultants are following citizens testing water. DEP does what the Politicians tell them. There is a need for a Water Commission (to regulate water withdrawal and use), similar to the Delaware and Susquehanna commissions. We need to get everyone together to work together under the Commission.

3 – Duane Nichols, Watersheds Compact Co-Chair, commented on the impact of the Marcellus Shale Gas drilling activities on residents, saying the “odds are worsening in the Shale game.” Things are reaching a crises level – leaders won’t be able to hide. Property owners can’t sleep because of the noise and lack of dark skies. Chesapeake needs to be sensitive to people’s needs.   

4 – Bill Hughes, Wetzel County Action Group, has lived in Wetzel for 35 years said there was a backflow of mud and contaminants from wells that are being buried on well sites. Drill mud is leaching into aquifers. Lately, mud has been hauled off to landfills in Wheeling and Parkersburg. New York has determined the waste is not suitable for landfills, and it must be treated as hazardous materials and sent to HASMAT sites.

5 – Amanada Pitzer, Friends of the Cheat reported that friends are mapping and monitoring the Cheat River watershed. Fifty permits to drill have been issued in the lower Cheat and Big Sandy watersheds. A fifteen mile long pipe line is being laid from Albright, WV to somewhere in Fayette County. Chesapeake is aware that volunteers are taking water readings. Seismic testing is being done in the Pisgah area. A land fill has been proposed to be sited in the Bruceton Mills area for waste mud. The Cheat River Festival will be held on May 7th at 1 PM in Albright. To volunteer, contact Amanda@Cheat.org.

6 – John King, WVDEP Office of Environmental Advocate’s Office provided a power point presentation of Environmental degradation concerns, including: habitat fatigue, transportation dust and diesel fumes, air quality, flaring down-wind syndrome, venting tanks, questionable working conditions, public safety, burying and exploding wells, noise pollution, stream crossings, hay bale barriers, silt fences, steep slopes, preventable mishaps, water withdrawal, fresh water impoundments,  processing water impurities on site – percent of solidification and turbulence, leachate, water treatment and safe drinking water concerns, workers may be at risk, well pad development in flood plains, impact on sensitive wetlands,  fill in streams, conditions not allowable, protecting ground water, cementing and casing programs and abandoned wells, methane and completed wells.

7 - WV House of Delegates Members Fleischauer and Mike Mannypenny of the Judiciary Committee, and Charlene Marshall of the Finance Committee were present. Barbara Fleischauer said she thinks a special session of the Legislature dealing with Marcellus Gas issues is possible and maybe likely. One special legislative session is required for redistricting. Mike Mannypenny added that issues of air quality monitoring, water withdrawal, air quality anti-degradation, protection of water and property values must be addressed.

8 – Lewis Baker, WV Rural Water Association and Martin Niverth, Green County, PA   discussed a proposed Bromide standard for drinking water. An in-steam water quality standard for bromide (of approximately 50-100 ug/l) may be necessary to protect water supplies in the Monongahela Basin, and down-stream in the Ohio valley. The proposed standard should be developed after a systematic study and public hearings have taken place, and as soon as possible.  

A motion was made and approved, “The WV/PA Monongahela Area Watersheds Compact herein endorses and promotes the adoption and implementation of a numeric Water Quality Standard for Bromide, by the states of West Virginia and Pennsylvania, the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission, and/or the US Environmental Protection Agency.

9 –Frank Jernejcic, WVNNR Fishery Biologist, provided an update on Dunkard Creek and the ORANSCO Ohio River Source Water Protection.

10 – The ninth watersheds meeting will be May 31, at 1 PM at the Airport.