Friday, October 5, 2012

BLACKOUT IS OVER: Press & Sun finally prints the Binghamton Water story!!!

Well! It's been 30 days exactly since I first told you about this:

I've been blogging, nagging them, and urging YOU to call them.
And today, all that work has paid off...

The blackout is over... May want to pick up a copy of the paper tomorrow (Saturday):

PS: the number I was using was 98 unconventional wells in Binghamton's headwaters.
Steve Reilly reports this is 192, however it's not clear how many of these have been fracked...

Thanks to Buck Quigley, TX-Sharon, and Iris Marie Bloom for giving this story credibility in the blogosphere, while the Press people were insisting this was "not a story"...
And thanks to all of YOU who wrote and/or made calls!

Ryan wants Binghamton water tested
No signs Pennsylvania drilling has impacted city water

6:57 PM, Oct. 5, 2012

Written by
Steve Reilly

BINGHAMTON – While there's no sign natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania has impacted the city's water supply, Mayor Matthew T. Ryan is asking for extra testing to make sure.

Ryan said he has asked City of Binghamton water technicians to perform special tests to determine if natural gas drilling in Susquehanna County, Pa., has had an effect on city water, and is also planning to ask state health officials to do a study of possible long-term impacts.

"They always do the testing, which includes some of the chemicals that you would arguably find in drilling wastewater, or related to drilling wastewater," Ryan said. "And I can tell people right now, there's nothing that's been found. But I want to take it to another level to make sure because of things that have come to light, and then hopefully those things will be okay."
The root of the concerns is a W-shaped, 15-mile section of the Susquehanna River that passes through northern Pennsylvania before the waterway enters the City of Binghamton.

The Susquehanna River begins in Otsego County, N.Y., and flows south through Chenango County and eastern Broome County before crossing into Susquehanna County, Pa. From there, the river travels back north through Binghamton and west into Tioga County before re-entering Pennsylvania.
The City of Binghamton's primary water source is an intake point on the Susquehanna River, about two-thirds of a mile east of the Rock Bottom dam, that supplies about 10 million gallons of raw water per day.

Ryan, who has been an outspoken opponent of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in New York, said he also plans to ask the New York State Department of Health to study whether drilling close to the city could have long-term impacts.

"I still want to know the answer to what's the likely impact currently and down the road, because we all know that wells take some time to leach," he said. "What they've allowed in Pennsylvania, could it have harmful effects on New York State?"

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection records show there are no active natural gas wells in the townships and boroughs the Susquehanna River passes through in Susquehanna County, Pa. There are 192 active natural gas wells in six nearby townships, although many have not been hydraulically fractured.

Only one well pad is within a mile of the Susquehanna River in the county.
Data shows no change

Data collected so far doesn't provide any indication that harm has been done to the quality of Binghamton's water since active natural gas drilling began in northern Pennsylvania.

Jeff Kruger, the city's assistant water treatment plant supervisor, said in an e-mail that the plant's constant testing "would be influenced by any changes in water quality throughout the day, 24 hours a day."

So far, that hasn't happened. The city's annual water quality reports have not shown any notable increase in contaminants since natural gas drilling took root in Susquehanna County in 2009.

In addition to constant water-quality monitoring through a computerized system, city water technicians are required by law to perform dozens of laboratory tests per month.

Kruger said special tests the city's Water and Sewer Department is planning will target potential elements including strontium, barium, methane/ethane, propane and butane. Those tests, he said, "should show beyond a reasonable doubt that our water is not under any harmful influence" from drilling activity.

Also keeping watch on the river's health is the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, a federal-state compact agency responsible for monitoring water usage in a four-state area affected by the river.

SRBC spokeswoman Susan Obleski said the agency has monitoring equipment at the Binghamton water intake and in Kirkwood that continuously monitor conditions and would detect any changes.

The equipment includes a "conductance probe" that would show an increase in total dissolved solids if drilling-related wastewater entered into the river and a "total organic carbon analyzer" that can detect pesticides, fertilizers and other contaminants. Turbidity and pH are also constantly monitored.

"To date, the system has not detected any water quality events that have affected Binghamton's intake," Obleski said.

Because the Susquehanna River is a federal waterway, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection would not investigate possible gas drilling contamination in it, spokeswoman Colleen Connolly said. DEP has not received any complaints or investigated any reports of pollution in the river as a result of drilling, she said.

John Krohn, spokesman for the industry-funded group Energy In Depth, said the idea that natural gas drilling is harming the Susquehanna River is not supported by any government data.

"Both DEP and the (SRBC) annually list the largest sources of pollution impacting the river, and natural gas development is noticeably absent over five years of development," he said. "If Mayor Ryan is truly concerned about the health of the river and its potential impacts on the city's water supply, perhaps a better place to direct his concern would be the nine combined sewer outfalls in the city that impair the river each time a heavy rainfall or snow melt occurs."

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May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)

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