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Dept. of Environmental Protection
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Harrisburg PA., 17120


30-Day Public Comment Period Opened May 2; Permit Would Allow TerrAqua Resource Management to Treat 400,000 Gallons Per Day

4 May 2009 WILLIAMSPORT – The Department of Environmental Protection has published the first draft discharge permit for a gas well wastewater treatment plant on the West Branch Susquehanna River under the state’s new permitting strategy to TerrAqua Resource Management LLC of Williamsport, Lycoming County.

The draft permit was published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin on May 2 for a 30-day public comment period. DEP will make a final decision on the permit after reviewing all public comments.

“When approved, this permit will establish specific treatment parameters for gas well drilling wastewater, which includes frac water, brine water and drill water,” said DEP Northcentral Regional Director Robert Yowell.

“These parameters will include a monthly variable limit on total dissolved solids, or salt, as measured in pounds per day.”

DEP’s permitting strategy for high total dissolved solids announced in the middle of April includes interim and final strategies.

The final strategy, effective Jan. 1, 2011, establishes an average monthly limit of 500 parts per million for total dissolved solids and 250 parts per million for chlorides and sulfates.

The interim strategy consists of a plan to allocate a portion of the remaining assimilative capacity of the West Branch Susquehanna River for total dissolved solids among 10 proposed dischargers.

A detailed DEP study done earlier this year concluded that about 980,000 pounds per day of assimilative capacity remains for total dissolved solids on the West Branch.

TerrAqua’s draft discharge permit allows between 54,412 and 522,245 pounds per day of total dissolved solids to be discharged to the river.

The amount is lowest in the summer months when flows are typically lower and temperatures higher, and highest in late winter when flows are normally highest and temperatures cooler.

The permit allows a maximum of 400,000 gallons per day of typical well drilling wastewater to be treated and discharged from a facility to be constructed on the Water Tower Square property in Williamsport.

“TerrAqua also will need DEP to review and approve a separate Water Quality Management permit for the treatment technology and construction of the plant,” said Yowell.

“That application has not yet been submitted.”

DEP expects half of the remaining 10 discharge permit applications for the West Branch to be published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin by the end of May, and the remainder by the end of June.

The department issued a record 7,792 well drilling permits in 2008, including 353 in the Marcellus Shale.

For more information, visit website, keyword: Marcellus shale.






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