May 25, 2011 —
DRBC schedules new public hearing on proposed water withdrawal
Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) Executive Director Carol Collier has announced that a second hearing will be held on June 1 to give the public another opportunity to provide feedback on XTO Energy’s proposed water withdrawal draft docket.
XTO Energy is requesting to withdraw up to 250,000 gallons per day of surface water from Oquaga Creek in the Town of Sanford in Broome County to support the company’s natural gas exploration and production activities within the Delaware River Basin in Broome and Delaware counties in NY.
Oquaga Creek drains to the West Branch Delaware River. The public hearing will take place at the Deposit High School Auditorium, 171 Second Street, Deposit, N.Y. from 4:45 p.m. to 9 p.m. An informational meeting will be held at 3:45 p.m. Registration for those who wish to testify will begin at 3:30 p.m.
Registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis with comments limited to two minutes each. Oral testimony may be supplemented with written comments submitted at the hearing or provided to the commission on or before June 1. To date, the DRBC has received more than 8,700 comments.
The draft docket stipulates that even if the docket is issued, the company cannot withdraw any water at the site unless and until it receives separate approvals from DRBC and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) for those natural gas wells intended to receive the water.
Written comments must include “XTO Energy” in the subject line and may be submitted at the June 1 hearing; by e-mail to Paula.Schmitt@drbc.state.nj.us; by U.S. Mail to Commission Secretary, DRBC, P.O. Box 7360, West Trenton, NJ 08628-0360; or by private delivery service or hand delivery to Commission Secretary, DRBC, 25 State Police Drive, West Trenton, NJ 08628-0360. Include the name, address, and affiliation (if any) of the commenter. The draft docket can be viewed on the commission’s web site at www.drbc.net .
EPA seeks more information from drillers on wastewater disposal
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has directed six natural gas drillers to disclose how and where the companies dispose of or recycle drilling process water in Pennsylvania. EPA’s action follows a request by PADEP asking drillers to voluntarily stop taking wastewater to Pennsylvania wastewater treatment plants by May 19.
EPA wants to know where drillers are now going to dispose of their wastewater and will work with PADEP to ensure EPA has access to this information. The companies receiving the information requests are: Atlas Resources LLC; Talisman Energy USA; Range Resources – Appalachia, LLC.; Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation; SWEPI, LP and Chesapeake Energy Corporation. These six companies account for more than 50 percent of the natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania.
EPA has also requested that PADEP notify EPA when facilities are accepting hydraulic fracturing wastewater so EPA can assess if a pretreatment program or additional permit limits are needed; apply water quality standards for the protection of drinking water at the point of wastewater discharge, rather than at the point of first downstream drinking water intake; consider more “representative” sampling where drinking water facilities are downstream of treatment plants accepting Marcellus Shale gas wastewater; and be aware that Federal Underground Injection Control permits are required for any placement of hydraulic fracturing wastes in injection wells or bore holes. Visit www.epa.gov/region03/marcellus_shale/  for more information.