Letter to the Editor: Holding ponds risk pollution
March 10, 2014 10:50 AM

By now it should be general knowledge that there are significant differences between shallow, conventional gas well drilling and the still fairly new Marcellus shale gas exploitation. One of those differences is the problem of the large quantity and low quality of flowback fluid associated only with the much deeper shale gas operations.

This flowback has picked up naturally occurring subterranean toxic elements and is also laced with various manmade chemical -ides and -enes that get added during the hydrofracturing injection stage. Since these compounds have a tendency to aerosolize, the current use of open-air holding ponds should be abandoned and replaced by closed vessels that can isolate the contaminated fluid from the earth and air until it can be recycled for new well drillings or sent to treatment facilities.

Those who wish to have this source of air pollution eliminated can urge the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to ban open-air waste pits by sending emails to RegComments@pa.gov, under the subject “Proposed Regulations for Oil and Gas Surface Activities.” Your concerns can also be registered by adding your name to a petition found at action@pennenvironment.org.

Tom Miller

Indiana

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