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WV Water Safety Bill May Be Weakened; Pritt Links Fracking and other untested contaminants
Senate Natural Resources Committee
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A hearing Friday morning in Charleston will discuss the so-called simply “chemical” spill in Room 208 at 9 a.m. on the Senate wing of the State Capitol. The topic of the hearing is the toxicology report concerning the chemicals that made their way into the Elk River, the WV American Water induction intake, and the Ohio River.
Del. Mike Mannypenny, chairman, has asked that the public turn out to let him and fellow legislators know what actions should be taken following the toxic chemicals in the drinking water.
But, the “spill’s” secrets continue leaking out. Initially, the ingredients were linked solely to coal. Now, comes a report from former candidate for governor, Charlotte Pritt, that hydrofracking forms a part of the environmental impact.
New York in 2009 placed a moratorium on hydrofracking due to public water supply threats, specifically a water soluble carcinogen, 4-Nitroquinoline-1-oxide (4-NQO), which is odorless and tasteless.
“It is known to be toxic in amounts as low as parts per trillion, and it was produced in Marcellus well flowback at thousands of times higher than safe drinking water standards. The 24 wells in the NY study were located in West Virginia and Pennsylvania,” Pritt said.
According to a 2009 Politico post, a 2005 Congress succumbed to persuasion and exempted hydraulic fracturing from the Safe Drinking Water Act. Most of the “fluids” are proprietary developed by Halliburton, one of the leading drilling service companies.
Mireya Navarro wrote in a December 30, 2009 New York Times article that the E.P.A. had stated that natural gas drilling raised issues about the “regional water supply, air quality, wastewater treatment and radioactive materials that could be disturbed during drilling,” adding that essential environmental protection measures should be implemented in NY. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/31/science/earth/31drill.html
“There is not one water treatment facility in WV testing for 4-NQO, which has no taste or smell,” Pritt wrote. And, in her words, “most of the millions of gallons of frack waste fluid produced here in WV is unaccounted for.”
Coal slurry injected into “class II” underground injection wells “poisoned” water supplies in Rawl, Lick Creek, Seth, and Spring, WV, according to the Pritt call to action
On January 2, 2014 an explosion and spill of frack waste occurred upstream from Tyler County’s seat’s primary water supply. The driller said it was “contained,” so the incident was not reported to county water treatment plant authorities. “They never closed their facility intakes,” Pritt wrote. Officially, the ruptured tank contained 1,575 gallons of unknown fluids. Black residue ran into the creek.
Flashback to 2009, a similar chemical release occurred on Buckeye Creek at a location several miles upstream of Middle Island Creek in West Union, the county seat of Doddridge county. The release ran into the drinking water intakes for West Union.
Incidentally, Sharon Kelly, an attorney and freelance writer for among others, the NY Times, on November 9, 2013 warned of a Coast Guard proposal allowing barges to haul fracking wastewater on the Ohio River.
"Three million people get their water from the Ohio River, and further downstream, millions more rely on drinking water from the Mississippi. If the Coast Guard's proposed policy is approved, barges carrying 10,000 barrels of fracking wastewater would float downstream from northern Appalachia to Ohio, Texas and Louisiana. Environmentalists say a spill could be disastrous, because the wastewater would contaminate drinking water and the complicated brew of contaminants in fracking waste, which include corrosive salts and radioactive materials, would be nearly impossible to clean up."
Obviously, legislators should be investigating fracking mixtures, as well as chemicals.