UPDATE: DEP Continues Investigation Into Source of High Mineral Levels in Monongahela River

23 October 2008
HARRISBURG, Pa., PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ --Reduction in Drilling Wastewater Treatments, Lake Water Releases Expected to Affect Mineral Concentration within Days

Water being released from Tygart Lake and Stonewall Jackson Lake could help partially dilute high concentrations of minerals in the Monongahela River, according to the Department of Environmental Protection.

Acting DEP Secretary John Hanger said it should take several days for the released water to enter the affected areas of the river. The department will monitor the effect of the dilution to determine the duration and volume of the supplemental discharges.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers coordinated the releases at the request of DEP; Hanger thanked the Corps for its quick response and cooperation.

Hanger yesterday directed sewer treatment plants that discharge into the river to cut the amount of wastewater from oil and gas drilling operations they accept to 1 percent of their daily flow.

The department acted in response to high levels of total dissolved solids, or TDS, which is a measure of all elements dissolved in water and can include carbonates, chlorides, sulfates, nitrates, sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium. These elements can affect the taste and odor of water, but are not considered a serious human health risk.

DEP is continuing to test water from the river and treatment plans; complete results are expected tomorrow.

CONTACT: Teresa Candori (717) 783-9952