Radioactive Pollution in Allegheny River Not from Fracking, DEP
and Treatment Plant Say
29 October 2013
By David Conti, Staff Reporter
David Conti 412-388-5802
Regulators are working on an environmental agreement with a Warren
County water treatment plant targeted by a federal lawsuit and
accusations it is polluting the Allegheny River, the state
Department of Environmental Protection said on Tuesday.
Testing found radiation in the water 150 miles upstream of
Pittsburgh. Waste Treatment Corp. in Warren said it is trying to
find the source and contends it is not coming from fracking waste.
“We have to do something different,” said Michael Arnold, vice
president of operations at the company. “We're trying to work in
the same direction.”
The environmental group Clean Water Action this week sued Waste
Treatment in federal court, accusing the company of dumping
illegal amounts of wastewater from oil and gas drilling into the
river near Allegheny National Forest.
Arnold and DEP spokesman Gary Clark said the company is not
discharging wastewater from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the
process used to get gas from Marcellus shale. The company sends
that water to a nearby injection well.
The DEP has said conventional drilling and fracking can produce
wastewater containing radioactive pollutants. Waste Treatment said
it stopped treating and discharging fracking wastewater in 2011.
The DEP in September issued a violation notice against Waste
Treatment based on biological studies last year that show it
“failed to control discharge to protect aquatic life in the
Allegheny River.” The agency then filed a notice in Commonwealth
Court indicating it intended to sue Waste Treatment.
Clean Water Action said it worried DEP was not doing enough to
stop Waste Treatment from polluting the river while the agency
reviewed a new discharge permit application.
Clark said the agency is working with the company to write a
consent decree that would stop the violations. The DEP will
publicize the decree before submitting it to Commonwealth Court
for approval, he said.
David Conti is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be
reached at 412-388-5802 or email@example.com.