Low Rainfall Complicates Managing Salts in Mon This Year
The State Journal
16 July 2012
By Pam Kasey
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on Saturday that
drought-reduced Dunkard Creek, at the West Virginia-Pennsylvania
border, is being affected by high levels of salty discharges
(Dunkard Creek pollution affects Mon River quality). Dunkard
empties into the Monongahela River. High levels of salts in the
Mon River in 2008 and 2009 caused problems for industries and
drinking water systems.
One of the solutions in the past was to release water from Tygart
Lake to dilute the salts. That may not be available this year:
Tygart Lake was just closed for the season, two months early, due
to low water. The lake is losing six inches a day, the Charleston
Gazette reported last Tuesday, and is expected to be 23 feet below
its normal summer pool by Aug. 2.
That leaves management of salts in the Mon to two other solutions.
Pennsylvania asked municipal wastewater treatment systems in 2011
to stop accepting gas industry brine because their technology
doesn't remove the salts but passes them through to receiving
streams. That is already in place.
And discharge management, as referenced in the Post-Gazette story,
can withhold brines during low stream flow periods and release
them during higher flow periods.
Given that discharge management is not usually needed until
August, it remains to be seen whether it will be enough this year.