Barging of Wastewater Must be Evaluated

Morgantown Dominion Post
13 February 2013

The Upper Monongahela River Association supports the barging of industrial water and wastewater, particularly in support of oil and gas fracking, providing this is done under proper regulation. There are many potential benefits from this, including:
Wastewater is an aqueous solution of chemicals, and there are good models for proper regulation of wastewater transport in regulations for the shipment of other chemicals.

Proper regulation involves placing conditions on both the barges themselves and on loading and unloading of barges.

Tank barges must be used. They must have tanks separate from the hulls of the barges to prevent leakage from corrosion, collisions and groundings. For stability, they must create separate compartments, and they must be covered and closed for spill prevention.

Loading and unloading must take place at properly constructed and inspected terminals. These may be modest in design, but they must have all-weather access roads, secure parking, properly and securely installed piping and hoses, and secure barge moorings.

All traffic on our rivers is classified as interstate commerce, and the US Coast Guard regulates barges, terminals, inspections, and so forth. State regulation would be limited to limited aspects of the land side of terminal operation.

Of course we believe that the companies must do this in compliance with local, state and federal regulations for all aspects including siting, and that they strive to use best practices and processes. This includes public safety and health and worker safety and health; and best practices for fugitive emissions.

Properly done, barging of frackwater has benefits for the public, industry and our roads, rivers, and environment.

Wallace Venable
Upper Monongahela River Association Morgantown