Share This Page

New use for mine drainage

| Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The news story “Mine drainage cleanup in Western Pa. an expensive, slow process” (Jan. 20 and TribLIVE.com) detailed a long-standing problem in the state. There's an exciting new development in regulations for restoring the state's polluted streams from abandoned mine drainage (AMD): a change in liability for natural gas operators to use AMD in hydraulic fracturing.

AMD is caused by historic mining practices, which were unregulated until the 1970s.

Hydraulic fracturing requires injecting millions of gallons of water for each well into the Earth below the freshwater table. Some of the water is recycled, some is trucked in and some is from nearby water supplies with extensive environmental precautions in place.

In the past, natural gas operators opted not to use AMD for their water needs due to extensive treatment requirements dictating maintenance after they were finished using it. The newly released guidance from the state Department of Environmental Protection removes previous regulatory hurdles for natural gas operators as they incorporate a beneficial reuse of AMD.

Pennsylvania has more miles of AMD-damaged streams than any other state. Natural gas companies are ready to take blighted resources damaged in the past and turn them into cleaner, greener natural resources — benefiting the many communities affected by AMD.

Ed Reese

The writer is a vice president in the Robinson office of the Lancaster-based engineering consulting firm RETTEW Associates Inc. (rettew.com).

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.