The title “AND” may seem strange, but as you read through the context of this article, you will understand why “AND” was chosen as the topic.
I feel it is time to update the public on “what” is currently happening with our water and “what” is being done to correct any problems that have been identified.
Also, I feel the public should know “who” is responsible for the current problems and “who” is responsible to correct the problems that now exists in our waterways.
I will first identify the problem areas and second describe what is being done to correct the problems.
In Ten Mile Creek there has been a steady rise in several chemical markers that indicate a major problem is developing in the waterway.
The electronic conductivity (EC) has been steadily rising since May 6, 2012, until its current reading of 1960 µs at Chartiers, and a current high of 3170 µs at the bridge over Ten Mile near the Greene County Fairgrounds.
Along with this reading, the total dissolved solids (TDS) has been increasing from May 6 to a current reading of 973 mg/l at Chartiers and 1580 mg/l at the bridge over Ten Mile near the Greene County Fairgrounds.
The recommended standard for EC is less than 1000 µs and a TDS of less than 500 mg/l. As you can see, the readings are much higher than recommended levels.
Both the California Department of Mining and the EPA were notified of this problem.
AND...Governor Tom Corbett and Michael Krancer of the PA DEP were also notified.
AND...In the past, all the aforementioned data have been updated on a regular interval of the situation.
AND...Along with this information, Scott Perry of the DEP gas and oil division was notified of the developing problems.
AND...In December 2011, Alpha Resources was notified of the problem and a face-to-face meeting took place. Certified scientific data was presented on the problem.
AND...Rick Lorson of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission was called about the situation.
AND...Local and state political officials were notified and updated about the problem.
One might question, “Where are the sources of the problems?” In order to determine this, a signature element was used. This element was the “Bromide ion.”
The reason bromide was chosen is that the ion does not normally appear in our local waterways, but lately it is being found everywhere.
The appearance of this ion (charged atom) has been quite puzzling.
Under normal circumstances, this ion is not found in any mine discharges, but it has been recently traced to four discharges at rather high levels.
The Emerald Mine Bleeder 5 discharges has shown bromide levels of over 11,000 ppb, the Cumberland Mine 029 has shown levels of over 4,000 ppb, the Emerald Mine discharge 001 has shown levels of near 4,000 ppb, and just recently Consol discharge at Flaggy Meadow Bottom in West Virginia has exceeded 10,000 ppb.
This element is not usually found in mining discharges, but it is a signature of Marcellus drilling wastes water.
It is a rather good indicator as to origin of certain water discharges.
This bromide ion was used to track the origin of the problems in Ten Mile Creek and Whiteley Creek. I am confident to state that the problems with EC and TDS in these two streams are coming from mining discharges.
Now, how these bromides are getting into mine water discharges is still an unanswered question.
One might ask, “What is the significance of these high readings of EC and TDS along with high bromides levels?”
It is simple: high EC and TDS indicate some type of pollution in the water and bromide is the main culprit in the development of trihalomethane (THM).
THM is what is causing the problems with the water treatment plants.
Remember that water plants are only allowed a THM level of 80 ppb in drinking water and in every THM molecule there are three bromide ions.
If you divide the mentioned bromide levels from these discharges by 3, it will give you the approximate number of THM molecules that can be produced in a ppb in our drinking water.
For example, if we take the reading at Emerald Bleeder 5, which is 11,000 ppb roughly and divide by 3 it will be approximately 3666 ppb molecules of THM. This is well over the 80 ppb standard.
These high bromide levels do pose an immediate danger to drinking water, and the water authority can not remove these molecules cost effectively.
As usual, we are trying to find a “fix” to the water problems in our drinking water when the solution is simple. Stop the bromides from entering our drinking water at the source.
Do not expect the consumer to pay for the treatment when the source has been identified.
All of the above mentioned regulatory agencies are aware of the problem and the source of the problem...AND?
As you can see, the term “AND” is appropriate for this article, and as always, put your problems in God’s hands and they will not seem so big.