Over the past several years, I have been researching, chemically testing, attending meetings, working with other conservation groups, trying to work with the DEP, etc.
I have been able to accumulate tons of data and I have been able to begin to put a picture together of our water and air problems. In the following, I will review, update and inform you on what is being attempted to solve the current problems.
In the past, our area dealt with mining wastes in our waters. Companies came to our area for the coal and made billions of dollars on the backs of our residents. The mining was done with total disregard for the environment and future of our area. The philosophy was to rape the coal fields, make money and leave. This was done without any consideration to the people, water, air and wildlife. Even today, we are still paying for the greed by companies.
Dunkard Creek still suffers from the legacy of mining. You may not realize this, but each of one of us is being affected by the past. We all drink the water that is receiving the pollution from these past actions. The concept back then was you have a job so shut up or get fired. The job card was being played. With the control by industry, the water, air and human safety was sacrificed. I can go on and point out many incidents, but I will go to our current issues.
Today, what is really different? After several years of dealing with water issues, I can say almost nothing. We are still being fed the job card. The fossil fuel industry has entered our area again and here we go again. After much research, I am convinced that flowback frack water has been dumped in our abandoned mines. The levels of bromides, sodium, salt, strontium, radium, etc., have increased since drilling has begun. I would be willing to bet that many of you over the past years have seen trucks with hoses in our streams. Even worse, the industry and waste water treatment plants were given permission to discharge drilling waste into our streams. There was no way this side of the devil’s domain that these water plants can treat this water. So, the flow water was dumped into our drinking water supply. The long-range effects remain to be seen. When the DEP is contacted about the current situation, which is backed by their own data, they do absolutely nothing. It is not the field people. Most of the field people are trying to do their job. Many of them have expressed their frustration with the higher administration on their failure to address certain situations. The men and women in the field are trying. They know that they, too, drink the water and breathe the air.
We also know we are being overrun with truck traffic. I have witnessed trucks going through red lights, being in large convoys and speeding. I have also noticed water being dumped on our roads from these trucks. Where are the enforcement agencies? It is just a repeat of the industries’ past practice. We know what happened after the coal industry left the area. I am afraid the same thing will happen after the drilling is done. The mine water is already contaminated. One comment for the truck drivers; When the industry leaves, will you have the medical benefits? Or, will you be treated the same as the pre-union coal miners? You may say you need the job. I agree whole heartily about the need for jobs, but consideration for your long-range health needs to be addressed. Safety should always be the priority. Do you really know the dangers in what you are hauling? You may not care, but you should be made aware of the dangers.
Tomorrow, well, there is a definite need to adjust the drinking standards to address the current chemicals that are entering our drinking water supplies. We must address these new chemicals. For example, you are now aware that there is no standard for bromides. How these bromides affect human health is unknown. There must be new standards for the introduction of these new chemicals. This week, I will be attending meetings that will be informative on the Beaver County Petro-chemical plant and what effects such plants are having on the environment. I will relay the information and data on these plants in future articles.
As always believe in the higher power for help.