DEP Chief: Article on gas drilling wastewater misleading

NORWICH – The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection called a syndicated news article that was widely published last week on the disposal of wastewater from natural gas drilling “misleading.”

The Associated Press article, “Pennsylvania allows dumping of tainted waters from gas boom” appeared in The Evening Sun Jan. 4.

The story said chemically treated water used in hydrofracturing “is only partially treated for substances that could be environmentally harmful, then dumped into rivers and streams from which communities get their drinking water.”

The state “tightened the rules this year for any new water treatment plants but allowed any existing operations to continue discharging water into rivers,” the article said.

The new rules enacted Aug. 1 are more comprehensive than the story implies, according to Pennsylvania Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger, who responded to the AP story after it began appearing last Monday.

“Even existing operations may not allow total dissolved solids in rivers and streams to rise above 500 parts per million, which is the same standard as drinking water,” he said.

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