Limits on drilling waste water in Pennsylvania

    A state regulatory commission has signed off on increased water quality standards that will limit what natural gas drillers can dump into Pennsylvania’s streams.

    A state regulatory commission has signed off on increased water quality standards that will limit what natural gas drillers can dump into Pennsylvania’s streams.

    The guidelines prevent gas drillers from depositing water with more than 500 milligrams of total dissolved solids (TDS) per liter into bodies of water.

    That means the companies would have to drastically clean up fracing fluid, which typically contains between 100,000 and 300,000 milligrams of TDS, according to state officials.

    Tony Gaudis of Range Resources represented the drilling industry at the hearing.

    He says the guidelines are too stringent, pointing out a bottle of sparkling water runs afoul of the 500 milligram limit.

    Gaudis:
    It’s a bottle of water. The TDS written on the bottle of that is over 900 milligrams per liter, which would exceed the requirement of 500 milligrams per liter that’s suggested in this regulation. As well, Gatorade would be fifteen hundred.

    Gaudis says applying the standard to gas drillers, but not other industries, is unfair.

    But Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger says the law complies with federal clean water standards, and is designed to avoid water that “smells bad, tastes bad, and causes damage…to fish.”

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