Water-quality proposal could affect oil and gas extraction

November 18, 2009

University Park, Pa -- Proposed changes to Pennsylvania's effluent standards regulating total dissolved solids (TDS) and related substances could affect the state's oil and gas industries and other water users.

To help citizens understand the proposed changes, Penn State Cooperative Extension has prepared a free publication, "Shaping Proposed Changes to Pennsylvania's Total Dissolved Solids Standard: A Guide to the Proposal and the Commenting Process."

"The goal of the publication is to help stakeholders better understand the proposed rule changes and make informed input about the proposal," said Charles Abdalla, professor of agricultural and environmental economics in the College of Agricultural Sciences. "The proposed rules may affect a variety of industries -- including mining and oil and gas extraction -- and citizens, including public water supply customers and users of water downstream from industrial discharges."

Designed to protect Pennsylvania's streams, rivers, lakes and public drinking water, the changes would set daily maximum effluent standards for TDS, sulfate and chloride. They also would set standards for barium and strontium in wastewaters from the oil and gas industry.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection formally proposed the regulatory changes via publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin on Nov. 7. The 90-day public comment period ends on Feb. 5, 2010. Four public hearings on the proposed changes will be held around the state in mid-December.

The new publication is available online in PDF format at http://www.nutrientwaterpolicy.aers.psu.edu. Printed copies will be available by Nov. 23. To receive a free copy, contact Abdalla at 814-865-2562 or by e-mail at CAbdalla@psu.edu.

Last Updated May 06, 2010