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WVWRI to co-host regional water conference; announces Call for Abstracts

Written by Andrew Stacy on . Posted in Blog, Events, News

The West Virginia Water Research Institute at West Virginia University is accepting abstracts through March 27 for the 2017 Mid-Atlantic Water Resources Conference.

The event will be held October 12-13, 2017 at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, W.Va. “Water Research: Building Knowledge and Innovative Solutions” is the theme for this regional conference.

Researchers from colleges and universities, state and federal agencies, private organizations, consulting firms, industry and students are invited to submit abstracts for consideration for oral and poster presentations.

Abstracts for basic and applied research papers are being solicited in all areas related to water resources including infrastructure, energy, monitoring, policy, supply, technology, water quality and others.

The conference combines exceptional educational programs with opportunities for researchers, policy makers, state and federal agencies, environmental consultants, private organizations and the public to share in the latest information, technologies and research relating to water resources in the Mid-Atlantic.

“Water science, unlike many fields, involves a wide range of disciplines including law, engineering, social sciences, policy, economics, chemistry and biology,” said Paul Ziemkiewicz, director of the West Virginia Water Research Institute.

“This conference is a great opportunity to bring practitioners together to build the knowledge base needed to effectively manage our most precious resource.”

The event is being hosted by the West Virginia Water Research Institute, University of Delaware Water Resources Center, Pennsylvania Center for Water Resources Research at Pennsylvania State University, and the Virginia Water Resources Research Center at Virginia Tech.

For more information about the 2017 Mid-Atlantic Water Resources Conference, including abstract submission details, please visit www.midatlanticwrc.org.

WVWRI Welcomes New Environmental Technician

Written by Andrew Stacy on . Posted in Blog, News

DSCN6686MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia Water Research Institute (WVWRI) is pleased to announce that Aaron Beam has joined its team as its new Environmental Technician. The WVWRI is a program of the National Research Center for Coal and Energy at West Virginia University. Beam, a West Virginia native, earned his undergraduate degrees in Mining Engineering and Geology from West Virginia University.

“I am looking forward to spending time in the field and working with a team of talented and friendly individuals,” said Beam. “It also excites me to be working with a program that is helping with improving water quality in the state.”

In his new role, Beam will be conducting field sampling on a variety of WVWRI projects and assisting in the preparation of associated data, reports, and presentations.

While pursuing his undergraduate degrees, he gained a variety of job experience ranging from mountain bike guide to working in an underground coal mine.

Aaron grew up in central West Virginia in the town of Summersville. There, he learned to love bluegrass music, ramps, and morel mushrooms while developing the hobbies of trail running and trout fishing.

Beam is excited to get to work doing something that is important to him and that he enjoys.

“We are very lucky to have Aaron join our team,” said Melissa O’Neal, program manager for the WVWRI. “His education and can do attitude will be of great value to our staff and will provide us with more opportunity for collaboration with state and private entities.”

Research at WVU Concludes Waste From Test Fracking Wells Safe to be on Highways

Written by Andrew Stacy on . Posted in Blog, News, Press Release

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Researchers at West Virginia University studied drilling wastes produced at two research wells near Morgantown and found they are well below federal guidelines for radioactive or hazardous waste.

Paul Ziemkiewicz, director of the West Virginia Water Research Institute at WVU, will present these and other findings from the Marcellus Shale Energy and Environmental Laboratory, or MSEEL, today at the Appalachian Basin Technology Workshop in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Ziemkiewicz and his research team are studying the solid and liquid drilling wastes that are generated during shale gas development. These include drill cuttings, muds and produced water.

Drilling a horizontal well in the Marcellus Shale produces about 500 tons of rock fragments, known as cuttings. WVU researchers have been studying the radioactivity and toxicity of the drill cuttings, which are trucked on public roads to county landfills.

MSEEL scientists found that using the “green” drilling mud BioBase 365 at the well site resulted in all 12 cuttings samples passing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s test for leaching toxicity, allowing them to be classified as non-hazardous for non-radiological parameters like benzene and arsenic.

They determined that the drilling mud exerted a strong influence over the environmental risks associated with handling and disposing of drill cuttings.

Ziemkiewicz discussed the findings in the context of the West Virginia, Pennsylvania and federal standards for transportation and landfilling. For example, the U.S. Department of Transportation classifies solid wastes exceeding 2,000 pico curies per gram (pCi/g) as low level radioactive waste requiring special permitting and handling.

“Radium is the dominant radioactive element in drilling wastes. In our study, the highest radium readings were below 10.8 pCi/g in the horizontal legs of the two production wells at the MSEEL site. Most were below 5 pCi/g,” says Ziemkiewicz. “The highest radium level in produced water found so far was 17 pCi/g. All of these are well below the U.S. Department of Transportation standard.”

Placing these materials in landfills, however, requires compliance with state landfilling regulations, which are based on exposure levels.

Ziemkiewicz’s team has also sampled the waste streams at the two production wells to identify changes in organic, inorganic and radiochemical composition over time. Among these findings, Ziemkiewicz noted that almost all contaminants increase through the production phase of an unconventional gas well while the volume of water drops rapidly. Toxic concentrations far exceed permissible levels for drinking water or discharge to streams. Most of this water is used for subsequent hydraulic fracturing operations. The remainder is disposed of under the states’ underground injection well programs.

When the production wells were completed in early December 2015, about 50 gallons of produced water came out of the wells each minute. Within a week that dropped to four gallons per minute, and it is currently one third of a gallon per minute or 460 gallons per day.

The MSEEL project is led by West Virginia University and the Ohio State University in partnership with Northeast Natural Energy, Schlumberger and the National Energy Technology Laboratory of the United States Department of Energy. It is the first-ever long-term, comprehensive field study of shale gas resources in which scientists will study the process from beginning-to-end.

The project site consists of an intensively instrumented science well and two shale gas production wells where researchers from WVU, Ohio State, the U.S. Geological Survey, USDOE and several other universities are studying what happens during and after hydraulic fracturing. The five-year MSEEL project includes engineers, ecologists, public health professionals, social scientists and more. The comprehensive studies include monitoring of baseline air, noise, light and water, as well as collecting of geological, environmental and other data.

“This has not been done in a publicly funded study before,” said Ziemkiewicz.

-WVU-

CONTACT: Paul Ziemkiewicz; West Virginia Water Research Institute
304.293.6958; Paul.Ziemkiewicz@mail.wvu.edu

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Early bird registration is open for the 2016 #WVBrownfields Conference

Written by Andrew Stacy on . Posted in Blog, Events, News

Register by August 5 to receive the early bird rate!

Conference Logo Website

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Early bird registration is now open for the 2016 #WVBrownfields Conference. The event, hosted by the West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Centers, will be held Sept. 7-8 at the Marriott Town Center in Charleston.

“Reclaim. Restore. Revitalize.” is the theme for this year’s conference, which will feature sessions covering all aspects of brownfields redevelopment, including project financing and deal structuring, downtown redevelopment, community engagement, specialty training on remediation, networking receptions, and the inaugural Central Appalachian Regional Brownfields Summit on Sept. 8.

“We are very excited for this year’s conference and we are particularly excited about partnering with other Central Appalachian states, agencies and service providers to host the Central Appalachian Regional Brownfields Summit,” said Patrick Kirby, director of the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center at West Virginia University.

“Part of figuring out the redevelopment puzzle is collaboration and learning from others. We feel that the West Virginia Brownfields Conference is the perfect forum for that regional collaboration and the Summit will be something that is beneficial to both West Virginia and the Central Appalachian Region.”

The 2016 #WVBrownfields Conference will kick off with three pre-conference workshops on the afternoon of Sept. 6, followed by a Networking Welcome Reception. The first full day of the Conference, Sept. 7, will feature programming and sessions related to brownfield redevelopment in West Virginia, followed that evening by a Regional Networking Reception. The second day, Sept. 8, will feature sessions covering regional brownfields topics impacting Central Appalachia.

This premier redevelopment event attracts over 200 stakeholders including regional EPA officials, economic development professionals, real estate developers, lawyers, state and local officials, environmental professionals, entrepreneurs, planners, bankers, investors, and community redevelopment professionals.

For more information, to register, and to consider becoming a sponsor or exhibitor for the 2016 #WVBrownfields Conference, visit www.wvbrownfields.org/2016-conference/.

-WVU-

as/5/18/16

CONTACT: Andrew Stacy, West Virginia Water Research Institute
304.293.7085, astacy@mail.wvu.edu