WVWRI Releases Agenda For Upcoming 2018 WV State Water Conference

Written by Sarah Stone on . Posted in Uncategorized

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

 WEST VIRGINIA WATER RESEARCH INSTITUTE RELEASES AGENDA FOR THE 2018 WEST VIRGINIA STATE WATER CONFERENCE

 

            MORGANTOWN, W.VA. – West Virginia Water Research Institute (WVWRI) released the 2018 West Virginia State Water Conference agenda on August 20, 2018 detailing the two-day event.

The event, held September 27-28, 2018, features plenary sessions, breakout sessions with local experts, networking, as well as a reception featuring a student poster session at the WVU Wise Library.

On Thursday, September 27 the Conference will feature state water policy updates, a panel presentation on cutting edge water research in West Virginia, as well as breakout sessions featuring local experts.

The final day of the Conference boasts a session detailing the aging water infrastructure in the state, a break out session, and the final panel session discussing West Virginia pipelines.

Some speakers slated to discuss relevant topics include: Douglas B. Chambers (U.S. Geological Survey), Jocelyn Mackay (National Energy Technology Laboratory), Mindy Armstead (Marshall University), and many more.

The Conference provides opportunities for researchers, policy makers, state and federal agencies, private organizations, environmental consultants and the public to become educated on water research happening in the state and share the latest information and technologies.

For more information on the 2018 West Virginia Water Conference and how to register, visit http://westvirginiawc.org or contact Megan Kruger at mkruger@mail.wvu.edu

WRI Rare Earth Project in the News

Written by mkruger on . Posted in Media, News, Uncategorized

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Associated Press story about WVU’s new Rare Earth Extraction Facility was picked up by U.S. News & World Report, The Miami Dispatch, The Belleville News-Democrat, The Centre Daily Times, The Modesto Bee and The Clay Center Dispatch.

CONTACT: Paul Ziemkiewicz, West Virginia Water Research Institute
304.293.6958, paul.ziemkiewicz@mail.wvu.edu

WVU Researchers Unveil Ways to Reduce Environmental, Health Risks Associated with Shale Gas Extraction

Written by Andrew Stacy on . Posted in News, Uncategorized

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

A new study by researchers at West Virginia University offers 10 recommendations for reducing the environmental and human health effects associated with horizontal drilling and the hydraulic fracturing process.

The recommendations address air, noise and light pollution; water management; and engineering flaws associated with horizontal gas well development and completion.

The study, titled Practical measures for reducing the risk of environmental contamination in shale energy production, is co-authored by Paul Ziemkiewicz, director of the West Virginia Water Research Institute John Quaranta, assistant professor of environmental engineering at the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources and Michael McCawley, interim chair of the Department of Occupational and Environmental Health Sciences at the School of Public Health.

Gas extraction from shale gas formations has been made possible by recent advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technology. In the eastern United States, the Marcellus Formation gas play is one of the nation’s major natural gas reserves and in West Virginia alone, nearly 3,000 horizontal wells have been developed since 2008.

While rapid adoption of these methods has led to a surge in natural gas production in the United States, it has also increased public concern about its environmental and human health effects.

“These facilities are often located within a few hundred meters of homes and farms, many of which are supplied by shallow water wells,” explains Ziemkiewicz. “As a result, many of the public’s concerns focus on air and groundwater pollution as well as light and noise associated with horizontal drilling and well completion. This study was initiated largely due to these public concerns.”

Ziemkiewicz, along with the other researchers, conducted a thorough review of environmental literature relevant to shale gas development and examined over 15 Marcellus shale facilities in northern West Virginia. The researchers provide the following recommendations as a result of their study:

• On-site containment – Well sites should have properly constructed containment structures in the event of a well blowout or massive fluid leak.

• Blowout preventers – All wells should include blowout preventers to bring any uncontrolled fluid release under control quickly.

• Wellbore integrity – All wells should be pressure tested before hydraulic fluid injection.

• Waste transportation plans –The planned disposal of liquid and solid waste should be a required and enforceable component of the well’s permit.

• Solid waste characterization – Additional studies on the solid wastes from hydraulic fracturing are needed in order to identify inorganic, organic and radioactive contaminants.

• Pits and impoundments – Better training is needed for regulatory and industry field inspectors to significantly improve the design and construction of storage pits and impoundments for liquid waste.

• Air monitors and sound meters – Installation of air monitors and sound meters at sensitive locations and connect to a central monitoring station.

• Noise reduction – Route traffic away from residences (where possible), use better wetting agents to reduce peak dust exposures, and stage traffic to reduce both diesel exhaust concentrations and noise.

• Characterization of the source of airborne contaminants – Further research is needed to identify the source of airborne contaminants found at horizontal drilling operations in order to effectively manage emissions.

• Performance based standards – Require placement of continuous monitoring instruments near sensitive locations for feedback and process control at drill sites for air, light and noise.

While the study identified several problem areas that need to be addressed, Quaranta is quick to point out that the industry and regulatory agencies are already incorporating some of their recommendations.

“We’re seeing more inspection guidelines, more training opportunities for regulatory personnel and industry field inspectors, and better emergency management protocols are being put in place,” said Quaranta. “Our recommendations are already having an impact.”

The study was also recently accepted for publication in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Journal of Environmental Science: Processes and Impacts. The study is currently available online and will be included as part of the journal’s special collection on the topic of hydraulic fracturing for the upcoming July issue. Located in the United Kingdom, the Royal Society of Chemistry is the United Kingdom’s professional body for chemistry and the world’s leading chemistry community.

“Hydraulic fracturing is either currently being used or planned for use around the United States and in a number of other countries to increase the production of natural gas,” explains McCawley. “We wanted to share our findings with not only the people of West Virginia, but also within a broader community of scientists through this current publication with hopes that there will be further discussion of the ideas we present as well as possible suggestions for alternative strategies.”

In 2012, WVU introduced its “Mountains of Excellence” for strategic investment in research areas where potential for growth and substantial return on investment makes sense. One of the initial areas of focus is utilizing shale gas responsibly.

To read the study in its entirety and to see the full list of recommendations, visit http://rsc.li/1lD1dIR.

The West Virginia Water Research Institute has been in existence since 1967 and has served as a statewide vehicle for performing research related to water issues. The Institute is the premier water research center in West Virginia and, within selected fields, an international leader.

-WVU-

gw/06/26/14

CONTACT: Glenn Waldron, WV Water Research Institute

304.293.7085, Glenn.Waldron@mail.wvu.edu

– See more at: http://wvutoday.wvu.edu/n/2014/06/26/wvu-researchers-offer-recommendations-for-reducing-environmental-and-human-health-risks-associated-with-shale-gas-extraction#sthash.o8r2l2yP.dpuf

Fracking Waste Disposal Still A Question

Written by Glynis Board and Ashton Marra on . Posted in Media, Uncategorized

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The House and Senate have spent weeks working on House Bill 4411 dealing with the disposal of hydraulic fracturing drill cuttings in land fills. Earlier in the session, the House of Delegates held a public hearing on the issue. But members could not agree on the terms of the bill and late Saturday evening it ended up in a conference committee.

The conference agreement came down to this: landfills who want to accept drill cuttings from fracking sites must apply for permits from the Department of Environmental Protection and the Public Service Commission. So far, seven are in the process of doing so. Those seven would be the only landfills allowed to apply for the permits for two years. They must put radon detectors at their front gates to test trucks, cannot mix the drill cuttings with municipal waste and must charge a $1 fee per ton they accept. The first $750 thousand collected will go toward a study on the waste due to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance next year.

That agreement, however, did not make it to the clerks’ desks in time to be put to a vote and the bill died, leaving no legislative restrictions on these cuttings and their disposal.