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Nature_and_Environment.109

Gasland

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{Nature_and_Environment.109.3}: Colleen Nelson {cole2u} Sat, 25 Sep 2010 23:09:39 CDT (HTML)

How it's playing out in my neck of the planet...

"http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/localnews/01-29-2010-Water- Quality-Forum"

Observer-Reporter

Friday, January 29, 2010

1/29/2010 3:32 AM

Forum on water to examine coal, gas production

The Upper Monongahela River Association will hold a water quality forum in February focusing on the impact of coal and natural gas production on water resources and the investigation into the Dunkard Creek fish kill.

The forum will be the 13th sponsored by the organization dealing with water quality issues in the Monongahela River basin.

The 12th forum, which was sponsored jointly by the association and Greene County Conservation District and focused on the September fish kill, was held Dec. 3 in Mt. Morris and drew more than 200 people.

Barry Pallay, forum program director, said one of the issues for next month's meeting again will be Dunkard Creek. State and federal agencies have been invited to attend to share with the public any new data they have obtained since the last meeting, he said.

The discussion also is expected to include an update on the status of other streams with high levels of total dissolved solids. Total dissolved solids have been considered a contributing factor to the growth of the golden algae that is believed to have killed fish and other aquatic life in Dunkard Creek.

The other focus of the forum will be to address the impacts of coal mining and the expected increase in natural gas production on the area's water resources, Pallay said.

"We want to begin examining coal and gas production and the water and waste disposal needs related to it," he said, adding that, if the watershed is going to see an increase in Marcellus gas drilling, it's important to consider what impacts it may have on water resources.

The association began sponsoring its water quality forums in October 2008 in response to reports of problems caused by high levels of total dissolved solids in the Monongahela River, Pallay said.

The forums have helped inform the public on issues surrounding water quality in the Mon River basin and brought together the various state and federal agencies involved in enforcing water quality regulations.

At next month's forum, a speaker is scheduled to attend from the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission, an organization that works to improve water quality in a large portion of the Ohio River basin.

The representative is expected to explain what his organization has done to improve water quality in the Ohio River and the lessons it has learned that could apply to the association's efforts.

"We really need to look at the watershed as an entire system," Pallay said.

This upcoming water quality forum will be held at 6 p.m. Feb. 11 at the Granville, W.Va., Volunteer Fire Department events center, about a mile west of the Star City interchange of Interstate 79.

Agencies invited to attend include the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, Greene County Department of Economic Development, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, RAIN Network, W.Va. Water Research Institute and W.Va. Geologic and Economic Survey.

In another matter, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joe Hoeffel will visit the Mt. Morris Community Center at 1 p.m. Saturday to discuss issues related to the Dunkard Creek fish kill.

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