Cumberland Times-News

Local News

March 15, 2013

WVU study: Gas drilling pits are potential hazards

Report was first of three due to lawmakers

CHARLESTON (AP) — West Virginia University researchers say improper construction, soil erosion and seepage are among the problems the state must address with waste pits used by the natural gas drilling industry.

The report they produced for legislators says that while engineers found no imminent threat of impoundment failures, “the problems identified do constitute a real hazard and present risk if allowed to progress.”

The Charleston Gazette says the report, summarized for lawmakers in Charleston on Friday, also found fault with how the state Department of Environmental Protection’s poorly trained inspectors have handled the impoundments.

“Consequently, the inspectors only targeted the readily apparent problems such as slips and slides,” the report said, “while not recognizing, or fully understanding, the smaller problem indicators.”

But DEP officials say they’ve since provided more training for inspectors on proper design, construction and maintenance. That training will be ongoing, the agency said.

The DEP study was required by law to be completed by Jan. 1, but DEP Secretary Randy Huffman delayed its delivery to the Legislature until this week to remove unsolicited recommendations.

Huffman said in late January the researchers went beyond the scope of their mission.

West Virginia’s Horizontal Well Act of 2011 directed DEP to study the safety of pits and impoundments, “including an evaluation of whether testing and special regulatory provision is needed for radioactivity or other toxins held in the pits.”

A second mandated study will focus on noise, light and dust from drilling sites. A third, on air pollution, is due July 1.

Text Only
Local News
Must Read
News related video
Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve 3 People Killed, Deputies Wounded in NC Shootout Suing Obama: GOP-led House Gives the Go-ahead Obama: 'Blood of Africa Runs Through My Veins' Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Air Force: Stowaway Triggers Security Review Minnesota Fire Engulfs Home, Two Garages Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Officials Unsure of UCLA Flood Repair Date At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey