its beginning at the confluence of the Allegheny River and
Monongahela River in Pittsburgh, the Ohio River is 981-miles long
with a river basin in 14 states. The Ohio River is the largest tributary of the
Mississippi River, and the two rivers meet in Cairo, Illinois.
Unlike the major river basins in eastern Pennsylvania (Susquehanna
River & Delaware River) the Ohio River basin lacks a true river
basin commission that regulates a full spectrum of watershed issues. The closest thing to it for the western part of
Pennsylvania is a commission known as ORSANCO, which stands
for Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission.
The commission was established
in 1948 “to control and abate pollution in the Ohio River Basin.” As
an interstate commission, ORSANCO represents the federal
government and 8 states: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, New York,
Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.
In light of all the Marcellus
Shale wastewater being dumped into the upper tributaries of the Ohio
River since 2005, it is rather alarming there is no mention of Marcellus Shale
or gas drilling wastewater disposal in the PDF files shown below
from 2010. This is in stark contrast to many of the problems
reported in the upper tributaries of the Ohio River, with trihalomethane issues and
ongoing concerns in early-2011 about bromides and radioactive
wastewater disposal in
the Monongahela River and other Ohio River
tributaries in Pennsylvania.
As the old saying goes, “Everyone is
downstream from someone.” In this case, 5 states are downstream from
Pennsylvania along the Ohio River. That should merit new concerns with
Marcellus gas drilling activity in the 21st Century.
POLLUTION CONTROL STANDARDS FOR DISCHARGES
TO THE OHIO RIVER - 2010 Revision
(No mention of Marcellus Shale or drilling wastewater disposal)
SAMPLING DATA: JANUARY - JUNE 2010
Analytical results of bimonthly samples collected from 31 locations
on the Ohio River and its tributaries. In addition to the routine
set of parameters collected bimonthly, quarterly analyses for five
metals are performed on a rotating basis among stations.