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CREEKS & WATERWAYS
around gas drilling


The purpose of this webpage is to bring attention to some of the things you can be looking for while monitoring waterways around gas drilling sites for spills and contamination

Gas drilling is assisted by various drilling fluids and chemicals. Some have said the products used for the initial well drilling can be as hazardous as the chemicals used later in the hydraulic fracturing process. Citizens living next to drilling sites are encouraged to obtain the MSDS (material safety data sheet) records relating to all the chemicals being used on site. You have a right to see them since you may be exposed to those products and chemicals during the drilling or well completion process. (Your lawn care company would do no less if you asked about the chemicals they use = Right to Know)
   
Many times the spills that occur around drilling sites involve a large quantity of fluids, so large that creeks and streams are contaminated. This often results in fish kills. In a recent New York analysis, approximately half the spills related to gas drilling were due to leaky pipelines that carry flowback from the fracing process.
  

Some of the things to look for while monitoring streams around gas drilling sites for possible contamination

One of the main tests is "conductivity" in creek water, since produced water from Marcellus wells is usually saltier than ocean water. Marcellus Shale was once part of an ancient sea, hence its saltiness. Flowback and produced water from Marcellus wells is high in chlorides and conducts a charge better than unpolluted creek water. An inexpensive meter can help determine water conductivity. Increased conductivity is usually a sign of a drilling spill due to the high chloride levels.
   
Another way to monitor streams, with no equipment requirements, is scanning the water surface for oil slicks or suds. Anyone who has seen the rainbow sheen of gasoline on a rain soaked surface at the gas station knows what an oil slick looks like. But suds can vary, from looking like lemon meringue pie topping to flatter, less dramatic clumps of floating spit. Some suds do occur naturally, but these types of suds will differ if you look carefully. All suspected spills into waterways should be reported immediately to the environmental agency in your state. These agencies have emergency night and weekend phone numbers for just this purpose. You might also place a call to 911 depending on your situation.
   

 
Rainbow Colors
(not in the sky)
  
  
  
  
  
Painted Black
(not the song)
  
Signs to watch for:
Black oily deposits and dead vegetation in run-off areas
  
  
  
Heavy Suds or
Meringue Suds
  
  
 
MBAS used in drilling may be the cause
of foamy looking sud accumulations
Meringue-like suds from MBAS
  
   
  
  
  
Pipelines
that leak
  
Piping recycled wastewater from an impoundment
  
  
Efforts to protect
wetlands
  
Wetland protection measures
Blue sign in back:
WETLAND BOUNDARY
  
Wetland protections
  
  
 
Efforts to protect
streams
  
Stream buffer near gas line construction
Blue sign center right:
STREAM BUFFER
  
  
  

 
 
 

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