REV 2, 1 Jan 09.

Minutes by Don Strimbeck.

If you have corrections or additions to minutes, please submit them to Don Strimbeck at dcsoinks@comcast.net , 304-599-7585.

Next meeting will be 9AM Friday 9 January 2009 at MORGANTOWN AIRPORT (same location as Nov & Dec 08 meetings).

The main thrust of this meeting will be to continue the discussions on Mon river water quality, begun at our November and December meetings. We hope to have high-level officials from WVDEP and PADEP so that we can pursue state actions and planning for coping with the environmental effects of expanded drilling in the Marcellus shale.

We also have to get cracking on Mon River Summit IV, Monday 13 April 2009 at the Waterfront Place Hotel.

We normally meet second Friday of the month, 9AM, at Morgantown Area Chamber of Commerce.

(1) Don Strimbeck, secretary UMRA & vice-chair MRR&CC.
(2) Barry Pallay, VP UMRA & chair MRR&CC.
(3) Wally Venable, Chief Technical Officer UMRA.
(4) Tom Bartlett, Mayor of Grafton & UMRA board.
(5) Ralph LaRue, BOPARC City of Morgantown.
(6) Jerod Harman, WV BASS Federation Nation.
(7) Dave Milne, DNR Commissioner.
(8) Leroy Stanley, Save the Tygart Watershed Association.
(9) Paul Baker.
(10) Bill Goodwin, Clarksburg Sanitary Board.
(11) Richard Little.
(12) Duane Nichols, Cheat Lake Environment & Recreation.
(13) Martin Christ, Downstream Strategies & Friends of Deckers Creek.
(14) Rose Reilly, US Army Corps of Engineers.
(15) Werner Loehlein, US Army Corps of Engineers.
(16) Lee Avary, WV Geological & Economic Survey.
(17) Richard Collier, Save the Tygart Watershed Association.
(18) Paul Ziemkiewicz, Director, WV Water Research Institute, WVU.
(19) Dave Bruffy, General Manager, Mountain Line.
(20) Charlie Bryer, Morgantown City Council.
(21) Patrick Kirby, Northern WV Brownfields Assistance Center, WVU.
(22) Tim Ball, Morgantown Utility Board.
(23) Pam Kasey, THE STATE JOURNAL.
(24) John Fullmer.
(25) Barry Webb, Granville & across-street neighbor of Strimbeck.
(26) Ed Hawkins.
(27) Don Spencer, Morgantown City Council.
(28) Bob Hammel, Manager, Morgantown Airport.
(29) John Duarte, Mon Rowing Association.
(30) Frank Jernejcic, WVDNR.
(31) Reporter from WBOY Ch 12 TV.

Many folks did not sign-in, so we are missing their attendance. If attendees can help here re who is missing on this list, please let me know.

Minutes of 14 Nov 08 meeting were approved.


A most important accomplishment following our 14 November meeting, was developed by Barry Pallay, Paul Ziemkiewicz, and Frank Jernejcic. The upshot is that Paul has obtained funding for his WV Water Research Institute to establish an Upper Mon (Fairmont WV to Fredericktown PA) water monitoring program, which will include color-coded information on river status for fishing. Funding for this project begins in April 2009. All of this information will be on the Water Research Institute website. Frank Jernejcic stated he has never ever seen a project move as fast as has this one, in Frank’s 40+ years as a fisheries biologist!! We will have more details for you on this project in coming months. BUT!! This project will help guard against problems with Mon river water quality.

Most of the meeting was devoted to the Mon river October 2008 TDS incident on the river north of the PA-WV border, and the Marcellus shale gas well drilling brine that apparently caused this event.

CAVEAT!! The Mon River Recreation & Commerce Committee, Morgantown Area Chamber of Commerce, and, the Upper Monongahela River Association, do not oppose energy development endeavors, such as gas wells in the Marcellus shale. We just ask for responsible development. Both groups are, however, concerned with Mon river water quality. And, thus, how such industry developments affect use of Mon river water for recreation, public water supply, and, industrial use of Mon water!

While the water from the Mon in PA from public drinking water treatment plants was safe to drink, there was a problem with taste and odor due to high Total Dissolved Solids in the water. This is because many public sewage treatment plants in PA were accepting Marcellus brine for treatment. Without getting technical, the problem is the salts in the Marcellus brine go straight through the sewage plant, sorta like the old joke about salts going through Uncle Dudley! Well, sewage plants dump effluent into the Mon. Then, downstream, public water drinking plants draw from the Mon! Go figger!!

Much information on this situation, including brine treatment technology, legislation and regulation, etc, has been posted by webmaster Wally Venable on UpperMon.org. Therefore, since this great amount of information is available on our UMRA website, I will not in these minutes repeat information presented at our 12 December meeting, that is on our website.

We currently do not have a water quality problem for the Mon in WV. But, given the pending increase in drilling in the Marcellus shale in WV, we are concerned as to whether WV government has the capability of coping with this pending situation.

Everyone understands drinking water quality. Even if they are overwhelmed by all the technical details concerning why their drinking water is safe but yucky!!

Think of what would happen if Morgantown’s drinking water tastes bad and stinks! And, WVU students tell mom and dad they have to drink bottled water!!

We will bring these concerns to the attention of WV executive and legislative officials. A letter for this purpose is being drafted. The MRR&CC committee agreed that committee chair Barry Pallay working with other key committee members could prepare and send the letter. The letter will build upon the email Barry sent to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on State Water Resources. That email is pasted below:

Date: December 5, 2008

From: Barry Pallay, Chemical Engineer
Vice President, Upper Monongahela River Association (UMRA) (uppermon.org)
Chair, Mon River Recreation and Commerce Committee (monriversummit.org)
To: Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on State Water Resources

Notes from : Forum on Monongahela River Water Quality held November 14, 2008 in Morgantown WV.

1 Data on Monongahela River Water Quality in West Virginia and Pennsylvania was reviewed. Record high concentrations of total dissolved solids (TDS) (the sodium and chloride components) at some locations likely originate in large part from brine from Marcellus Gas Well Drilling (frac water).

1 It is recognized there is a need for Natural Gas Well Drilling. There is widespread concern that drilling be done in a responsible way.

2 To realize win/wins regarding Marcellus Gas Well Drilling the following suggestions are made:

3 Establish clear guidelines/rules/regulations/processes

4 Increase the number of inspectors, site visits etc. significantly

5 Increase permit application reporting requirements including identifying the quantity of water needed, where the water will be obtained, how much waste including water will be generated, what the waste water concentrations are, how will it be disposed of, what will be done regarding site remediation and erosion control.

6 Require permits for water withdrawals and waste water disposal (if not already being done).

7 As appropriate, have the relevant state agencies make the above information as well as sampling data available to the public in a timely manner.

NOTE! Letters sent on behalf of MRR&CC and UMRA on 19 December 2009 to WVDEP Secretary Huffman and Governor Manchin, are on UMRA website and also in handout for 9 January 2009 meeting.

WELL! I started out right after 12 December 2008 meeting, to write minutes!! Did not get back to finishing minutes, until today 1 January 2009!! Procrastination! Getting letter done to WVDEP Secretary & Gov Manchin, with Barry and un-named folks! Grinchmas season!


Paul Ziemkiewicz discussed information received from Charlie Huguenard, General Manager Longview, re Braddock PA USGS monitoring station re Mon river flow and TDS. (Wally Venable will post on website). Charlie also provided chart showing we were in emergency drought conditions in October and November. This information also is in handout for 9 January 2009 meeting.

Barry Pallay discussed news article provided by Duane Nichols re October 2008 TDS problem in Mon in PA. This article along with many others has been put on the Marcellus page at UpperMon.org by webmaster Wally Venable.

Frank Jernejcic made a cogent lengthy presentation re concerns about Marcellus gas wells. Copied and pasted below is the outline Frank used for his presentation:


Vs. Coal Bed Methane (shallow)

If it can happen on the Monongahela River, it can happen on many other rivers in WV.

A. Water withdrawal from streams and small impoundments. How much? Who decides?
1. Seasonal availability; low flows. What happens to fish?
2. Passby flows: how much is adequate? Minimal flow (7Q10) is not protective of aquatic life in many cases.
3. Boat ramp weight limits for water tankers. Ramps not designed for a tanker truck. Ramps funded by federal excise taxes prohibit commercial use.
4. Interference with boat launching. How long does it take to fill 5-8,000 gallon tank? How many tankers per well?

B. Water treatment and discharge. Where does it go?
Specialized treatment plants needed (reverse osmosis).
CBM well: 40-80,000 gallons.
MS well: 1-6M gallons; 1-10 fracs @ 1M gallons.

1. Adequacy of treatment. What chemicals? (proprietary, secretive)
2. Water treatment plant NPDES limits. Are they protective? TMDLs
Pre-treatment is dilution for chlorides and sodium.
3. Water treatment plant revenue: incentive to accept fluids?
Clarksburg WWTP: 5,000 gpd@ $0.022/gallon.
4. Land based discharge.
Fernow at MNF; Tygart Lake (1 inspector/14 counties/5,000 wells)

C. Erosion control; sediment impacts to streams and lakes. Reduce fish reproduction, growth, fishing success. Need BMPs, slope limitations.
1. Transmission pipelines. Buffalo Cr. in Marion Co.;
2005 Energy Policy Act: exemptions to Safe Drinking Water Act and CWA erosion control.
2. Gathering pipelines. Habitat fragmentation.
3. Well site and access roads. Lewis Wetzel WMA.
Stream beds used as access roads because of steep slopes.

D. Corps of Engineer flood control lakes: Tygart and Stonewall Jackson.
1. Augmentation for Monongahela River navigation: 340-380 cfs.
2. Augmentation / intervention for Three Forks AMD: short duration, 24 hours. Possible 20 mile fish kill in Tygart River.
3. Augmentation for Monongahela River water quality. Is it possible?
4. Inflow water quality during winter drawdown.

E. Impacts to other industrial consumptive users: power plants.
One industry pays for another’s discharge that is not treated.
Ft. Martin and Hatfield power plants (will cost millions for RO treatment).

F. Drinking water filtration plants and waste water treatment plants.
Morgantown WFP most at risk. Others: Weston; Clarksburg.
Adequate info needed so agencies can allocate resources to predict potential problem areas:
1. No. wells by watershed (monitor erosion/sedimentation).
2. Drilling schedule to predict seasonality of water needs.
3. Amount of water needed per well site.

Bottom Line: protect drinking water sources, especially Morgantown.
Increase in no. wells will increase the risks to drinking water treatment at higher river levels than occurred in 2008.
The low Monongahela River flow in 2008 was not as low as in 2002; flows were also lower during other years since the lowest recorded flow in 1931.

Frank Jernejcic
District Fishery Biologist
Farmington, WV
December 8, 2008
Werner Loehlein, hydrologic engineer, Pittsburgh District, described how the Corps of Engineers monitors and controls water flows on the Mon. The Corps is required to maintain sufficient flow for commercial navigation, and, provide flood control. Werner also described the releases from the Tygart and West Fork dams, as requested by PADEP, to dilute and flush out the October 2008 TDS problem.

Rose Reilly, Pittsburgh District biologist, discussed pending West Fork survey, and, answered many questions that arose throughout the meeting.

Duane Nichols commented on powerplant water use, especially for the new Longview plant.

Lee Avary, WV Geologic Survey, stated they are working on getting a handle on the number of current and pending gas well drilling permits, especially in the Marcellus shale.

Bill Goodwin, Superintendent, Clarksburg Wastewater Treatment Plant, made a great presentation on their experience in treating Marcellus wastewater. Copied and pasted below is Bill’s email summary of his remarks:

From: "mailto:bgoodwin@cityofclarksburgwv.com"
To: "mailto:dcsoinks@comcast.net"
Sent: Monday, December 15, 2008 7:39 AM
Subject: Re: Help with minutes of our MRR&CC meeting yesterday


I believe the following gives a good summary of what I presented without getting into the gory details of the in depth discussion we had.

The history of brine at the Clarksburg WWTP

The Clarksburg wastewater treatment plant began accepting gas well brine in July 2008 on a trial basis. Small amounts at first and gradually increasing weekly to determine the affects on the treatment plant. The brine water accepted is a mixture of brines in an effort to regulate the chloride concentration accepted at the facility. At the end of the trial period, adjustments were required to the brine to get the chloride concentrations down to 19,000 mg/l in order to accept 50,000 gallons per day at the facility and still meet all current effluent limitations. Chlorides are not removed at the facility, merely diluted to acceptable levels. Once the trial period was over and Clarksburg wanted to incorporate the acceptance of the brine to the facility, the DEP was contacted to determine if additional parameters needed to be added to the NPDES Permit. The DEP responded saying that the State is currently not prepared to deal with the brine issue yet, has no limits established for dissolved solids, and informed Clarksburg that we could continue accepting the brine as we are as no effluent water violations exist. The DEP needs to develop a program and determines how they are going to address this issue statewide. The brine generates a substantial revenue for the Clarksburg facility.

I hope this helps.
Bill Goodwin, Superintendent
Clarksburg Wastewater Treatment Plant
222 West Main Street
Clarksburg, WV 26301

I recall Bill saying that sewage treatment plants cannot remove the salts in Marcellus wastewater. All they can do is dilute the salts, and, perhaps remove a few of the other bad items in the Marcellus wastewater.

This goes along with Paul Ziemkiewicz’s statement that there are only four ways to dispose of Marcellus wastewater: (1) Evaporation, fine in Arizona but not in our area! (2) Dilution, as we see when sewage plants treat these wastes. Can perhaps work when river flow is high, but, we have seen what happens when river flows are stagnant. (3) Costly reverse-flow osmosis membrane treatment, which still leaves a stream of super highly concentrated brine perhaps one-fourth of total treated volume. What do you do with that?! And, (4) deep well injection.

Dave Bruffy gave brief update on the Granville water bus. Local firm DMJM Harris has been contracted by Town of Granville re design work of docks etc. For info re this project go to busride.org .

Patrick Kirby presented update on Quality Glass site. Monongalia County Commission has RFP out concerning cleanup of this site.

Grafton Mayor Tom Bartlett reported that the International Coal Group deep coal mine planned near Tygart Lake has not yet been permitted. The mine could create pollution and other problems for the Grafton area. Eventual approval of the mine is expected.

Can’t recall who provided this information. But, WVDEP has three or four applications for costly on-site reverse osmosis treatment of gas well wastewater. This appears to be a trend. You still have a mess of really really nasty wastewater, like one fourth of total water treated, that has to go somewhere (deep well injection?!). But, the treated water perhaps could be used for injection at other Marcellus wells?!

The 12 December meeting took two hours. We failed to get to many other topics. Those topics will be on agenda for 9 January 2009 meeting!

Donald C. Strimbeck, Secretary
Upper Monongahela River Association Incorporated
109 Broad Street, P.O. Box 519
Granville, WV 26534-0519
304-599-7585 (Fax:4131)
Email: dcsoinks@comcast.net