New WV Facility Opens to Handle Radioactive M-U Waste

SECUR, a privately owned company headquartered in Pittsburgh that (among other things) cleans up radioactive waste from shale drilling, has just opened a new 10-acre branch facility in Tyler County, WV to do just that–to clean up NORM (naturally occurring radioactive materials) and TENORM (technically-enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material). The facility cleans up both liquids (wastewater) and solids (drill cuttings) that contain a tiny bit of radiation in them, making them suitable for safe disposal. No, there is no permanent storage at the facility–the site, located in Friendly, WV, is only used to clean up the stuff coming in. SECUR then repackages the material and sends it back out to licensed disposal facilities. And did we mention…SECUR is a woman-owned, small business? Nice. Here’s the good news of yet more jobs and an essential service have come to the WV part of the Marcellus/Utica…
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Whatever Happened to Illegally Dumped Frack Waste in KY Landfill?

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In March 2016, MDN reported that 47 dumpsters full of concentrated frack waste from OH, PA and WV was illegally dumped in a Kentucky landfill in Estill County, KY (see Marcellus/Utica Frack Waste Illegally Dumped in Kentucky Landfill). The cuttings were buried between July and November in 2015, near as anyone can tell. The landfill sits across the road from a school. Normal frack waste has extremely low (usually no) radioactivity. But when drill cuttings are further processed and concentrated, as was the case with this series of loads, the naturally occurring radiation present can become more concentrated. Fortunately there’s no indication of a problem at the landfill: no indication that it’s leaking radioactivity into the water table, etc. But parents and residents were rightly up in arms (see Local Residents Demand KY Landfill Accepting Frack Waste Close). We last provided an update on this situation in July 2017 (see Update on Illegally Dumped Frack Waste in Kentucky Landfills). What’s happened since then? Not much. The radioactive waste is still there, buried. Still no signs of any leakage or problems. The landfill owners were fined and are required to create a mitigation plan. State officials want to keep the waste right where it is–best not to disturb it. But some locals want it dug up and moved–to somewhere/anywhere else. Here’s the latest on the “hot mess” in Estill County’s landfill…
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Antero Agrees to Add Monitoring Near New Frack Waste Landfill

By our reckoning, Antero Resources’ $275 million wastewater recycling facility in Doddridge County, WV is now operational (see Antero’s $275M WV Wastewater Recycling Facility Ready to Launch). In 2015 Antero hired Veolia Water Technologies Inc. to build a new shale wastewater recycling facility in Doddridge County (see Antero Building New 60K Bbl Wastewater Recycling Facility in WV). The facility, called the Clearwater Facility, can process up to 60,000 barrels of wastewater per day, separating water, salt and radioactive particles. The salt can be sold to municipalities for use as road salt–but frankly there’s not enough of a market to sell it all. And not all of it will be of sufficient quality to be sold that way. So Antero also spent $20 million to build a landfill next to the plant for the salt (see Update on Antero’s $275M Wastewater Facility in WV). In a move we were previously unaware of, a pair of Big Green groups–West Virginia Rivers Coalition and the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy–made a fuss about the landfill. They filed an appeal with the West Virginia Environmental Quality Board back in May challenging the permit allowing the landfill to get built. Antero has just settled the matter by signing an agreement to conduct additional surface water monitoring at and near the landfill site…
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Smith Twp Votes Down Plan to Expand MAX Bulger Marcellus Landfill

In a disappointing development, the supervisors of Smith Township (Washington County), PA have voted to turn down MAX Environmental’s request to expand the Bulger landfill they operate in the town (see Marcellus Landfill in Washington Co. Seeks to Expand, Add TENORM). One of the primary customers for the landfill over the past 10 years has been the Marcellus industry–dumping drill cuttings (leftover dirt and rock from drilling) at the landfill. MAX intends to ask the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection for a permit to expand the Bulger facility by 21 acres. They also want to begin accepting technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive materials, or TENORM, from shale drillers. The first stop is, however, is to get local approval. The DEP wants to see local approval before they consider a state approval. Until now, the word coming from the supervisors is that they were duty-bound to approve the request, as long as “reasonable conditions” were made in the request. The town held several public hearings about the project. Apparently some local loudmouths got to the supervisors and spooked them. At a meeting last Thursday night the supervisors voted 3-0 against approving the request. MAX said they will wait to get the official document, expected today, before deciding on whether or not to litigate (an almost certainty)…
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Marcellus Landfill in Washington Co. Seeks to Expand, Add TENORM

MAX Environmental has operated the Bulger hazardous waste landfill in Smith Township (Washington County), PA since 1958. One of the primary customers for the landfill over the past 10 years has been the Marcellus industry–dumping drill cuttings (leftover dirt and rock from drilling) at the landfill. Earlier this year, MAX sold itself to Altus Capital Partners–a private equity investment firm–for an undisclosed amount (see Pittsburgh-based MAX Environmental Purchased by Investment Firm). With the closing of the deal, MAX’s CEO/owner, William Spencer, rode off into the sunset and Bob Shawver was brought in as the new CEO. At first Shawver signaled the operation would move away from focusing on Marcellus customers. Then reality set in and plans changed (see MAX Enviro Not Walking Away from M-U, Wants to Expand PA Landfill). MAX intends to ask the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection for a permit to expand the Bulger facility by 21 acres. They also want to begin accepting technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive materials, or TENORM, from shale drillers. The first stop is, however, is to get local officials on board with their plans. Smith Township has held several hearings about the proposal and last night met to talk about it again. Smith’s attorney prepared a motion for town supervisors that includes 32 conditions before they town will grant an OK to MAX to expand the Bulger facility…
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Sierra Club Lawsuit Against Cove Point, 2 Other LNG Plants Tossed

Yesterday a three-judge panel from the US District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals tossed out the Sierra Club’s petitions challenging Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) authorization of three LNG export projects: Dominion Energy’s Cove Point LNG in Maryland, Cheniere’s Sabine Pass LNG in Louisiana, and Cheniere’s Corpus Christi LNG in Texas. As we said in a post on Oct. 3rd: “The Sierra Club lawsuit against all three projects challenges FERC’s approval of them, arguing the plants negatively affect the environment and will make Mom Earth sick. While no one expects these lawsuits to go anywhere, you never know, which is why it’s important to keep an eye on it” (see Sierra Club in Court Oct 18 Against Cove Point, 2 More LNG Plants). We did keep an eye on it, and the good news is that not even the liberal judges on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals could stomach the nonsense coming from the odious Sierra Club…
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MAX Enviro Not Walking Away from M-U, Wants to Expand PA Landfill

MAX Environmental has operated the Bulger hazardous waste landfill in Smith Township (Washington County), PA since 1958. One of the primary customers for the landfill over the past 10 years has been the Marcellus industry–dumping drill cuttings (leftover dirt and rock from drilling) at the landfill. Earlier this year, MAX sold itself to Altus Capital Partners–a private equity investment firm–for an undisclosed amount (see Pittsburgh-based MAX Environmental Purchased by Investment Firm). With the closing of the deal, MAX’s CEO/owner, William Spencer, rode off into the sunset and Bob Shawver was brought in as the new CEO. Shawver acknowledged it would have been “nuts” not to pursue business from the shale industry when it was going gangbusters, but Shawver said he would “retool” MAX–away from depending on the Marcellus industry. MAX will no longer be known and branded as a company in the oil and gas space. Shawver is rebranding the company, going after customers that are the region’s “traditional bread and butter”–manufacturing, industrial facilities and construction (see MAX Environmental Walks Away from Marcellus/Utica). Except reality has set in and plans have changed. MAX is applying for a permit to expand the Bulger facility by 21 acres, to continue doing what they are doing now. And what, you may ask, are they doing now? “Most of the residual waste MAX accepts now consists of drill cuttings from the Marcellus Shale industry.” Looks like MAX isn’t walking away from the Marcellus after all…
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NYC Democrats Target Upstate with Proposed Ban on PA Frack Waste

Every now and again anti-fossil fuel nutters in New York will pop up from whatever hole they live in to claim that the couple of NY landfills accepting drill cuttings (leftover rock and dirt) from PA shale drilling will result in an environmental apocalypse. One landfill in particular, in Chemung County, seems to be the focus of their ire (see NY Anti Drillers Apoplectic Over Soil in Chemung Co. Landfill). From time to time they attract the attention of some of NY’s less-than-bright legislators who float bills to ban “importing frack waste” into the haughty Empire State. They tried in 2014 (see NY Dem Senators Want to Ban PA Drill Cuttings from NY Landfills). Fortunately, the bill went nowhere. Earlier this year the anti-drilling group Environmental Advocates of New York published a 24-page sham “report” trying to rekindle momentum for a frack waste ban (see Anti-Drillers Try to Ban Drill Cuttings from PA in NY Landfills). Environmental Advocates appears to be in league with Democrats from the New York City area who have floated yet another bill to ban PA frack waste from entering NY. New York City just LOVES to tell us hicks in Upstate what we can and can’t do…
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Pittsburgh-based MAX Environmental Purchased by Investment Firm

In 2014 MDN reported that MAX Environmental, operator of the Bulger hazardous waste landfill in Smith Township (Washington County), PA since 1958, planned to expand the landfill by 21 acres in order to handle an increase of drill cuttings and even liquid waste (which they will turn to solid waste) coming from Marcellus Shale drilling (see New Landfill Expansion in SWPA Aimed at Marcellus Drillers). That did happen and the landfill accepts Marcellus/Utica waste. The new news is that MAX has sold itself to Altus Capital Partners–a private equity investment firm–for an undisclosed amount. As soon as the deal closes, MAX will get a new CEO and MAX’s current CEO/owner, William Spencer, will ride off into the sunset…
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PA Senator Reintroducing Bill to Reduce Marcellus Waste Reporting

PA State Sen. Elder Vogel

On Tuesday, PA State Sen. Elder Vogel (Republican from Beaver, PA) circulated a co-sponsor memo that states his intent to re-introduce a bill that will remove some of the hassles drillers now face with the recent adoption of new Marcellus drilling regulations. Specifically, Vogel wants to change the DEP (Dept. of Environmental Protection) regulation requirement that drillers must file paperwork to report the amount and disposition of drilling waste–which would include wastewater and drill cuttings–from monthly to every six months. Every gallon of frack and produced water that comes out of a well, and every square inch of leftover rock and dirt, must be tracked and a report filed. The new Chapter 78a drilling regulations adopted by the DEP requires monthly reports to be filled out–a virtual blizzard of paperwork. Vogel wants to make it more manageable with biennial reports instead…
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Obama EPA Signs One Final “Sue and Settle” Case Against O&G

January 20th, when Donald Trump is inaugurated and decomposing swamps like the EPA get drained, can’t happen soon enough. However, before that date, the Obamadroids are doing everything they can to get their last digs in. One of them is the rogue, out-of-control Environmental Protection Agency, which will soon be swept clean by Scott Pruitt (delicious justice if ever there were some). We’ve written about the sleazy practice of “sue and settle” in the past–a practice whereby government agencies like the EPA get their friends in the radical environmental movement to sue them, then they quickly settle the case and say “See, we HAVE to do this because the court is making us do it.” Scott Pruitt knows all about that practice and it will stop on Jan. 20. But until then, the EPA continues to engage in it. The latest case they’ve just settled was brought by the odious National Resources Defense Council, Earthworks and a mishmash of other radical groups in May 2016 regarding an attempt to ban injection wells and stop landfills from accepting drill cuttings (see Enviro Nazis File Lawsuit to “Force” EPA to End Injection Wells). The EPA wants to once again eat away at the sovereignty of the states by regulating oil and gas drilling “wastes” using federal law (illegal under the U.S. Constitution). When was the last time you heard of a big lawsuit like this being settled in a matter of a few months? Yeah, never…
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Tragically Flawed Iowa Study Says Marcellus Dirt is Radioactive

Earlier this week so-called researchers at the University of Iowa released a tragically flawed study that purports to say Marcellus Shale drill cuttings (rock and dirt from drilling) are radioactive and if you put them in your landfill, you’ll start to glow in the dark. That’s the upshot from “research” that used just three samples FROM A SINGLE WELL as the basis of the “study.” This is anti-fossil fuel hogwash by a group of grad students who want to launch their careers by making a name for themselves. What they’ve actually done is ended their short careers with shoddy research. The paper is titled “Disequilibrium of Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM) in Drill Cuttings from a Horizontal Drilling Operation” and appears in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters. Below is a summary of the “research” followed by an analysis by MDN friend and intrepid writer Nicole Jacobs, writing for Energy in Depth. Nicole rips apart this new study and exposes its tragic flaws…
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Ohio Startup Plans to Convert Utica Drill Cuttings into Clean Fill

energreen360enerGREEN360, a young Ohio company that cleans up material heading to landfills so it can get re-used instead, has a plan to clean drill cuttings from Utica drilling to reuse those cuttings as clean fill on brownfield sites. The company has its sights set on an industrial park south of Cambridge, OH as its first location to dump the treated drill cuttings. Everyone wins in this instance–less material filling up local landfills, fill needed at the industrial park, the cuttings get treated before being used (minimizing any potential exposure risks). The only ones who lose are radical environmentalists, who will try their best to demagogue this plan, painting it as unsafe and harmful to locals who live and work in the area. The only problem for enerGREEN360 is that the Guernsey County Board of Supervisors is unanimously opposed to the plan (see Guernsey County, OH Opposes Facility to Treat/Store Drill Cuttings)…
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Antero Responds to Critics of New WV Wastewater Facility

antero resourcesTwo weeks ago MDN provided an update on the new Antero state-of-the-art frack wastewater treatment plant and landfill being built in West Virginia (see Update on Antero’s $275M Wastewater Facility in WV). Once built, this new plant will recycle 98% of the water used, for re-use by Antero in its fracking and drilling operations. According to Antero’s regional senior vice president and chief administrative officer, Al Shopp, although it may be cheaper to just inject the wastewater down an injection well somewhere, the more environmentally friendly, long-term solution is to do what they are doing–recycle it all. You might think that would please environmental Nazis–but you would be wrong. They want zero drilling and anything, including a better way to handle wastewater, will lead to more drilling and therefore is opposed by these nutters. Al Shopp responds to some of their nonsensical arguments against the new plant…
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Drill Cuttings Used to Build New Road in Lycoming County, PA

drill cuttingsImagine this: a backhoe sinks its bucket into the ground, scoops out some dirt, and the dirt is used to build a road. No big deal. Now imagine this, a very long drill goes down into the earth and digs out dirt. Because the dirt comes from deep down, some of it may be mixed with minerals not found near the surface, so a company processes the deep down dirt to remove any extra minerals, and the dirt is then essentially the same chemical composition as the dirt from near the surface–and it’s used to build a road. The dirt from deep down is called drill cuttings. Environmental Nazis repeat the magical incantation, “It’s been fracked!” and therefore they begin to hyperventilate that “fracked waste” is being used to build a road. Our example illustrates antis’ intellectual dishonesty about what drill cuttings are. When we spotted a story that a private hunting club in Lycoming County (Williamsport area) in PA will build a new road using processed drill cuttings, and the spin job done by the anti-drilling shills at the taxpayer-funded PBS StateImpact Pennsylvania, we had to laugh…
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Guernsey County, OH Opposes Facility to Treat/Store Drill Cuttings

Guernsey County, OH
Guernsey County, OH

EnerGreen 360 wants to build a facility in Guernsey County, OH to treat and re-use drill cuttings (leftover rock and dirt from shale drilling). The plan is to clean up the cuttings and use the leftover leftovers (rock and dirt) to backfill part of a business center were the facility would be located–near Cambridge, OH. But County Commissioners are unanimously against the plan, saying that although Guernsey sees a lot of Utica drilling, producing lots of drill cuttings, the county already absorbs “more than our share of frack-related waste.” The commissioners cite multiple injection wells in the county as being evidence of shouldering more than their fair share of the burden. So apparently the commissioners want some other county to take Guernsey’s drill cuttings instead, since Guernsey takes other counties’ shale wastewater. Fair? Not fair? You decide…
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