Pennsylvania DEP Sets New Standards for Wastewater Discharges With High Total Dissolved...

Wed Apr 15, 2009 5:35pm EDT

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Pennsylvania DEP Sets New Standards for Wastewater Discharges With High Total
Dissolved Solids

New Limits to Take Effect by January 2011, Interim Permitting Strategy

HARRISBURG, Pa., April 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Environmental Protection
acting Secretary John Hanger today announced that new discharge standards for
industrial wastewater that is high in total dissolved solids, or TDS, will
take effect by January 2011.

The department made the announcement at a public meeting of the Marcellus
Shale Wastewater Technology Partnership and said the new limits will protect
aquatic life and drinking water supplies.

"High total dissolved solids in industrial wastewater have been a problem in
the Monongahela River recently and are an impending problem on a statewide
level," Hanger said. "We are establishing base standards for this water so
dischargers move towards actually treating TDS in industrial wastewater,
rather than simply depending on dilution to protect water quality."

Pennsylvania's streams must assimilate total dissolved solids from a variety
of wastewater sources besides oil and gas well drilling. The primary sources
of these pollutants are stormwater runoff and pollutant discharges from
industrial activities.

The state's rivers and streams are also burdened by uncontrolled discharges
from abandoned coal mines.

Wastewater from certain industrial operations is high in chlorides (salt) and
sulfates which affect the taste and odor of drinking water and, in high
concentrations, can damage or destroy aquatic life. Drinking water treatment
facilities are not normally equipped to treat these contaminants and rely on
normally low levels of chlorides and sulfates in surface waters used for
drinking water supplies.

"DEP and the natural gas drilling industry created the wastewater technology
partnership in 2008 to investigate and deploy new technologies for treating
wastewater from natural gas drilling and production within two years," Hanger
said. "It is vital that new treatment methods are instituted so that public
municipal drinking water supplies and other industrial uses are not
disadvantaged by increased total dissolved solids and chlorides in our surface
waters and that developing our natural gas reserves is not unduly

The new permitted limit for discharges of high-TDS wastewater will be 500
milligrams per liter of TDS and 250 mg/l for both chlorides and sulfates. By
January 2011, all facilities accepting high-TDS wastewater for treatment must
meet these discharge limits.

DEP will develop a proposed rulemaking to amend the water quality regulations
this summer with an opportunity for public comment.

To view the Permitting Strategy for High Total Dissolved Solids Wastewater
Discharges, visit, keyword: Wastewater, then select the
'Marcellus Shale Wastewater Partnership' link.

CONTACT: Tom Rathbun, (717) 787-1323

SOURCE  Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

Tom Rathbun of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection,
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