Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger toured the new Reserved Environmental Services wastewater treatment plant in Westmoreland County today, saying such facilities are needed as more Marcellus Shale gas wells are drilled.
Secretary Hanger says wastewater treatment facilities help fight waterway pollution by making contaminated water fit for reuse at natural gas drill sites.
Hanger says its important that the state finalize its regulations on gas well wastewater soon, so investments in more plants will come forth. He says that will create jobs.
The DEP chief says right now, gas companies have two other options for the disposal of this water.
“They can move the water to an Environmental Protection Agency deep cavern thousands and thousands of feet underground, well away from any groundwater,” says Hanger. “Or, we’re in Pennsylvania allowing them to return it to our rivers and streams if, and only if, they treat it so that all of the pollution, including the total dissolved solids, is taken out.”
Hanger says to make wastewater pure again, gas companies must put it through a second type of treatment plant. He says Reserved Environmental Services hopes to build such a plant soon.