News from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

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DEP Calendar of Events

Sept. 22
DEP public meeting/ hearing about a proposed remediation of lead shot contamination at the Philipsburg Rod and Gun Club, Rush Township, Centre County, 6:30 p.m., Rush Township Municipal Building, 150 North Richard St., Philipsburg. Contact: Daniel Spadoni, 570-327-3636.

Sept. 23
Small Water Systems Technical Assistance Center Board meeting, 10 a.m., Room 105, Rachel Carson State Office Building, 400 Market St., Harrisburg. Contact: H. Thomas Fridirici, 717-787-2172.

Sept. 24
State Board for Certification of Sewage Enforcement Operators meeting, 10 a.m., Room 11B, Rachel Carson State Office Building, 400 Market St., Harrisburg. Contact: Patricia Hodgson,  717-720-4811.

Sept. 25
Board of Coal Mine Safety meeting, 10 a.m., DEP Cambria Office, 286 Industrial Park Road, Ebensburg.
Contact: Allison D. Gaida, 724-439-7289.

Sept. 25
Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board meeting, 10 a.m., Room 105, Rachel Carson State Office Building, 400 Market Street, Harrisburg. Contact: Darek Jagiela, 717-783-9645.

Sept. 25
Tri-State Petroleum HSCA public hearing, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Kennedy Township Municipal Building, 340 Forest Grover Rd., Coraopolis. Contact: John Poister,  412-442-4000.

Sept. 25
DEP listening session on EPA's proposed carbon pollution emission guidelines for existing fossil fuel-fired power plants, 9 a.m. in the Honors Suite (First Floor), 333 Market St., Harrisburg. Contact Tammey Adams, 717-772-2725.

Sept. 26
Water Resources Advisory Committee meeting, 9:30 a.m., Room 105, Rachel Carson State Office Building, 400 Market St., Harrisburg. Contact: Sean Gimbel, 717-783-4693.

Sept. 26
DEP Regional Brownfield Seminar: What All Local Governments Need to Know about Brownfields, 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Mifflin County IDC Industrial Plaza Career Link Building, 6395 SR 103N - Bldg. 58, Lewistown. Contact: Kim Hoover, 717-783-1566.

Oct. 2
Low Level Waste Advisory Committee meeting, 10 a.m., Room 105, Rachel Carson State Office Building, 400 Market St., Harrisburg. Contact: Rich Janati,  717-787-2147.

Oct.  9
Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee meeting, 9:15 a.m., Room 105, 400 Market St., Harrisburg. Contact: Nancy Herb,  717-783-9269.

Oct. 15
Cleanup Standards Scientific Advisory Board meeting, 9 a.m., 14th Floor Conference Room, Rachel Carson State Office Building, 400 Market St., Harrisburg. Contact: Molly Adams, 717-783-1566.

Oct. 15
Technical Advisory Committee on Diesel-Powered Equipment meeting, 10 am., Fayette County Health Center, 100 New Salem Rd., Uniontown. Contact: Allison Gaida, 724- 439-7289.

Oct. 15
Agricultural Advisory Board meeting, 10 a.m., Susquehanna Room A, DEP Southcentral Regional Office, 909 Elmerton Ave., Harrisburg. Contact: Steven Taglang, 717-783-7576.

Oct. 16
State Board for Certification of Water and Wastewater Systems Operators meeting, 10 a.m., 10th Floor Conference Room, Rachel Carson State Office Building, 400 Market St., Harrisburg. Contact: Cheri Sansoni, 717-772-5158.

Oct. 16
Southwest Region Elected Officials Update, borough, township and county officials are invited to an update on DEP initiatives and projects, DEP Southwest Regional Office, 400 Waterfront Dr., Pittsburgh.Contact: John Poister, 412-442-4000.

Oct.  16
Radiation Protection Advisory Committee meeting, 9 a.m., Room 105, Rachel Carson State Office Building, 400 Market St., Harrisburg. Contact: Joe Melnic, 717-783-9730.

Upcoming Webinars

Sept. 22
NGV Grants Round 3 Webinar, 2-3 p.m. DEP staff will review the grant application requirements and answer questions about the funding that supports the purchase or retrofit of natural gas vehicles that utilize new or existing natural gas fueling stations. Click here to register.

Sept. 24
AFIG Grantee Webinar, 2-3 p.m. DEP staff will review the grant requirements for the Alternative Fuels Incentive Grants to help awardees understand the grant agreement and processes.Click here

to register.

Sept. 25
Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board meeting webinar, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.  Members will discuss the bifurcation of Chapter 78.  Click here to register for the morning session.  Click here to register for the afternoon session.           

   Public Input

Sept. 22
Deadline to comment on the Proposed Rulemaking: Control of VOC Emissions from Fiberglass Boat Manufacturing Materials.  Contact the Environmental Quality Board, 717-787-4526.[/EC]]

Sept. 22
Deadline to comment on the proposed revisions to DEP ID: 383-2300-002. Title: Training Provider Manual for the Pennsylvania Water and Wastewater System Operator Training Program.  Contact Bill McNamara, 717-705-6350.

Sept. 22
Deadline to comment on Nutrient Credit Trading Program; Certification and Inter-Basin Trading Requests.  Contact Jay Braund, 717-772-5636.

 

Speakers' Bureau

 

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DEP Fines Range Resources $4.15 Million for Violating Environmental Regulations

PITTSBURGH —DEP today announced it has signed a wide-ranging consent order and agreement with Range Resources for violations at six of its Washington County impoundments.

The consent order requires the company to pay a $4.15 million fine, the largest against an oil and gas operator in the state’s shale drilling era, close five impoundments and upgrade two other impoundments to meet heightened “next generation” standards currently under development at DEP.

“This action reaffirms the administration’s unwavering commitment to protecting Pennsylvania’s soil and water resources,” DEP Secretary E. Christopher Abruzzo said. “This landmark consent order establishes a new, higher benchmark for companies to meet when designing future impoundments, which is an environmental win for Pennsylvania.”

Violations at the impoundments include various releases of contaminants, such as leaking flowback that affected soil and groundwater. To date there has been no impact on drinking water from any of these impoundments.

Read more.

First-of-its-Kind Mine Drainage Project to Generate Electricity for Sale on Grid

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With the connection of the second turbine to the grid, the project is expected to generate 460,000 kilowatt hours per year.

DUNCAN TWP. – The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has issued a power generation license for an innovative project in Tioga County that uses mine drainage to generate electricity that can be sold on the grid.

FERC issued the license Sept. 3 to Antrim Treatment Trust to operate the 40 kW micro-hydropower plant in the Babb Creek/Pine Creek Watershed as net producer of power.

This is the first project ever licensed by FERC that uses mine drainage to generate electricity that can be sold on the grid.  In February 2014, the Trust received the final "NEMR" (net energy metering) approval from Penelec authorizing the connection of the Antrim micro-hydropower turbines to the electric grid.  This agreement allows both turbines to go on-grid and sell excess power.

The hydropower project has been operational and providing the Antrim AMD water treatment plant with a portion of the plant’s electric need with just one of two turbines since May 2012.  Combined, the turbines can generate up to 40 kW of power.  Expected power generation from the grid-connected power system is 460,000 kilowatt hours per year.

The Antrim treatment plant will use a large portion of the power, saving up to $12,000 annually.  Any additional power generated by the Antrim Micro-Hydropower Project (AMHP) will help offset the operational cost of the Antrim Treatment Plant. 

The project was a collaborative effort of DEP’s Moshannon District Mining Office, Babb Creek Watershed Association, Antrim Treatment Trust, the Anthracite Region Independent Power Producers Association ( ARIPPA), the Eastern Pa. Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (EPCAMR) the Western Pa. Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (WPCAMR), the Tioga County Conservation District, and the project design/build partner, BioMost Inc. 

The project was financed by a 2009 Energy Harvest Grant to the Babb Creek Watershed Association, Inc., for $428,710; however, the cost to obtain the FERC license, greater than $75,000, was contributed by BioMost, Inc.

Rivers of the Chesapeake Project Considered Top Priority for LWCF Collaborative Landscapes Program

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View of the Susquehanna River from Duncannon, Perry County.

HARRISBURG -- DEP Secretary E. Christopher Abruzzo, along with officials from Maryland, Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay Commission, sent a letter this week to U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary Robert Bonnie, thanking him for his role in supporting the “Rivers of the Chesapeake” as a top priority project for the Land Water Conservation Fund's FY 2016 Collaborative Landscapes program.

The fund, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this month, uses a fee on offshore oil and gas drilling to fund wildlife, recreation and similar programs on public land.

The Rivers of the Chesapeake proposal identifies more than 21,000 acres of federal land conservation opportunities within six focus areas: the Lower Susquehanna, James-York-Mouth of the Bay, Rappahannock, Middle Potomac, Nanticoke, and Headwaters (of the James and Potomac Rivers, including the Shenandoah.  If chosen, the proposal could marshal roughly $50 million in federal funds for land conservation in the Chesapeake watershed for FY 16 and additional dollars in the two outlying years.

"Understanding that many other worthy projects from around the country applied, we are writing to express our gratitude for your confidence in us," the letter states. "Your vote recognizes the value and quality of the Rivers of the Chesapeake Project and your willingness to invest in us."

In July, a delegation representing the Chesapeake Bay Commission including Abruzzo, Pa. Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Ellen Feretti, Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary Joseph Gill, Virginia Department of Natural Resources Secretary Molly Ward, and Commission Executive Director Ann Swanson, met with Bonnie and Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell to urge their support for the proposal.

Pennsylvania has received approximately $315 million over the past four decades, protecting places such as Gettysburg National Military Park and Valley Forge National Historical Park.

DEP Announces Listening Session on EPA Proposal to Lower Emissions from Existing Power Plants

HARRISBURG -- DEP will hold a listening session to obtain public input on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed carbon pollution emission guidelines for existing fossil fuel-fired power plants and the proposed standards for modified and reconstructed units on Thursday, Sept. 25.

The listening session is being held prior to the finalization of the department’s official comments to EPA on the proposed guidelines and standards. The session will begin at 9 a.m. in the Honors Suite (First Floor), 333 Market St., Harrisburg.

In April, Pennsylvania submitted a white paper to EPA outlining a plan that would achieve lower carbon emissions from existing power plants by removing obstacles and encouraging efficiency projects. At the heart of Pennsylvania's plan is the preservation of states’ authority and discretion in the development and implementation of emissions control programs.

Read more.

Gov. Corbett Opens New Clean-Burning Natural Gas Fueling Station in Philadelphia

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Gov. Tom Corbett participates in the opening of a new compressed natural gas (CNG) public fueling station in Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA -- Governor Tom Corbett joined officials from VNG Co. Sept. 11 to announce the opening of a new compressed natural gas (CNG) public fueling station in Philadelphia to support the widespread use of natural gas vehicles in the region.

“Pennsylvania has the second-largest energy field in the world, and cities from Pittsburgh to Williamsport to Towanda to Philadelphia are benefiting from our game-changing energy resources,” Gov. Corbett said. “The convenience of a local CNG fueling station makes it possible for local governments, organizations, companies and residents to make the switch to this cleaner and affordable alternative fuel. By harnessing natural gas, we are reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving air quality and putting Pennsylvania at the forefront of American energy independence.”

Read more.

Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board Meeting to be Available Online

HARRISBURG -- DEP this week announced that the Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board’s (TAB) meeting on Thursday, Sept. 25 to discuss proposed changes to the Chapter 78 Oil and Gas regulations, will be available online via webinar.

The morning session will run from 10 a.m. to noon and include discussion on the bifurcation of the regulations for the conventional and unconventional industries. The afternoon session will run from 1 to 2:30 p.m. and include discussion of several changes to the proposed Chapter 78 Subchapter C rulemaking.

Click on the links under Upcoming Webinars to the left to register.

Pa. Mercury Regulations Subject of Visit with South Korean Envoy

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Pictured with Dr. Hong (2nd from R) are DEP's Tom Mellott, Kevin Beer, Glenn Mitzel, Laura Henry and Vince Brisini

HARRISBURG -- Staff from DEP's Bureau of Waste Management recently met with Dr. Yongseok Hong, assistant professor of Environmental Engineering from Daegu University, Jillyang, South Korea, to discuss Pennsylvania’s regulations related to mercury.  The visit was prompted by the recent creation of the international agreement to reduce mercury pollution, the Minimata Convention. The United States has already signed and ratified this agreement.

Dr. Hong is assisting the Republic of Korea with a research project on existing mercury regulations in the United States with the goal of building a new regulatory frame work for Korean businesses and citizens. He was especially interested in how US businesses can recover more mercury and the most profitable methods to help with the transition of stricter regulations. Current practices in Korea recover very low amounts of mercury and it has become a considerable public health concern and a worker safety problem.

The visit included a meeting with Deputy Secretary Vince Brisini, Waste Management Bureau Director Ken Reisinger, External Affairs Director Katherine Hetherington Cunfer, Policy Specialist Laura Henry, and staff from the Waste Management Program including Tom Mellott, Kevin Beer, and Glenn Mitzel to review Pennsylvania’s statutes, regulations, and policies related to mercury, especially the Hazardous Household Waste Program.  Dr. Hong and DEP staff had field visits to APR Supply in Harrisburg to exhibit the non-profit Thermostat Recycling Corporations’ (TRC) drop off locations for mercury containing thermostats as well as meeting the local representative from TRC. The second tour location was Bethlehem Apparatus, a nationally recognized specialty mercury recovering and recycling business, to tour their Bethlehem facility.

Dr. Hong was extremely impressed with the extensive regulatory frame work for mercury that exists in Pennsylvania as well as the buy in by citizens and businesses. He planned to encourage Korean EPA officials to follow the regulatory framework of Pennsylvania. He was most delighted with the site visits and expressed that he had contacted other states and corporations that deal in mercury recovery to schedule a tour and was rebuffed.

“We were glad to host Dr. Hong and share the successes of Pennsylvania’s mercury regulations and recycling  programs,” Brisini said. “We look forward to continuing to assist the Korean government develop responsible and effective policies to regulate this highly hazardous substance.”

Grant to Assist Montgomery Co. Residents Affected by Trichloroethene Drinking Water Contamination

HARRISBURG – Governor Tom Corbett this week announced that DEP has awarded a $450,000 grant to Skippack Township, Montgomery County to extend public water to area residents whose drinking water wells are contaminated with trichloroethene (TCE). Funding for this Hazardous Sites Cleanup Fund grant comes from Act 13 impact fee revenues.

“The impact fee on the natural gas industry provides numerous financial benefits to communities across Pennsylvania,” Gov. Corbett said.  “For Skippack Township, this funding will provide a permanent clean drinking water source to ensure the public’s safety.”

Read more.

DEP Secretary Abruzzo Addresses Compliance Managers from Leading Pa. Companies

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Secretary Abruzzo briefs compliance anagers get on DEP initiatives.

HARRISBURG -- DEP Secretary E. Christopher Abruzzo was the luncheon speaker at a recent meeting of Compliance Management International (CMI), a professional management firm that offers a range of services including environmental, health and safety, emergency management and energy. 

Secretary Abruzzo provided an overview of DEP, gave an update on recent regulatory and compliance assistance initiatives as well as answered questions. 

Representatives of more than a dozen Pennsylvania companies including Comcast Cable, Hershey Foods, Wawa and  Glatfelter attended.

Click here for more information on CMI.

DEP to Assist Luzerne County Communities in Securing Safe Drinking Water Supply 

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Pictured is a screened intake for distribution in Reservoir #1

WILKES-BARRE -- DEP and Hazleton City Authority today kicked off a partnership plan to provide safe, reliable drinking water to two old coal mining communities in southern Luzerne County. 

Staff from the Safe Drinking Water Program in DEP's Northeast Regional Office have agreed to provide free engineering services for a water line construction project to help residents of the patch-town communities of Stockton #6 and Stockton #8, which are part of Hazle Township, get fresh and treated water to their homes.

The 43 residences in both communities have been relying on a 50-year old outdated and unregulated system to supply their water.  Test results from samples taken in July by staff from DEP's Northeast Regional Safe Drinking Water Program show a presence of giardia cysts in the water and high concentrations of metal. 

The project, known as the Main Extension Project, would provide a water line extension from the homes to the main water supply line run by the Hazleton City Authority.   The offer now allows the HCA to apply for a PennVest loan to build and maintain the water line.

It is estimated the water line extension project could cost close to $1-million.

Lake Erie Cleanup Seeks Volunteers for this Saturday, Sept. 20

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Students from Penn State Behrend participate in last year's cleanup.

ERIE -- DEP invites the public to improve the Lake Erie watershed on Sept. 20 by participating in the 12th annual Pennsylvania/Lake Erie International Coastal Cleanup (ICC).

DEP is urging residents to help clean up trash around Erie County waterways from 9 a.m. until noon on Saturday, Sept. 20.

Read more.

Morewood Named Director of DEP's Environmental Justice Advocate Office

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DEP's Kimberly A. Morewood.

HARRISBURG -- DEP Secretary E. Christopher Abruzzo this week announced the appointment of Kimberly A. Morewood, as  Director of the Environmental Justice Advocate Office. Morewood previously served as DEP's Environmental Advocate in Western Pennsylvania.

"Kim’s experience and skills, including her strong background working with the regulated community, coordinating with local governments and engagement with advocacy groups, along with her previous service as the western Pennsylvania environmental advocate, have prepared her well for her new role as the Director of this Office," Abruzzo said.

Morewood began her career at DEP as the Local Government Liaison for the South-Central Region from 2001-2004. She then worked for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives as a Public Relations Coordinator, and later, as the Chief of Staff to a State Representative.  She returned to DEP in 2013 to serve in her current role as Environmental Justice Advocate for western Pennsylvania.

In this new role, Morewood will be responsible for providing support to the Secretary by directing the identification of social and environmental justice issues within the Commonwealth, and by formulating and developing commonwealth-wide policies, regulations and laws to support the fair, ethical, and meaningful treatment of all its citizens.

DEP Citizens’ Advisory Council Recognizes Long-Time Member Pat Lupo, OSB, of Erie

HARRISBURG -- The Citizens’ Advisory Council (CAC) to DEP this week recognized one of its members for her 26 years of dedicated service. Pat Lupo, OSB, of Erie, has served on the CAC since her initial appointment by Gov. Robert P. Casey in 1988.

“Pat’s longstanding commitment to the CAC and its mission is unprecedented,” CAC Chairman Terry Dayton said. “Pat’s leadership on environmental education, stewardship and conservation, based on her experience in northwest Pennsylvania, were vital in guiding council’s priorities. Council will miss her enthusiasm and dedication which influenced a number of important council initiatives.”

Pat has been involved in environmental issues in Pennsylvania for more than 40 years. A member of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, she received her M. Ed. in Science Education from Clarion University and taught more than 20 years at the elementary and high school levels before her involvement in a number of non-profit environmental organizations, including Environment Erie, where she served as Education Director.

For more information on the CAC, visit www.depweb.state.pa.us/cac or call 717-787-4527.

DEP Employees Help Kick Off Annual SECA Campaign

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DEP's Executive Deputy Secretary Jeff Logan takes a turn in the popular dunk tank.

HARRISBURG -- DEP employees were among hundreds of state employees who participated in the kickoff of the State Employee Combined Appeal (SECA) earlier this month in Harrisburg.  SECA is the commonwealth's annual combined charitable giving campaign for employees and runs for eight weeks.  It gives employees the opportunity to donate by signing up for a payroll deduction, or contributing via check or money order.

The statewide SECA kick-off that took place Sept. 10 and raised a total of $9288 for charity. DEP Executive DeputySecretary for Administration and Management took a turn in the dunk tank to help raise money.

Last year, more than 15,000 of commonwealth employees donated $2.94 million through the campaign.  The theme of this year’s campaign is “Not All Heroes Wear Capes” to honor all doners who give.

To see more pictures from the kickoff, visit the Office of Administration's FaceBook page.

          

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Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection 400 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA 17105

 

 

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