Sunday, July 27, 2014

SEND Now questions on Fracking STORMWATER

Dear Friends there are many ways Fracking can Endanger Us , our land and future . Storm-waters are a topic most do not think about . 

We need to Speak out on proposed stormwater fracking rules!
The NC Environmental Management Commission is seeking public comment on five fracking rules, including one that sets standards for management of stormwater on fracking sites. (This is different from the package of 120+ rules proposed by the Mining & Energy Commission for public comment in August 2014). 

A public hearing was held on the package on July 1, at the Dennis Wicker Center. It had a pretty good turn out .
But we still need to write in too!
The EMC will accept written comments through August 1, 2014 at evan.kane@ncdenr.gov, or mailed to Evan Kane, Division of Water Resources, 
1611 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1611.

Keely Wood gave me permission to share Her letter she sent in to the address above ....

STORMWATER questions and comments

Thank you for trying to write rules for the NC residents who are in the shale region, including my family.
I don’t think the rules are detailed enough for limited liability gas and oil companies who will be drilling in North Carolina. The large companies have no interest in this small shale region, we will be experiencing Wildcatters, especially since the bonds are so low. Hazardous wastes are much more likely to contaminate storm water during drilling and production exploration. Specific rules detailing all industrial machinery used during this time should be listed.
 Self-reporting and self-inspection are an insult to the NC residents. Like a fox watching the hen house as they say. We deserve state inspections and the strictest enforcement. Where are the fines listed for being non-compliant on storm water? Will a tax be levied to create a storm water management office for this dirty industry?
 Thousands of miles of pipe lines will impact water and land with hard surfaces, which increases storm water runoff. Will storm water regulations oversee gathering lines and pipelines? Does storm water management rules include soil stock piles, access roads, borrowing pits, air compressor stations that grow from 1 engine to 5?
 Will access roads with heavy diesel truck traffic, be required to be seeded, limed, and fertilized to help storm water?
 Imagine another hurricane hitting Lee County or another tornado? Can gas and oil companies declare acts of GOD and pass their mitigation and costs onto landowners, state and federal governments?
Stop protecting the industry and start protecting the residents of NC

Keely Wood
Hide Away farm
Sanford NC

Here is part of a fact-sheet put together by Grady McCallie to briefly summarizes the proposed EMC rules and shares points we think are worth raising . 

Summary of the proposed rulesThe EMC’s package includes five rules:

Rule 15A NCAC 02H .1030 requires control of stormwater at sites related to shale gas extraction. This is the most high profile of the five and is described in more detail below.

Rule 15A NCAC 02T .0113 amends an existing rule to clarify that drilling muds and cuttings from fracking cannot be disposed of by spreading them around on-site (in contrast to muds and cuttings from directionally-drilled utility lines, for example). 
This is a good change, because fracking produces much greater volumes of drilling waste, and the waste is more likely to include corrosive minerals.

Rule 15A NCAC 02T .1001 amends an existing rule to clarify that fracking operations that reuse fracking fluid are not “closed-loop recycle systems,” in the same sense as, say, recirculating systems for industrial cooling water. This is a good change, since the rule was not written for fracking operations. 

Rule 15A NCAC 02T .1501 amends an existing rule to clarify that rock cuttings and muds from fracking operations are not “petroleum contaminated soil” and may not be disposed of at sites permitted for disposal or remediation of petroleum contaminated soils. Instead, fracking wastes will be managed under rules being proposed by the NC Mining & Energy Commission. This is good.

Rule 15A NCAC 02U .0113 amends an existing rule to clarify that reuse of fracking fluids must comply with a waste management plan approved under Mining & Energy Commission rules, not under conventional beneficial reuse rules for reclaimed wastewater. This is good.

Comments on the proposed stormwater rule, 15A NCAC 02H .1030
Good: North Carolina is right to regulate stormwater from fracking operations. Not only is this mandated by S.L.2012-143 (S820), but it is also essential, since federal rules in this area are extremely weak. Thanks to industry lobbying, the only time an operator must obtain a federal stormwater permit is if it discharges a ‘reportable quantity’ of pollutants, or if the stormwater violates a water quality standard. With no one checking, the chance of triggering that 
requirement is low. For practical purposes, the proposed state rule will be the only control on stormwater.
Good stormwater management is important to protect water quality everywhere, but it is particularly important in the area where fracking seems most likely to happen – Lee County in the Deep River watershed – because public water systems have intakes not far downstream from where stormwater will enter the river system. 
Good: The proposed rule wisely requires that, during construction of a wellpad, operators keep toxic chemicals and other pollutants where they will not get mixed with stormwater, .1030(c)(1). 
That is important, because once pollutants are mixed with stormwater, it is virtually impossible to separate them out again. 
Bad: The proposed rule does not, but should, impose the same requirement during drilling of the well, operation, production, and closure. Hazardous chemicals are much more likely to contaminate stormwater during drilling and production operations than during wellpad construction, but the proposed rule does not address this threat. 
(This concern may be partly addressed by a rule proposed by the Mining & Energy Commission, 15A NCAC 05H .1403, which requires that wellpads be designed not to discharge, but a solution or cross-reference should be 
built into this rule, too).
 Bad: The proposed rule requires operators to control runoff from a one inch rainfall, .1030(c)(4)(A). That standard means it is legal for larger storms to overwhelm the stormwater capture and treatment system and discharge directly to streams. To allow discharges of stormwater from a chemically-intensive drilling operation during large storms presents unacceptable risk to public health and the environment downstream. 
 Inadequate: The proposed rule appears to require that any discharges from a stormwater pond on a fracking site must draw from well under the surface, to avoid taking along any hydrocarbons floating on top, .1030(c)(4)(E). That’s a start, but it does not require skimming of hydrocarbons from the pond, so they may eventually escape when the water level drops. Also, this provision does not address pollutants that are water soluble. 
 Inadequate: The proposed rule states that state regulators shall establish ‘self-reporting’ and ‘self –inspection’ requirements to ensure that the other standards are met, .1030(c)(5). The rule provides no details about these, and there is little reason to believe that self-regulation will deliver meaningful compliance with the rule. Neighbors and the general public deserve direct state inspections and enforcement to assure compliance with the terms of the rule.

For more information, please contact:
Grady McCallie, NC Conservation Network, 919-857-4699 x101
Michelle Allen, NC Conservation Network, 919-857-4699 x110

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