September 21, 2009 Contact: Myron Arnowitt, 412-592-1283 (cell)
Coalition Calls on EPA to Stop Fish Kill
(Pittsburgh) – A state coalition of environmental, watershed, and sporting organizations is calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to take immediate action following a large scale fish kill in Dunkard Creek. Over the past two weeks, 10,000 fish in both West Virginia and Pennsylvania have been reported killed in Dunkard Creek as a result of the dumping of untreated wastewater from Marcellus Shale gas drilling operations.
The PA Campaign for Clean Water, which has 150 member organizations, wrote to Jon Capacasa, Director of Water Protection for EPA Region III, urging immediate action to stop gas drilling discharges to Dunkard Creek, and to review existing drilling dischargers that Pennsylvania and West Virginia have issued permits to.
“It’s time for EPA to stop the discharges of untreated wastewater from Marcellus gas drilling. Whether an agency has given a permit to someone to discharge wastewater, or if it’s happening in the middle of the night, the discharge of untreated drilling wastewater has got to stop,” stated Myron Arnowitt, PA State Director, Clean Water Action.
Scott Hoffman, President of Chestnut Ridge Trout Unlimited, stated, “DEP needs to stop issuing more drilling permits until we have regulations for proper disposal of drilling wastewater in place. We are going to see more disasters like Dunkard Creek unless we act now.”
The PA Campaign for Clean Water is calling on EPA to:
- Take immediate action to shut down known discharges to Dunkard Creek with high levels of total dissolved solids and chlorides. Chlorides (salts) are a clear indication of gas drilling wastewater.
- Require that Marcellus Shale drilling operations in Pennsylvania and West Virginia document where all wastewater is disposed of and that plants taking drilling wastewater can properly treat it.
- Reopen permits that Pennsylvania and West Virginia have issued to plants taking drilling wastewater, but without proper treatment facilities.
“Fish kills, mussels and salamanders wiped out, thirty miles of creek polluted – how can this go on and why hasn’t it been stopped? It is an outrage that such a deadly discharge can go unchecked in this day and age. Haven’t the agencies learned from the water quality emergency on the Monongahela River last year that our streams and rivers can’t tolerate being choked with TDS and other gas drilling pollutants?”, said Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper.
The PA Campaign for Clean Water is a coalition of 150 environmental, conservation, sporting, and religious groups from all corners of the state that speaks in one voice in support of federal and state policies to protect and restore Pennsylvania’s water resources.
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Media coverage: Sudden death of ecosystem ravages long creek
‘Everything is being killed’: 161 aquatic species have died along Dunkard Creek