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Generating Station not permitted to handle oil, gas wastewater

Warren County is in the forefront of the debate over the use of oil and gas wastewater — brine — as a dust suppressant since a state decision originating from a Farmington Twp. case resulted in a moratorium on such use.

Language in the second draft permit application by the state Department of Environmental protection for the Warren Generating Station would appear to indicate the site could be used to treat such wastewater.

But, as with much of the language contained in these highly detailed permits, things aren’t always as they appear.

The draft permit states that the permittee “shall document the receipt of all hauled-in residual wastes (including but not limited to wastewater from oil and gas wells, food processing waste, and landfill leachate)….”

“The language… is standard language included in all Industrial Wastewater NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) permits and does not authorize the permittee to accept, treat and discharge oil and gas wastewater,” Thomas Decker, Community Relations Coordinator out of DEP’s Meadville office said. “The reference to oil and gas wastewater is for the purpose of clarifying wastewater that would be considered a hauled-in residual waste. The subject facility only treats landfill leachate generated on-site and no hauled-in waste is accepted at this facility.”

He added that the Warren Generating Station is “not authorized to accept, treat and /or discharge oil and gas wastewater to the Allegheny River nor is it authorized to accept, treat and provide oil and gas wastewater for reuse as a dust suppressant or deicing (or any other use for that matter).”

A second draft permit has been released and is awaiting final action by DEP.

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