Permitted Wastewater Facilities and the Monongahela River


This page has been archived. It is provided for historical reference only.

During a recent FracTracker training session, CHEC’s director Dr. Conrad Dan Volz used the following maps created with FracTracker’s DataTool to demonstrate the potential impact that additional oil and gas activities in Pennsylvania could have on the state’s watersheds and waterways. The first map you see below shows all of the facilities in PA that applied for and received approval from the state to accept and treat the liquid waste that results from oil and gas operations.

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Some things of note in the map above:

  1. The number of facilities in the Monongahela drainage, which is a source of drinking water for many people in the Pittsburgh area.
  2. The facilities in the Allegheny River and Susquehanna River drainage.

In the map below, we have zoomed in on the Monongahela River drainage to take a closer look at the 13 permitted facilities that could impact that area.

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The signifiant number of permitted facilities along the Monongahela River got us wondering what the cumulative impact could be on the Monongahela drainage, especially since the TDS (total dissolved solids) level fluctuated above drinking water standards in 2009; below are some approximate calculations on the amount of contaminants that could be discharged into the river from those facilities on any given day.

Major Facilities Accepting Wastewater in the Monongahela Drainage and Volume Permitted

Permitted Site 1000 Gallons/Day
1) McKeesport – Monongahela (POTW) 115
2) Clariton Municipal Authority – Peters Creek (POTW) 60
3) Mon Valley Brine (Monongahela River) 200
4) Authority of Borough of Charleroi – Monongahela (POTW) 30
5) Municipal Authority of Belle Vernon – Monongahela (POTW) (2 permits) 10
6) Municipal Authority of Belle Vernon – Monongahela (POTW) 5
7) Borough of California – Monongahela (POTW) 10
8) Brownsville Municipal Authority – Dunlap Creek (POTW) 9
9) Franklin Township Sewer Authority – South Fork Tenmile Creek (POTW) 50
10) Waynesburg Borough – South Fork Tenmile Creek (POTW) 8
11) Shallenberger-Ronco – Monongahela (NPDES permit effective. As of 10/31/09, WQM permit in progress.) 500
12) Shallenberger-Rankin Run (NPDES permit effective on 11/1/2008.) 125
13) Shallenberger Connellsville – Youghiogheny 1,000
14?) Somerset Regional Water Resources (East Branch Coxes Creek) (RO and Evaporators proposed. NPDES permit granted on 12/17/2009. Amendment to the NPDES permit is pending.) ?
Range of TGD: 612 – 2112

Concentrations of Selected Important Contaminants from Marcellus Shale Flowback Water (FBW)*

Conversions to pounds of contaminant per day into Monongahela drainage

  • 612,000 gallons FBW * 3.79 L/gallon* 161,636 mg/L dissolved solids*2.2*10-6 pounds/mg= 824,825 lbs. of TDS
  • 612,000 gallons FBW * 3.79 L/gallon* 2,950mg/L Barium*2.2*10-6 pounds/mg= 15,053 lbs. of barium
  • 612,000 gallons FBW * 3.79 L/gallon* 3,280mg/L Strontium*2.2*10-6 pounds/mg= 16,737 lbs. of strontium
  • 612,000 gallons FBW * 3.79 L/gallon* 95,400 mg/L chloride*2.2*10-6 pounds/mg= 486,812 lbs. of chloride
We will add more information to this post as we investigate the above amounts of contaminants and how they compare to the volume of fresh water in the river and to other types of discharges that regularly enter the waterway.
Related Information: