DEP pulls permit, to allow comment, Integrated Water Technologies Inc. seeks to use fracking waste on roads, sidewalks

DEP pulls permit, to allow comment, Firm seeks to use fracking material on roads, sidewalks by Don Hopey, January 29, 2013, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The state Department of Environmental Protection has rescinded a Marcellus Shale wastewater treatment permit that would have allowed a New Jersey company to spread chemically contaminated salts on roadways, sidewalks and fields statewide. The DEP pulled the permit, issued in August to Integrated Water Technologies Inc., after admitting the required public notice about the permit did not accurately describe the permitted activity and the department hadn’t fully considered the impact on the environment. The DEP’s decision to rescind the permit for the as-yet-to-be-built treatment plant in North Fayette was announced Saturday in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. It comes less than four months after Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future filed an appeal with the state Environmental Hearing Board that alleged the department had pulled a “switcheroo” by not accurately describing the permit in its public notice. The environmental advocacy organization also asked the hearing board to rescind the permit. At that time, Kevin Sunday, a DEP spokesman, issued a statement that called PennFuture’s appeal “baseless” and “an attempt to manufacture a controversy.”

The DEP’s original public notice described the permit narrowly — for the treatment and processing of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, operations at Marcellus Shale gas wells. But after meeting privately with officials of the firm, the DEP issued a permit that allowed two chemical compounds originally classified as waste to be classified as “beneficial use” material that could be used as road and sidewalk de-icer, for roadway dust suppression and for soil stabilization in fields. And, according to that altered permit, issued in August without public participation on those changes, those salty compounds — crystallized sodium chloride and liquid calcium chloride — also can contain limited amounts of arsenic, lead, mercury, ammonia, volatile organic compounds and diesel hydrocarbons. [Emphasis added]

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