Water Ban Lifted For Parts Of West Virginia After Spill

West Virginia counties map

West Virginia counties map (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CHARLESTON, WV — The ban on tap water for parts of West Virginia was lifted on Monday, ending a crisis for some of the 300,000 people who were told not to drink, wash or cook with water after a chemical spill tainted the water supply.

Gov. Earl Tomblin made the announcement at a news conference, five days after people were told to use the water only to flush their toilets.

“The numbers we have today look good and we are finally at a point where the ‘do not use order’ has been lifted,” he said.

Officials are lifting the ban in a strict, methodical manner to help ensure the water system is not overwhelmed by excessive demand, which could cause more water quality and service issues. Customers are being asked to flush out their systems before using the water again, and officials cautioned that the water could still have an odor, but it is safe.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/editorspicks/5409651-74/state-chemical-officials#ixzz2qJIsJ9gm
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Pennsylvania Climate Plan, Recommendations Released

Map of Pennsylvania

Map of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pennsylvania’s climate action plan arrived just in time for Christmas, but it’s already a year late.

The draft document — an update of a 2009 plan to decrease greenhouse gas emissions in the state — comes out of the Department of Environmental Protection. It’s based on workplans recommended by a 15-person committee representing industry, government and nonprofits.

The legislation that required this report said the update should have been issued at the end of 2012.

The latest climate action plan proposes expanding natural gas distribution pipelines to give more Pennsylvanians access to the fuel. It also advocates encouraging operators of coal mines to capture some of the methane vented into the air before, during, or after mining activity.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/news/environment/2013/12/20/State-climate-plan-recommendations-released/stories/201312200062#ixzz2o2UTDBS7

A 16th-Century Method May Revolutionize Mine Drainage Treatment

A technology dating to the 16th century and built with PVC piping available at any Home Depot or Lowe’s soon will be used to enhance and possibly revolutionize the treatment of abandoned mine drainage, still Pennsylvania’s biggest water quality problem.

The technology, called “trompe,” an old French word meaning trumpet, is a water-powered air compressor with no moving parts.  It has been adapted and developed by Bruce Leavitt, a mining hydrologist and professor of mining engineering at West Virginia University, to provide enhanced aeration of polluted mine water, which speeds the cleanup process.

Use of trompe technology is especially applicable to the hundreds of mine discharges flowing out of the Pittsburgh coal seam in Western Pennsylvania, said Mr. Leavitt, during a walking tour of a trompe-enhanced passive treatment system on the North Fork of Montour Run in Findlay, 2 miles south of the Pittsburgh International Airport.

“Trompe can reduce the size and cost of passive treatment systems for mine drainage,” he said, “And it can take a treatment system that’s not working, or not working well, and clean the water better.”

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/state/16th-century-method-may-ease-mine-drainage-692917/#ixzz2X9Sy6uym

Pennsylvania Pushes Drillers To Frack With Coal Mine Water

English: Cropped portion of image from USGS re...

English: Cropped portion of image from USGS report showing extent of Marcellus Formation shale (in gray shading). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Each day, 300 million gallons of polluted mine water enters Pennsylvania streams and rivers, turning many of them into dead zones unable to support aquatic life. At the same time, drilling companies use up to 5 million gallons of fresh water for every natural-gas well they frack.

State environmental officials and coal region lawmakers are hoping that the state’s newest extractive industry can help clean up a giant mess left by the last one. They are encouraging drillers to use tainted coal mine water to hydraulically fracture gas wells in the Marcellus Shale formation, with the twin goals of diverting pollution from streams and rivers that now run orange with mine drainage and reducing the drillers’ reliance on fresh sources of water.

Drainage from abandoned mines is one of the state’s worst environmental headaches, impairing 5,500 miles of waterways.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=461598

West Virginia’s Jay Rockefeller Won’t Seek Re-Election To U.S. Senate

Official photograph of Jay Rockefeller, U.S. S...

Official photograph of Jay Rockefeller, U.S. Senator. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who came to West Virginia as a young man from one of the world’s richest families to work on antipoverty programs and remained in the state to build a political legacy, announced Friday he will not seek a sixth term.

The 75-year-old Democrat’s decision, coming at a time when his popularity in a conservative state had been waning for sparring with the powerful mining industry and supporting President Barack Obama, told The Associated Press ahead of his formal announcement that it was time to retire.

After about three decades in elective office, it was time to “bring more balance to my life after a career that has been so obsessively dominated by politics and public policy and campaigns,” he said.  “I’ve gotten way out of whack in terms of the time I should spend with my wife and my children and my grandchildren.”

Mr. Rockefeller’s retirement was widely expected and puts the seat held by Democrats since 1958 in jeopardy for the party.  Within weeks of November’s elections, Republican U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito vowed to run for the Senate seat in 2014, even if it meant going up against Mr. Rockefeller and his storied name.  Other Republicans also have been eyeing the seat in recent weeks.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/news/politics-national/west-virginias-jay-rockefeller-wont-seek-re-election-to-us-senate-669999/#ixzz2HgtUoBYB

Underground Centralia Fire Still Burning After 50 Years

Higher resolution photograph of the Route 61 c...

Higher resolution photograph of the Route 61 crack, in Centralia PA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CENTRALIA, Pa.  - Fifty years ago on Sunday, a fire at the town dump ignited an exposed coal seam, setting off a chain of events that eventually led to the demolition of nearly every building in Centralia – a whole community of 1,400 simply gone.

All these decades later, the Centralia fire still burns in Columbia County. It also maintains its grip on the popular imagination, drawing visitors from around the world who gawk at twisted, buckled Route 61, at the sulfurous steam rising intermittently from ground that’s warm to the touch, at the empty, lonely streets where nature has reclaimed what coal-industry money once built.

It’s a macabre story that has long provided fodder for books, movies and plays – the latest one debuting in March at a theater in New York.

Yet to the handful of residents who still occupy Centralia, who keep their houses tidy and their lawns mowed, this borough in the mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania is no sideshow attraction. It’s home, and they’d like to keep it that way.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=389185