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Message to DRBC and NY: Look at the SRBC Data, Will You?

PennFuture - Tom ShepstoneTom Shepstone
Natural Gas NOW


The DRBC members, the majority of whom also serve on the SRBC, ought to spend some looking at their sister agency’s water quality data.

If the EPA fracking study wasn’t enough evidence for the DRBC and the State of New York, the recent release of water quality data from the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) ought to do the trick. That assumes, of course, the officials involved having the slightest ability to oppose the ideological intimidation being financed by the likes of the Haas, Park and Rockefeller families, which is a huge presumption, but let’s be optimistic because this new data is overwhelmingly positive.


The basic story is told in this FOX 43 report, which notes the following results from the water quality testing done by the SRBC:

  • with continuous monitoring from 2010-2013, data collected did not indicate any changes in water quality;
  • with a few exceptions, the water chemistry at the monitoring stations indicates good water quality; and
  • the results of aquatic insect monitoring were not affected by the density of upstream natural gas wells or pads.

SRBC Staff at Work on Little Pine Creek

Here’s the site where one can obtain access to all the data. The program is described as follows by the SRBC:

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) established the Remote Water Quality Monitoring Network (RWQMN) in January 2010 in response to natural gas drilling activities in the basin. More than 50 water quality monitoring stations are operating in watersheds experiencing unconventional shale gas development. Each station continuously monitors the following parameters: pH, temperature, specific conductance, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, and relative water depth. The data are collected at five-minute intervals and uploaded to SRBC’s publicly accessible web site.


The full report summarizing the latest data may be found here and here are the relevant paragraphs from the Executive Summary (emphasis added):

The monitoring stations are located within three Level III ecoregions: North Central Appalachian (NCA), Northern Appalachian Plateau and Uplands (NAPU), and Central Appalachian Ridges and Valleys (Ridges and Valleys). The majority of the stations are located in the NCA and NAPU

ecoregions. In order to determine if natural gas drilling is having an impact on the monitored watersheds, the monitoring stations were grouped by ecoregion and analyses were ran on the water chemistry and biological data.

The NCA ecoregion is a largely forested region that is distinctly different from the NAPU and Ridges and Valleys ecoregions in both water chemistry and biological data. Median specific conductance and turbidity concentrations are significantly different from the other two ecoregions. Specific conductance and turbidity were not significantly different between the monitored years. The lowest median values for both parameters are found in the NCA ecoregion.

The NAPU and Ridges and Valleys ecoregions are more closely related. Specific conductance and turbidity values by ecoregion are significantly different from the other ecoregion. However, when looking at median turbidity and specific conductance concentrations by year within the

NAPU ecoregion, some years are more closely related to a year within the Ridges and Valleys ecoregion and vice versa. Macroinvertebrate IBI scores do not show a significant difference between the ecoregions.

Well pad density was compared to summer water temperatures and macroinvertebrate IBI scores. There was no correlation found between water temperature or IBI score and well pad density. Macroinvertebrate IBI score was also compared to drilled well density and well distance from the monitoring station; again, no correlation was seen. The best correlation to macroinvertebrate IBI score was instream habitat score. The valuable datasets collected within the RWQMN have proven to be not only useful in analyzing the data for potential gas drilling impacts, but also impacts from construction, agriculture, development, climate change and other activities influencing the water quality parameters and biological communities.


And, here are the findings (all of them) from the report conclusions (emphasis added):

  • The North Central Appalachian (NCA) ecoregion shows the least variability in continuously monitored specific conductance and turbidity; and‰
  • Specific conductance concentrations are significantly different between ecoregions; and
  • There is a significant difference in turbidity values between the ecoregions; and
  • Specific conductance and turbidity by ecoregion have not changed over the monitored years (2010 – 2013); and
  • Well pad density does not show a correlation to stream temperature in the monitored watersheds; and
  • Very few water supplemental chemistry samples exceed water quality standards or levels of concern; and
  • Of the macroinvertebrate samples collected between 2011 and 2013, only 6 percent of samples would be considered impaired based on the PA Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI); and
  • Nonmetric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) plots and Similarity Analysis revealed the 2011 macroinvertebrate assemblages are distinct from both 2012 and 2013 which indicates climate, precipitation, and streamflow likely influenced the communities rather than site-specific variables; and
  • Macroinvertebrate IBI scores in the NCA ecoregion are significantly different from the Northern Appalachian Plateau and Uplands (NAPU) and Central Appalachian Ridges and Valleys (Ridges and Valleys) ecoregions, but the NAPU and Ridges and Valleys ecoregions are not significantly different; and
  • Macroinvertebrate IBI scores do not show a correlation to drilled wells or well pad densities, but rather to in-stream habitat; and
  • Well distance from the monitoring station was also not a good predictor of IBI score.

So much for the wild claims of contamination throughout Pennsylvania. So much for the hysteria of the Delaware Riverkeeper and other dirty tricks outfits financed by those wealthy families hoping to empty out the rural Northeast for use as their parks. So much for the DRBC members paralyzed by supposed water quality concerns. So much for the contrived objections of New York State’s Health and DEC Commissioners. There’s no truth to any of their objections. They’re falsehoods. The EPA is correct. It’s time to end the charade. Message to the DRBC and New York; just look look at the damned data, will you?

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3 thoughts on “Message to DRBC and NY: Look at the SRBC Data, Will You?

  1. Much as I’d like to believe science makes a difference, I’m reminded of something I first heard years ago from my mother – “Don’t confuse me with facts, my mind is made up”. They doubled down after the EPA report, and will simply ignore this as well, claiming (as they did for the EPA report) their “science” is more extensive, wider ranging, or whatever. When you have an amoral empty suit like Cuomo, hatchet men like Zucker and Martens, and sycophantic yes men surrounding him and telling him how great he is, what can you expect?

  2. Dude pretty sure that when you say data you mean instagram pictures and tweets right?



    https://twitter.com/bettabroad I gotta say that I chuckled when I saw that Ms. Broad of the Catskillmountainkeeper (and the producer of the epic “rockaway episode” as part of the Love NY don’t frack it up campaign) retweeted this quote “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth can be a revolutionary act.” ( from Bernie Sanders, the antifracking candidate seeking to become the country’s next president.– tweets are awesome!)

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jul/03/nanas-shale-cuadrilla-fracking-lancashire I read something about scarfs and occupying in this article. Not sure what color kerchief you might want to wear for your next visit to the DRBC.

    In the latest fracking “news”, Kate Sinding and another lawyer have something just a bit longer than a tweet to say.


  3. Pingback: DRBC Members Admit Gas Drilling and Fracking Is Safe? What Gives?Natural Gas Now

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