WVDEP renews permit dealing with coalbed methane well water


The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has renewed the General Water Pollution Control Permit GP-WV-1-07 with new parameters. The permit grants the right to land apply waters associated with coalbed methane wells.

The purpose of the General Permit is to establish a simple, efficient and economic method for the disposal and regulation of water produced from coalbed methane production that is fully protective of the environment.

The new parameters and conditions introduced in the permit renewal, as well as the extension of time from two to five years (Jan. 1, 2010 to Dec. 31, 2014), are based on the review and analysis of the information received from the operators in compliance with the permit conditions. The administrator of the General Permit is the Office of Oil and Gas.

This General Permit strengthens the concept of environmental impact prevention. It includes provisions for performing background sampling and sampling in control areas in order to establish a baseline for evaluating the impact of land applied water on the environment. It also incorporates new parameters to the regular sampling process, which will provide information used for soil and groundwater protection. And, finally, it considers more exhaustive monitoring methods for groundwater.

Coalbed methane wells are wells drilled into coal seams to release trapped methane. Water is pumped from the coal seams in order to lower the water pressure, thereby releasing the methane. Water pumped from the seam typically is collected in tanks in the general vicinity of the coalbed methane well or hauled by truck or pipeline to a central treatment facility. Water is treated to make it suitable for land application.

A copy of the General Permit and its related documents can be obtained by going to: www.wvdep.org., or by writing: WVDEP Office of Oil and Gas, 601 57th St., S.E., Charleston, WV., 25304-2345. For more information contact Bernardo Garcia at (304) 926-0499, ext. 1066 or email: bernardo.garcia@wv.gov.


Kathy Cosco