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GWPC Holds Annual Forum

The 2011 Ground Water Protection Council Annual Forum was held this week in Atlanta, Georgia.  Attendees from state groundwater, source water, and oil and gas programs, EPA, DOE, and USGS, as well as consulting companies and associations, including ASDWA staff, participated in the Forum.  Three different session tracks ran concurrently on:  groundwater availability; groundwater/energy sustainability; and groundwater quality.  Following are some of topics and associated sessions and presentations that should be of particular interest to state drinking water programs.

  • Highlights from the presentations and a session that were focused on nutrient pollution, source water protection, and water quality and quantity topics included:
    • USDA’s assessment of changes in crops and cropland (in many cases resulting from the drive for increased ethanol production) and the associated erosion and nutrient pollution;
    • USGS and state efforts to study soil permeability and develop models showing groundwater contamination susceptibility, as well effects of diminished groundwater quantity;
    • The National Ground Water Monitoring Network pilot studies; and
    • The source water protection exchange roundtable where states and others shared information about a variety of state and local efforts including implementing agricultural best practices and land conservation, plugging abandoned wells, and conducting pesticide monitoring at schools.
  • A number of sessions on hydraulic fracturing featured speakers and discussions about issues and efforts such as:
    • GWPC’s www.FracFocus.org web site and chemical disclosure registry for drilling companies to voluntarily submit the chemical compounds used in their fracturing processes.  To date, 23 companies have submitted this information.  The web site also provides information about state regulations where applicable.
    • EPA’s Hydraulic Fracturing Study is underway and is on schedule with retrospective and prospective case study sites.  The Science Advisory Board will conduct a complete review of the study and EPA expects to publish an interim report of results in 2012 and a final report in 2014.  For more information about EPA’s efforts, visit the web site HERE.
    • EPA’s development of new permitting guidance for hydraulic fracturing using diesel fuels.  This activity falls under existing SDWA Underground Injection Control (UIC) Class II regulations.  The Agency expects the draft guidance to be available for public comment within the next month and be finalized by the end of CY 2011.

For more information about the Forum agenda and specific presentations, visit the GWPC web site at:  www.gwpc.org/meetings/forum/forum.htm.