Last updated: July 14. 2014 2:32AM - 3331 Views
By Jon O'Connell joconnell@civitasmedia.com

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The landfill owned by businessman Louis DeNaples has been cleared to accept a different kind of waste from the Marcellus Shale industry.
On Wednesday, the Department of Environmental Protection approved a solid waste disposal permit modification allowing Keystone Sanitary Landfill to process water-based drilling fluid waste for the purpose of separating solid material to dump.
The separated drilling liquid is to be returned to industry operators for reuse, with the solid waste remaining on site for processing with other natural gas production waste material, the approval letter says.
Keystone, which spans Throop and Dunmore in Lackawanna County, was authorized to receive drill cuttings — the dirt and rock kicked to the surface during oil and gas exploration — in 2011.
The modification does not increase Keystone's allowed 2,000 tons of drilling-related material it can dispose of daily.
Keystone also is limited in how much liquid it can keep on site at one time. The department has allowed four 21,000-gallon storage tanks used in separation processes, as well as one 1,000-gallon storage tank.
The material, in the same way the solid cuttings are handled, is processed using a pug mill machine in which the waste is mixed with other material — usually cement — hardened and then deposited in the landfill.
Keystone officials applied for the modification on April 22.
In natural gas production, drilling operators use water mixed with sand and chemicals to break up subsurface rock formations in a process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. During fracking, water flows back to the surface mixed with sludge from underground. The fluid may be used again if the sludge is filtered out first.
The storage tanks must be set up within a secondary containment area, the approval letter says, which likely is a raised berm that encircles the area with a rubber liner below to catch any spilled fluid.
Thomas Lukasewicz, Throop's borough council president, fought against Keystone gaining approval to accept drill cuttings in 2011.
On Sunday, Lukasewicz said he opposes any Keystone expansion that involves natural gas waste.
“I'm totally against it,” Lukasewicz said. “I fought hard to keep the fracking material out, and that didn't go anywhere. I said it's only a matter of time until they start bringing the water there.”
The councilman questioned whether it is fitting for a residual waste facility to process spent drilling fluids that could hold poisonous chemicals brought back to the surface from deep underground.
“The product should be considered hazardous waste and not residual waste,” Lukasewicz said. “If indeed it is the water laden with all the chemicals of the fracking process.”

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