A recent Wall Street Journal article goes into wonderful detail on how this 60 year-old technique has revitalized our gas industry and is impacting our ability to create energy, LOCALLY. No dealing with foreign countries, no jobs overseas. Right here in our own US of A backyard.
It now accounts for 25% of our gas supply and has brought what was once $15 per million BTUs to $4.
Something to be excited about no? Well not so fast. Environmentalists and their allies have come out against hydraulic fracturing and are raising public concern. The article goes on to separate Fact from Fiction.
• Fracking contaminates drinking water allowing chemicals to leach into water sources. And Fracking
can release methane gas into our drinking water. Read the article, both NOT TRUE.
• Fracking releases toxic or radioactive chemicals. With 99.5% of the fluid injected into fracture rock
is water and sand. Again, NOT TRUE.
• Fracking causes cancer. Fracking causes earthquakes. Shale exploration is unregulated.
Again all untrue.
Pollution from trucks. This however is a fact, and in the article it talks about risk vs reward. It is obvious that the author of the article, and most likely the companies that were interviewed for the research are not connected to the Dust Control Industry. We need to work with energy industry leaders and show them how we can help minimize and prevent pollution that stems from fracking with high-quality dust and road stabilization techniques that are proven and available today. The reality is our solutions did not even exists 10 years ago, so the old way of thinking needs to be transformed with our new solutions.
My personal mission, and the DNA of my company Midwest is to be an environmental steward in the area of dust control, where we can impact the safety of both air and water. As an industry we need to step up and let the environmentalists know there are wonderful solutions that can help keep and grow fracking as a preferred technique to support our energy solutions. There you have it, all fracks.
I hate to read articles like this that give the dust control industry a bad name. One of two things happened here; The developers paid for a short-term dust control solution, or the developers paid for a long-term solution but the wrong product was installed. Either way, no reason for this. Enough said..
As we move into 2011 environmental protection amendments continue to move to the forefront of the news. Take this recent case in Mt. Pleasant Twnp, PA. The township has put forth an amendment for consideration that would require gas and drilling operators to purchase environmental pollution liability coverage in case of release for vapor or fumes, provide copies of water testing of private wells and springs and prohibit any brine or hydrocarbon mixtures with water to be used for dust abatement on roads.
It’s been long known that these mixtures used for dust abatement are simply not environmentally friendly, and have caused irrefutable damages to local communities, and should simply never be used. It’s the old “trying to save a dollar” syndrome, instead of “lets do it right from the start.”
We’re hoping as we move into the new decade, builders, developers and industry executives will start with an Environmental Friendly Plan, and look to use this to their competitive advantage. And when it comes to dust abatement, go to a specialist, like Midwest.
University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Transportation Research Center Conducts Dust Control Tests
Now we’re talking. The science of dust control is becoming part of our everyday vernacular. As Environmental Science courses and degrees begin to populate our Universities, our industry, dust control, is becoming an important part of our country’s future – as it should be!
Case in point; a crew from the UAF Civil & Environmental Engineering department are trying to perfect a dust monitoring system to determine the effectiveness of dust control/dust-settling agents vs. calcium chloride which is usually used on the roads in this borough. We’re thrilled and excited that UAF is taking a lead on the testing. The more testing the better. We need to significantly reduce particle dust on our roads for cleaner air and water and a healthier overall environment.
Re: EPA has agreed to strengthen the oversight of animal feedlots where bacteria, virus and parasites from animal waste allegedly pollute nearby waterways.
As the kids would say, this is a “shout out” to our industry. I consider the EPA our friend. We in the Dust Control industry have spent our lives developing solutions to help make the air we breath and the water we drink clean from toxins, pollutants, chemicals, dirt. It’s why we get up every morning. Here is another example of an opportunity where we can help.
The Natural Resource Defense Council, Sierra Club and Waterkeepers Alliance have helped set the stage. As feedlots get ready to meet new EPA standards, dust control manufactures can play their role in helping to reduce particle pollutants from feedlots.
Simple statement I know. Just take a look at the images below. Talk about a picture being worth a thousand words! Here’s the quick story. The first image was the customer’s work done with Midwest product. This was a Midwest customer for about ten years. The second image is the same project/customer done with a competitive product this year. The customer put this out for bid, specified our product or equal, they received a lower bid price, but really did not realize what they were buying – in part because the vendor provided them with what was thought to be credible information but was in fact intended to mislead. I’ve written blogs on “Buyer Beware” and this is again another example. All the cliché’s… you get what you pay for… clearly an issue in the dust control industry. When you put a project out for bid, you must be sure you are receiving estimates/prices that not only completely match regarding the formulation of the product, but that the company you are buying from guarantees that you will be satisfied with the result.
This is not about selling product or making profits. I am a proud American, and with our troops still committed to the war overseas, everyone, including the people here at our company, should be doing everything possible to assure their safety.
Reading about the April 8 crash of a CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft that killed four; two Air Force Special Operations Command airmen, a US soldier and a civilian, when there are theater solutions that could prevent it, bothers me to the core. The report identified “brownout conditions” caused the crash. (A brownout happens when the dust caused by the rotor wash from a helicopter raises dust which is so extreme that it impedes pilot vision and safety.)
Why am I so bothered? Because there’s no reason for a brownout condition. There are chemical solutions that can be applied to helipads in these remote and tactical locations that will eliminate dust and assure pilot visibility. My company, Midwest Industrial Supply, manufactures such products, as do other companies. And whether I believe we have the best product is not the point; it’s that there are solutions. There’s also new avionic technology in the field to help pilot visibility in brownout conditions but it will take time to fully deploy this technology. In the meantime, our chemical solutions working hand-in-hand with technology would enhance pilot safety.
The Army Corp of Engineers has worked exhaustedly to find effective tools and already tested Midwest solutions and today all branches of the Service use our products. We need to step up, and find ways to quickly treat these helicopter landing pads in theater conditions so we never again read a story like this. I know this is unacceptable to our military leaders, and it’s their goal as well.
Environmental Solutions will support the building and maintenance of these important projects.
Great to read about the detailed research that is taking place to develop best practices for Solar Energy Developers, which is so important to the energy alternative solutions this country so desperately needs. The Dust Control, Soil Stabilization and Erosion Control Industry will play a major role in helping our country not only build these new energy plants with a commitment to mitigating negative environmental impact during this process, but maintaining these plants as well with a focus on “green” and safety.
Building these projects requires construction roads, service roads, heavy equipment movement as well as post construction maintenance to keep Solar panels and wind farms in optimum condition. It is critical that these projects use best green practices during the construction and maintenance process and do not overlook unintended consequences which could harm the environment if not planned properly.
Guidelines for Solar Development in Arizona
The Arizona Game and Fish Department, March 12, 2010
On March 12, 2010, the Arizona Game and Fish Department (“AGFD”) released finalized guidelines for solar development in Arizona (“Solar Guidelines”), the objective of which “is to assist energy developers in identifying potential impacts to wildlife and wildlife habitats from their proposed development and potential alternatives to avoid, minimize, and/or mitigate for these negative impacts.” The AGFD encourages local governments and permitting authorities to integrate the recommended study proposals described in the Solar Guidelines. The document is organized around five basic project development steps:
Wildlife Protection Regulations
AGFD Regulations and Review
Gather preliminary information and conduct site screening
Identify potential impacts to wildlife
The Solar Guidelines were compiled by the AGFD employees and have not undergone any external public review or input from the solar energy industry. It should be noted that some of the information contained in the Solar Guidelines was taken from the AGFD’s wind guidelines. In light of the fact that county officials often defer to the AGFD in matters of wildlife concerns, special attention should be given to the section of the Solar Guidelines focused on “Avoiding or Minimizing Impacts” and the recommendations contained therein.
In addition, AGFD identified several areas in which information regarding the impacts of utility-scale solar development on wildlife and habitats is lacking. Specifically, AGFD believes that research is needed on the following topics:
Determine the “effective footprint” of utility-scale solar development so mitigation strategies can be implemented at the spatial extent of the impact.
Need to determine the potential effects of a proposed solar project on the demographics of
select wildlife species.
Evaluate the alteration of vegetation and micro-climate adjacent to solar facilities.
Identify the impact that utility-scale solar development has on wildlife corridors.
Evaluate the movement and behavior patterns of select wildlife species (e.g., ungulates,
grassland passerines, raptors) pre- and post construction
Examine the impacts to migratory birds and bats.
Develop mitigation strategies to reduce the impacts of water impoundments associated with
The time right for this effort. I know first hand how the international market is seeking solutions to environmental challenges regarding dust control and soil stabilization for a multitude of major projects around the world. We track the visitors to our website and international visitors have become a significant percentage of traffic. These visitors are not only spending time on our site learning about our products and services, but also requesting for quotes on a variety projects that need environmentally-friendly solutions. We have active projects in India, Egypt, Spain, Italy, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and the UK to name a few, so the time is certainly right to help both US companies and international markets expand their relationships and help provide environmental goods and services at lower costs and efficiencies.
Below is a recent article outlining the process the US Trade Representative is moving on.
This CNN Q&A regarding the war in Afghanistan struck a chord with me. The environmental difficulties our troops encounter is really unimaginable for most of us. Just reading this list of questions and answers caused me to stop and pause, almost tasting the “choking sandstorms” soldiers weather in the summer. In just a few sentences regarding their challenges, you cannot but be affected by the condition of unpaved roads and the threat they pose to our troops; much is being done and much more needs done to counter these conditions. Midwest has helped the military in the past with similar dust issues, as illustrated by Major Steven A. Baker in this article published in Engineer – The Professional Bulletin of Army Engineers.