Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Impaired Streams List Released for Comments

Dear all,

Welcome once again to the "biannual" review of stream quality in Arkansas. For those of you new to the process, the state must define water quality standards for most bodies of water in Arkansas. Then, the goal is to maintain water quality to prevent that water body from becoming "impaired." If it is impaired, the state has 13 years to come up with a "solution" which is basically a TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) that the stream can stand of the particular "pollutant" that would take it off the impaired list. The section of the Clean Water Act (CWA) is 303d, thus the name of the list. There is also a narrative report that details the States findings (2010 Arkansas Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report.. 305(b) Report). It is not out yet, but you can find the 2008 report, which as based on 2004 data.

Citizens can comment on the list, even recommend that streams be added. There is a public hearing in Little Rock on February 24, 2010 at ADEQ headwaters. Comments will be accepted until March 10 at 4:30pm. The press release about the Report follows. The link to the actual report n the Hot Topics section of ADEQ's web site on the right side.

Contact Information: Aaron Sadler / 501.682.2287 / sadlera@adeq.state.ar.us
FOR RELEASE: February 8, 2010

The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) will hold a public hearing at North Little Rock February 24, 2010, to receive comments on the agency’s proposed 2010 Impaired Waterbodies List (commonly called the 303d List). The hearing will begin at 2:00 p.m. in the Commission Room at the ADEQ headquarters building; 5301 Northshore Drive.
Prior to accepting formal public comments at the hearing, ADEQ Water Division staff will present a short program discussing the proposed list. The presentation will include time for informal discussion and questions and answers before the formal public comment period begins.
The 303d List is developed by ADEQ every two years under provisions of Section 303d of the Federal Clean Water Act. ADEQ assesses water quality monitoring data from numerous locations around the state and utilizes a comprehensive assessment methodology to determine which waters are not meeting their designated uses as listed in the Arkansas Water Quality Standards (Regulation No. 2 of the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission).
Water quality data from stream and lake sampling sites were considered during the development of the proposed 2010 303d List. These sampling stations were either part of ADEQ’s statewide water quality monitoring network, special surveys conducted by ADEQ, or sites sampled by U.S. National Park Service within the Buffalo River Watershed.
Other water quality data from federal, state, and local government agencies, as well as from private entities, both within Arkansas and from adjoining states, were also evaluated during development of the proposed list.
A complete listing of impaired waterbodies can be found in the tables following the narrative of the draft 303d List. Copies of the list are available on the ADEQ’s Internet web site at www.adeq.state.ar.us or can be obtained by contacting Jim Wise in the ADEQ Water Division; telephone, 501-682-0663; e-mail, wise@adeq.state.ar.us.
Copies of the proposed 2010 Arkansas 303d List also are available for public inspection during normal business hours at the ADEQ’s Public Outreach and Assistance Division, located on the second floor of the ADEQ headquarters building, 5301 Northshore Drive, North Little Rock. In addition, copies of the list are available for public review during normal business hours at ADEQ information depositories located in public libraries at Arkadelphia Batesville, Blytheville, Camden, Clinton, Crossett, El Dorado, Fayetteville, Forrest City, Fort Smith, Harrison, Helena, Hope, Hot Springs, Jonesboro, Little Rock, Magnolia, Mena, Monticello, Mountain Home, Pocahontas, Russellville, Searcy, Stuttgart, Texarkana, and West Memphis; in campus libraries at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and the University of Central Arkansas at Conway; and in the Arkansas State Library, 900 W. Capitol, Suite 100, Little Rock.
Oral and written comments on the proposed 2010 303d List will be accepted at the public hearing, but written statements are preferred in the interest of accuracy. In addition, written statements will be considered if received no later than 4:30 p.m., March 10, 2010. Written statements should be sent to: Jim Wise, Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, Water Division, 5301 Northshore Drive, North Little Rock, AR 72118; e-mail: wise@adeq.state.ar.us.
Proposed revisions to the 2010 Arkansas 303d List will be incorporated into the 2010 Arkansas Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report (commonly called the 305b Report), after approval by the ADEQ Director


Gene Dunaway
POB 539
209 S. Peabody
Mountain View, AR 72560-0539
Home 870-269-3442
Work 870-269-5855
Cell 870-213-5784

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Frac Mining

If you haven't seen Split Estate yet on the Green or other channel which covers gas mining mostly in Colorado, I suggest you tune in the next time it is shown. This documentary is a real eye opener as to the health risks associated with this new method of horizontal drilling and fracting of the rock to release the trapped natural gas. Essentially during the fracting process, a million or more gallons of water are pumped down the well shaft along with a mixture of sand and other chemicals which the companies are not required to disclose. During this documentary an environmental researcher who apparently is able to break down some of the chemical composition of these drilling/fracting fluids lists some of the many chemical compounds. Of course this fracting fluid is pumped back out of the wells prior to beginning gas recovery and then must be disposed of. These pits are an environmental nightmare. A significant number of producing wells have blown out, and are burned creating hazardous air pollution. People are getting sick, people are having to move out and their property values have plummeted. In some cases people have simply abandoned ther dream homes and family lands. Methane gas has been seen bubbling up in local streams to the point where they can be ignited with a match. This new type of mining is growing leaps and bounds and is touted as the worlds solution to the energy crises. In reality, the firms mining this gas a take no responsibility for the environmental damage or the health problems which are occurring and if fact on this documentary seen as claiming the fluids are drinkable and completely safe.

Frac mining requires huge amounts of water and a special type of very fine essentially round sand particles. To support all the new gas mining operations, the search for more deposits of this fine sand are underway. A new sand mine is being planned in Izard County, a North Arkansas Ozark Region which has been noted for its pristine waters and many forests teaming with wildlife. This region is a huge recreational area providing world class trout fishing, deer, turkey, bear and other hunting opportunities. Canoeing and other water sports on our many streams and rivers is big business in this area. Another silica mine which has been in existence for a very long time at Guion in Izard County is planning on increasing its sand mining production 700%. And, other sand processing plants are in the works. Do we want our region destroyed by uncontrolled mining in our area? Are we willing to suffer the health consequences when frac mining moves into our area. Do we trust the new mining companies to tell the whole story when it comes to all the hazards to our air and water from these processes? Who will replace our ground water when the aquifers are pumped dry? Who will clean up our streams and rivers when they dump their waste water into our creeks? If you think ADEQ has the resources to oversee what is going on you are terribly mistaken. ADEQ has only 17 people committed to investigate and monitor all the mining, water and waste disposal sites in the entire State.

It is absolutely critical that our citizens become involved and learn the potential risks to our environment, Ozark way of life and our health. These energy companies don't give a damn about your welfare. Think they do? Please watch this video and come to your own conclusions as to whether this is what you want in your region and whether you believe you can trust these energy related companies!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Public Meeting Scheduled on Proposed Frac Sand Plant - Monday Oct 5, Calico Rock

Friends of the Rivers and folks in the Izard County area,

Over the past few weeks it has become clear that a number of "frac" sand mining and sand processing operations have plans to develop in Izard County. The need for sand for gas drilling, especially in the Fayetteville shale, is driving this development. This particular company is planning a large open quarry mine and already has a stormwater permit for 240 acres in a 1000 acre area they own with a multimillion dollar plant proposed. Unimen, the sand plant that has been in Guion for years has filed for permits to expand. At least one other plant has filed for permits.

People involved with Friends of Mill and Piney Creeks (FMCPC)have been leading an effort, with our partnership to understand and grasp the significance of this development and how it will affect our watershed and the streams in their area which flow into the White River from Piney Creek. The City of Calico Rock is considering drilling 3 wells for this company.

The White River Current, the Calico Rock newspaper, is sponsoring this event and it was front page news.

I wanted to share this release from FMCPC and ask that you share with those you think would be interested. We will be updating our web site and blog on this as we're able to get a handle on more solid information. This meeting should be crucial in that regard.

Gene Dunaway
Board Member
Friends of the North Fork and White Rivers

Public Meeting Scheduled on Proposed Frac Sand Plant

Monday, October 5, 6:00pm

Calico Rock Music Hall, Calico Rock, Arkansas

Evergreen Processing will share information about the project and be available to answer questions, as well as respond to any concerns and comments from the community.

Please attend if you are interested in learning details about the project.

Some of the issues of concern are:

  • The proposal to use 850,000 gallons of water per day (what will this do to wells in the area and to the aquifer?)
  • Excess water from processing will be discharged into Bailey and Pearogue Creeks which feed into Mill and Piney Creeks and then into the White River. What impact will this have on these waterways?
  • Noise and lights from a 20 hour per day operation
  • Air quality issue (frac sand is silica sand and in Wisconsin there are major concerns about safety regarding mining of this sand)
  • Impact on our roads – 40-60 trucks of sand per day will be shipped from the plant. Impact on traffic and wear-and-tear on the roads themselves
Quarry mines usually become big holes in the ground. Large scale quarry mining could change the entire character of our area. The Quorum Court should take action immediately to slow this process down until they can determine exactly what is going to happen and assure there is no risk to our water and property.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ozark Aquifer Declining - Conference Sep 17 Springfield Mo.

Here's an article on an event this week to examine, in part, the results of a $500,000 study on the decline in the Ozark Aquifer. "Shaping Our Water Future: Working to Ensure Adequate, Quality Water Supplies" is the focus of the Thursday-Friday event at the Doubletree Hotel in Springfield.

The study found that even with no additional pumping, the water table will continue to decline through 2030.

Here is a link to the article.

Toxic Waters - NY Times Series on Failure to Enforce Clean Water Act

Here is a link to the home page of a series the New York Times is doing on the lack of enforcement of the Clean Water Act.


Included is an interactive that will allow you to quickly find violators in your area.



Friday, August 7, 2009

AWAG Hires New Staff!

The Arkansas Watershed Advisory Group assists interested
citizens and organizations by promoting local voluntary approaches
to watershed management and conservation.

I am very pleased that ADEQ is reviving AWAG. AWAG has been a partnership between state and federal water related agencies and budding watershed protection groups. They have been instrumental in helping Friends get going, but the loss of Ellen McNulty had left the future of this effort in doubt. They have produced some excellent conferences as well.

If you've delved into Arkansas water regulation, you know it is an inpenetrable maze of agencies and regulations. Without the personal committment of leaders from these agencies, it would be impossible for citizens to understand where to start.

Kate has been keeping the effort alive for the last year. Sarah has been a passionate, self motivated and knowledgable advocate for water protection and a tremendous partner with Friends. We look forward to working with them both.

Thanks go to Teresa Marks for her efforts in keeping this alive.

AWAG also has an excellent web site. http://www.awag.org/

Here's the announcement letter.

August 6, 2009
Dear AWAG members,

I am writing you today to inform you of some exciting and new changes at ADEQ and for
AWAG. ADEQ has hired new staff to work with citizens, watershed groups, state and federal agencies, and fellow environmental groups. Our staff consists of: Sarah R. DeVries, as the Environmental Program Coordinator and Ecologist Kate Finefield. Some of you may have already been acquainted with them in their previous endeavors. In addition, the AWAG staff also works closely with Arkansas Project WET coordinators, Philip Osborne and Barbara Miller.

Kate joined the AWAG team in August of 2008, leaving a field ecologist position with the
Arkansas Department of Natural Heritage. Kate received her B.S. in Biology from the
University of Arkansas at Little Rock in May 2007. She has worked with various agencies
including the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Audubon Arkansas, and the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service’s 4-H Center. Kate’s past experience includes assisting with control burns, wetland education, watershed mapping, and a variety of environmental education activities. You may have received email updates and/or AWAG newsletters from Kate over the last few months.

Our newest team member is Sarah R. DeVries. Mrs. DeVries has worked the last four years as the Source Water Protection Technician for the Arkansas Rural Water Association and has served as an AWAG member during that time. Sarah worked with communities to create and implement source water protection plans. She involved the public, agriculture and civic groups to work together to minimize non-point source pollution on a sub-watershed scale. In addition,
Sarah has worked for the Arkansas Department of Health as a Pollution Control Inspector, an Engineer Aide for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, an Alternative Energy Store, a seasonal Park Interpreter for Arkansas State Parks, and a myriad of environmental education jobs.

We are pleased to have these two dedicated and well-qualified individuals to join ADEQ and to work with our veteran staff Philip Osborne and Barbara Miller. Please feel free to contact Sarah DeVries at devries@adeq.state.ar.us or Kate Finefield at nefield@adeq.state.ar.us..

Sarah Clem
ADEQ Branch Manager
Ph: (501)682-0660
E- mail: clem@adeq.state.ar.us

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Planning Session for Central Arkansas Water Forum - Aug 11

Dear Friends,

Please join us on Tuesday, August 11th at 4pm at Lilly's Dim Sum meeting room in Little Rock to share your thoughts and advice on how a public forum on Water in Central Arkansas might be able to support your efforts as a leader on water issues as well as help encourage better water policy from state leaders.

The Nature Conservancy, Audubon Arkansas and the Arkansas Public Policy Panel are collaborating on a project to build awareness of critical water issues across Arkansas in anticipation of a new state water plan.

The purpose of our meeting August 11th is to plan a public forum on water with you and other Central Arkansas leaders to be held in Conway later this summer/fall. We need your input on how we can be most helpful in supporting the ongoing work and issues in Central Arkansas.
We want to make sure that our efforts are complementary and helpful to yours. We want this effort to inform and advance new state policy to better manage our water resources, but also help advance some of your goals. Arkansas faces a variety of enormous challenges to providing enough clean water for people and wildlife, a sustainable water future. We are holding similar meetings in other parts of the state as well.

Planning Session for Central Arkansas Water Forum
Tuesday, August 11, 4pm
Lilly's Dim Sum meeting room
11121 N Rodney Parham Rd # 34B
We will have refreshments and expect the meeting to last no more than 2 hours.

Lilly's is just West of I-430 at the Rodney Parham exit, in the Market Place Shopping Center. Here's a link to google maps where you can also get directions. Lilly's phone number is (501) 716-2700‎.

TNC, Audubon Arkansas and the Panel, will be holding a number of forums around the state over the course of the next nine months to:
  • educate people about water issues in their region and across the state;
  • listen and learn from participants so we can define concerns, questions, and water policy goals of citizens;
  • recruit people to participate in a follow up in-depth workshop on water issues
  • facing Arkansas; and
  • develop a core group of leaders interested in working with us on state water policy issues.
Please join us August 11th to help us plan a water forum for Central Arkansas.
Please RSVP to Bill Kopsky at bill@ARPanel.org, or 501-376-7913 x 12, or call if you have any questions or comments.
We hope to see you on August 11th and to learn more about your work. Thank you.
- Bill Kopsky, Arkansas Public Policy Panel
- Tim Snell, The Nature Conservancy
- Ken Smith, Audubon Arkansas
PS: Please let us know if there are others who you think should be invited to this early planning meeting. Thanks!!
Bill Kopsky
Executive Director
The Arkansas Public Policy Panel
1308 West Second Street
Little Rock, AR 72201
501-376-7913 x 12
fax: 374-3935
The Panel is a 501(c)(3) putting the PUBLIC back in Arkansas public policy since 1963.
Organize to win.