Task force discusses transport of hazardous materials

During a meeting of the Elk County Gas Task Force held earlier this week, task force chairperson and Elk County Commissioner June H. Sorg asked guest Bruce Manning, director of the McKean County Emergency Management Agency, about concerns some residents had brought up about trucks that transport hydrofracturing fluid or hazardous chemicals to and from Marcellus drilling sites. "We did have a meeting with some of the municipalities and DEP, and some of the people were concerned that the trucks that are carrying the frack fluid do not have the information [posted] on the trucks," Sorg said. Manning said while the federal Department of Transportation has a list of hazardous materials that require placard labeling on a transport vehicle, many chemicals do not meet DOT regulations to be labeled even if they are potentially harmful. "Unless the material meets certain requirements, then DOT says it doesn't need to be placarded," Manning said. For example, he said anhydrous ammonia has a nonflammable placard, even though it will burn in specific amounts and under specific conditions."But it doesn't meet the DOT regulations for a flammable gas or a flammable liquid, so therefore it's listed as a nonflammable gas because it doesn't meet that regulation," Manning said. Task force member and Elk County Commissioner Janis A. Kemmer asked how someone would find out what was in the fracking fluid if there should happen to be a spill. Pick up a copy of the Friday, June 15, 2012 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.