Posted by: Lawyer Sanders | January 20, 2010

Kentucky environmental attorney Sanders says West Virginia DEP has final guidance documents for gas drillers and a nifty software program to help with water withdrawl issues from WV streams.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (“WVDEP”) issued its final version of a guidance document entitled Gas Well Drilling/Completion Large Water Volume Fracture Treatments in January 2010. This important guidance document for gas drillers is basically the same as the draft version, except for information on how to determine if a stream can legally be used for water withdrawal.

To help with this thorny legal environmental issue, KWDEP has a nifty little program that explains water withdraw rules for taking water out of West Virginia streams.  KWDEP’s software program operates under two basic premises:  (1) if you withdraw water from a stream, you decrease the flow volume of the stream; and (2) if you decrease the flow volume of a stream, you decrease the aquatic flora and fauna of the stream.   That makes sense to me. [The tool is not meant to help you in deciding whether to return water or solids into a stream.]  

The software program can be accessed at  Thankfully, there is a “Help” section explaining how to use the software program.

The permit addendum referenced in the guidance can be found at the following web address:

WVDEP has important notes and disclaimers pertaining to the state’s  Water Resources Protection Act on its website, so READ the fine print before taking water out of a West Virginia steam.


  1. has been recently (September 6, 2010) upgraded to a newer version which is much easier to use. Just click on the watershed and you get a list of what streams (if any) water can be withdrawn from based on existing USGS stream flow data. The appropriate streams for withdrawal are also shown on the map as a dynamic layer with only appropriate streams shown. I managed the initial and 2nd generation application design and implementation projects.

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