Allegheny River Town Debates Fracking Water Treatment Plant
In a sprawling column for the Pittsburg Post-Gazette, Don Hopey reports on the political, cultural and environmental issues surrounding a private company's proposed facility to treat wastewater from fracking operations at an existing sewage treatment plant along the Allegheny River.
"The proposal, which the state Department of Environmental Protection is considering permitting, would allow Epiphany to accept and store truckloads of wastewater — up to 400,000 gallons a day — from shale gas drillers. That water would be injected into a natural gas heated-evaporation and distillation boiler where salts and other chemical contaminants would be removed. Up to 42,000 gallons a day of the remaining water would be piped through the municipal sewage treatment plant, then discharged into the Allegheny River."
Those with serious questions about the project include a typical assortment of conservation organizations, as well as a notable number of government entities including the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, the New York State DEP, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
It's also strongly opposed by the Seneca Nation, whose members have not forgotten the events preceding the construction of the Kinzua Dam, nor have they forgotten that in 1974 their land was "inundated by radioactive waste" from a processing site in West Valley, New York.
Supporters say the fracking operations need somewhere to put wastewater, Hopey writes, and "also note that a more robust drilling presence could help fill the economic hole created when Coudersport-based Adelphia Communications Corp., then the fifth-largest cable company in the U.S., went bankrupt in 2002."
Conflict between the environmental risks and potential economic benefits of fracking have been at the center of the debate across the country. New York State banned fracking, only to have one of its more economically depressed regions threaten to secede.
- United States
- Community / Economic Development
- Government / Politics
- Land Use
- Allegheny River
- Coudersport Area Municipal Authority
- Seneca Nation
- U.S. EPA
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
- New York Department of Environmental Protection
- Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission
- U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
- Natural Gas
- Water Treatment
- Wastewater Treatment
- Wastewater Treatment Plant
- Water Pollution
- Environmental Regulation
- Oil and Gas
- Gas Drilling