Frack Water Meeting Tonight

WHEELING – Residents referring to themselves as “Wheeling Water Warriors” have the chance to question GreenHunter Water officials about the company’s plans to recycle natural gas frack water in Warwood.

John Jack, GreenHunter’s vice president of business development, and other company leaders are scheduled to be on hand for a public meeting at 7 p.m. today in Wheeling City Council Chambers on the first floor of the City-County Building, 1500 Chapline St.

“If people want to talk about radioactive materials, I don’t have those reports. All I can tell you is that we test our water every day,” said Jack, noting federal and state regulators have found no problems with GreenHunter’s plant along Ohio 7 in New Matamoras.

“Those regulators can show up any time, any day, to test our water,” he added regarding staff from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

Although GreenHunter’s recycling process removes suspended solids from the frack water it recycles, Jack said trace amounts of chemicals and salts will remain in the water. Even though radium and uranium are considered radioactive, he said these elements will be minuscule in volume.

But that amount may be too much for Warwood’s councilwoman, Gloria Delbrugge.

“I am not in favor of this, but I am only one person,” she said, and she believes plenty of Warwood residents will attend the meeting, along with some from the Woodsdale neighborhood. “This affects anyone who gets water from the Wheeling Water Plant – not just Warwood.”

Delbrugge said she believes City Manager Robert Herron will be on hand during the meeting, but she was not sure about other members of council.

“I just know people have a lot of questions. Hopefully, they can answer some of the questions,” she said.

After treating frack water at the North 28th Street site, GreenHunter plans to ship brine water – the vast majority of its volume, according to Jack – by truck back to well sites for re-use. Solid waste would go to a landfill outside Parkersburg, W.Va., with liquid waste taken for disposal at one of several deep injection wells.

The company also wants to eventually transport some of the waste by barge. Several federal agencies, including the U.S. Coast Guard, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Transportation, Department of Energy and the Office of Management and Budget, continue to review whether fracking waste can be shipped on inland waterways via barge. Jack contends there is less chance of an accident on the Ohio River compared to roadways.

There is also a disagreement between city leaders and GreenHunter officials over whether the company has the authority to use the docks in place along the Ohio River for barging. The city contends the area from the Wheeling Heritage Trail to the river is zoned for residential use, but GreenHunter leaders believe their utility easement should allow them to utilize a pipeline running under the trail to send material to the barging area.

“The barging is in phase two of this,” Jack said. “Right now, we are just looking to get our plant up and running so we can transport water by truck.”

Jack also hopes those who question his company’s work will at least give him a fair hearing.

“We want to have a good rapport with Wheeling. I think most people would welcome a new business to a town that is going to provide some new jobs,” he said.