Frack Water Plant Proposed in West Pa.
By SUMMER WALLACE-MINGER
For The Intelligencer
PARIS, Pa. – Several residents attended a Hanover Township Planning Commission meeting Tuesday to express concerns about the proposed development of a fracking wastewater recycling facility in the township.
Hydro Recovery of Blossburg, Pa. is negotiating to purchase an industrial-zoned parcel between Old Steubenville Pike and U.S. 22 from the Buncher Group. David Hedrick, vice president of site development, attended the meeting to present the proposal.
Hydro Recovery treats “flow-back water” – a fracking waste product, including a mixture of water, sand and chemicals that flow back out of a natural gas well – by filtering suspended solids and iron from the water and treating it with chemicals in 150,000 gallon batches. Dissolved solids and metals remain in the water, and the filter cakes are taken to a landfill. Once the water has been treated, natural gas companies re-use it in fracking operations.
The company plans to build six above-ground, double-containment tanks capable of holding 2 million gallons of water each on 20 acres, with potential to expand to another six tanks. In response to residents’ concerns about contamination in light of the recent spill in the Elk River near Charleston that left thousands without clean water, Hedrick said the facility could contain leaks of up to 110 percent of the largest tank’s capacity.
“There is a lot of safety that goes into it,” he said. “Everything’s double-contained.”
Hydro Recovery is inspected quarterly by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Waste Management and has not been cited for leaks or pollution, Hedrick said.
The company must secure a bond with the DEP, and, should the company go out of business for any reason, that money would be used to reclaim the site. Hedrick acknowledged he could sell the site to another company accepting municipal waste.
In addition to potential leaks, residents said they are concerned about traffic and noise and light pollution. The facility will average between 100 and 150 water trucks per day, with potential spikes of up to 220 trucks per day during peak periods. The facility will be open 24 hours a day.
Residents are concerned about traffic noise, wear on roads and the potential for accidents. Several of those in attendance asked about the traffic’s affect on school buses and congestion during concerts at the nearby First Niagara Pavilion in Burgettstown.
Hydro Recovery requested a traffic assessment from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, but PennDOT declined to conduct one, and the company has filed for a Highway Occupancy Permit, according to Hedrick.