CLEARFIELD – While opposition continues against a proposed disposal injection well in Brady Township, county officials plan to assist residents who would be affected if their battle is lost.
On Tuesday resident Darlene Marshall of Highland Street Extension discussed her community’s concerns over the well with the Clearfield County Commissioners.
She said they do plan to appeal the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) decision to approve the well permit.
She said legal advice and help is needed though in order to file the appeal to the DEP Environmental Hearing Board. She noted that even if they file an appeal, it doesn’t mean they’ll win.
Additionally, Marshall said if they do win on an appeal, there would still be a possibility of that decision being revoked by the DEP down the road and the permit being reinstated.
Residents, she said, have already decided to begin looking for an alternative source of water. She said residents have also been encouraged to have water testing done, but many can’t afford it.
Marshall requested for the commissioners to help with possibly finding grant funding for water testing and making emergency plans for the future.
“We don’t want to be fighting this after the fact,” she said, adding “We need your help and anything the commissioners can do we would appreciate it.”
Commissioner John A. Sobel, chair, said the commissioners have shared in their concerns and opposition over the past seven years.
He suggested the county facilitate a public meeting with residents and engage elected officials from Sandy and Brady Townships and DuBois City.
Commissioner Mark McCracken said they could certainly make Lisa Kovalick, community development specialist, and Joe Bigar, emergency services director, available to assist in the process.
Commissioner Tony Scotto added that it would be hard to fight back against the disposal injection well since it had gained the approval of both the EPA and DEP.
He felt it was a good time to look to the future and said the Clearfield County Conservation District may be able to assist with water testing.
McCracken concurred. He motioned for the county to facilitate the public meeting, which was seconded by Scotto and approved by the board.
Sobel said the commissioners would announce the date and time of the public meeting in the future. He said it would be held in the Brady Township area.
According to a previously-published press release, on March 22, the DEP approved an underground injection control (UIC) well for disposal of wastewater associated with oil and natural gas production.
Windfall Oil & Gas Inc.’s Frank & Susan Zelman #1 well is proposed to be located in Brady Township, Clearfield County.
The U.S. EPA issued an underground injection control permit for the well July 28, 2015, allowing the company to inject wastewater into the well pending DEP approval of a drilling permit.
On Sept. 14, 2015, Windfall submitted its application to the Pennsylvania DEP.
The DEP held a public hearing on the application March 7, 2016 in Dubois, and received testimony from approximately 50 individuals that was incorporated into a comment response document.
In addition to the permit application, the DEP reviewed Erosion and Sedimentation Control and Post Construction Stormwater Management Plans, Control and Disposal Plans, the application submitted to EPA, approved EPA permit and public comments.
This permit includes special conditions including seismic monitoring equipment to ensure early detection of even minor seismic events.