Don't Dump PA's Oil & Gas Waste on The Seneca Nation. They don't want it either!
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Three months after Epiphany Allegheny LLC, withdrew a permit application, which if authorized by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) would have allowed wastewater from PA’s unconventional shale operations to be pre-treated and then sent to Coudersport Area Municipal Authority’s sewage facility where it would be comingled with sewage for further treatment and discharge to the Allegheny River, upstream of the Seneca Nation, another application is awaiting the PADEP’s approval.
The Bradford Sewage Authority (BSA) is poised to accept waste from ARANA Water Technologies LLC. Arana plans to treat waste from the area’s conventional wells then send it to BSA’s sewage facility where it would be comingled with sewage for further treatment and then discharged to Tunungwant Creek, upstream of the Seneca Nation. Tunungwant Creek joins the Allegheny River in Limestone, NY.
A stone’s throw from the Seneca Nation, the BSA is situated just eight tenths of a mile from the Pennsylvania/New York State line. The newly proposed O&G waste disposal plan has many New York State (NYS) and Seneca Nation residents wondering why the waterways that flow through the Seneca Nation and NYS are once again chosen for Pennsylvania’s often, very dirty, sometimes radioactive O&G wastewater.
There has been no public notification as of this writing. The Seneca Nation was not consulted in any of the phases of the plan. And according to the Bradford Era, Jeff Soward, president of ARANA Water Technologies LLC of Texas, said he expects the permitting to be approved in a matter of days.
Learning sketchy details about the plan recently prompted calls to the PADEP and also brought industry operators and concerned citizens from NYS, PA and the Seneca Nation to the Bradford Sewage Authority’s monthly meeting on June 19th. Citizens are seeking answers to their unanswered questions surrounding permitting, public health and safety and the threat this plan, if implemented would pose on Tununwant Creek and the Allegheny River.
Degawëno:da's a resident of the Seneca Nation attended the BSA board meeting on June 19th and reminded the board members of their responsibility to protect the water “our life’s blood” he explained “we all depend on this water.” This is going to be harmful to the environment, Degawëno:da expounded “it’s our sole responsibility to protect the environment and I encourage you to do so.”
Glenn Wahl of Little Valley, NY, a member of Defend Ohi’yo and other environmental advocacy groups also attended the BSA meeting and addressed the board. He raised concerns over the risks to the environment and the lack of public notification,” Unfortunately history shows that regulation in this region has not been strict enough to protect its waters.” He said it’s perplexing the BSA and Arana have been so quiet about the proposed waste fluid pre-treatment plant here, when they knew about the history of failures by the industry. It seems both entities would want to have the public fully aware of the proposal and to make it as transparent as possible. “If the proposed process is as good as claimed, It seems that there should have been meetings in Bradford to inform the public about this.” Wahl also noted the lack of Press releases by the BSA and Arana. ”obviously that’s concerning and it becomes more concerning when questions asked of Arana are answered ambiguously, when specificity and details are asked for, but the answers are vague and general. When supporting data and science is requested and none is given.
Wahl also cited studies including the Duke University Study which was published on January 19, 2018. That study concluded disposal of treated conventional oil and gas wastewater is the source of high radium concentrations in stream sediments downstream of (waste) facility disposal sites.
Mark Cline president of the Pennsylvania Independent Oil Producers (PIPP) and member of the Conventional Oil and Gas Advisory Committee (COGAC) spoke in favor of the proposed plan. He said the closest wastewater disposal facility is in Franklin in Venango County, he explained a six-hour round trip may cost $1,000. Cline said “It is something that is desperately needed.” Outside the board room Cline spoke with a small crowd that gathered and tried to dispel their concernss by explaining; we (conventional operators) “have no chemicals.”
We the undersigned request,
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection hold a public meeting, to explain the permitting process to the public and to answer their questions surrounding air & water quality, health, safety, and environment followed by a formal (at least) 30 day publicized public comment period before any permits associated with the project are authorized. We are requesting the PADEP explain:
• the technical nature of the proposed facility in clear and nontechnical language.
• the DEP’s regulations and permitting process.
• what impacts the proposed plan, if implemented may have on the water quality in PA, NYS and the Seneca Nation.
• how the downstream waterways would be protected and monitored.
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