Monday, May 3, 2010

Chief Violates Water Withdrawal Permit

May 1, 2010

Water withdrawal violated drilling permit

Kathy Mellott
This is not my work - but a great article

ROCKWOOD — A Texas company is in violation of its permit for the drilling of a Marcellus Shale gas well because the company withdrew water from the Casselman River without approval, a state official said. Chief Gas & Oil, under a permit from the Department of Environmental Protection, recently opened a second natural gas extraction well site in Jefferson Township, Somerset County.

DEP spokeswoman Helen Humphreys said the company had been approved to pull water from the Casselman River for the drilling of its Saylor Well in Middle Creek Township, opened in 2009. But the permit did not include this latest endeavor. “They said they misunderstood,” Humphreys said. “They thought they were approved to remove water for these newer wells and they will be coming in to discuss this with us.”

Humphreys said the action is a violation, but said she is not in a position to discuss specifics about enforcement.
Well drilling operations have popped up across the state as gas and oil companies race to reach the rich underground natural gases found in the Marcellus Shale beds running under about two-thirds of Pennsylvania and in a number of other states.

The Saylor Well was completed last year. Drilling on the new well in Jefferson Township has been completed, but the fracking – use of water to fracture rock needed to gain access to the gas – is not yet done, said Chief Gas & Oil spokeswoman Kristi Gittins. The state was made aware of the permit violation after some Somerset County residents questioned the withdrawals by tankers using a boat docking site at Roberts Landing near Rockwood.  Gittins said the company misunderstood that the permit was for a specific well.
“We were in violation to remove water from that source,” she said. “We made a mistake by withdrawing water for that particular well.”  The violation is not expected to impact the Jefferson Township well development because the company has the water it needs through other approved sources, Gittins said.
Drilling is done primarily with air, but the water is needed for part of the fracking process, she said
The water haulers stirred the ire of locals after the tankers using Roberts Landing made access difficult for others attempting to use the launch. 
At one point, large rocks positioned to push the tankers back were removed, said members of the Casselman River Watershed Association. Damage also resulted to the cement structure, said Roger Latuch, president of the watershed association. Roberts Landing was one of five docks built by volunteers with funding from a number of sources including private businesses, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and Somerset County Tourism grants, Latuch said.

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Again not my work - great article

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