Township learns of Chesapeake plans
Smithfield Township supervisors have just learned of plans for a 756,000 gallon frack water storage facility in the township.
When asked for comment, Daniel Spadoni, community relations coordinator with the state Department of Environmental Protection Regional Director's Office in Williamsport, provided some details about DEP's recent action regarding the matter.
"On March 13, we issued a registration approval under General Permit WMGR123 to Chesapeake Appalachia LLC-Lamb's Farm Pad for a 756,000 gallon frack water storage facility in Smithfield Township," he stated in an email.
He explained that a "registration approval" is "an authorization to proceed with the proposed facility in compliance with the requirements in General Permit WMGR123 - Processing and Beneficial Use of Oil and Gas Liquid Waste."
An email was sent by The Daily Review to Chesapeake Media Relations. Brittany Thomas, with Chesapeake Media Relations, responded by saying, "We decline comment on this matter."
The Daily Review placed a call to the Lambs. The sons, who own the farm, were out milking, but the father, Roger, confirmed that the facility will be on the farm property and said that the sons seem "quite pleased" with the arrangement with Chesapeake. He had no other information.
The township received notification of the registration approval on Thursday, said township secretary Jennifer Chilson.
When contacted Tuesday, supervisors said they had not yet had a chance to fully review the paperwork, but planned to in advance of the board's next meeting, scheduled for 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 1 at the municipal building.
"We just heard about it," said supervisor Jacqueline Kingsley of the project.
Supervisor John Allford would not comment on the project before reviewing the documents sent to the township, but said residents have already approached him with concerns.
"They're concerned because we really don't know what is involved," he said.
Supervisors did not have any previous input in the process, Allford said. However, he said the board may have the opportunity in the future to comment or offer input.
The Daily Review obtained a copy of a March 13 certified letter from DEP to Eric W. Haskins, with Chesapeake Appalachia, LLC in Sayre. It's signed by Patrick Brennan, environmental program manager in waste management.
In this matter, it references the Residual Waste General Permit issued to Chesapeake for storage of oil and gas liquid waste to be used as a water supply to develop or hydraulically fracture an oil or gas well, and notes that the approval granted under the permit is contingent on Chesapeake complying with the permit conditions and the applicable provisions of the Residual Waste Management Regulations.
DEP said the department must be notified, in writing, upon completion of the construction of the facility and prior to the operation of the storage facility; the maximum volume of oil and gas liquid waste that can be stored at the facility at any given time is approximately 756,000 gallons; changes to the facility operation as described in the application require a modification to be submitted to the department; and compliance with the limitations and stipulations that have been set forth in the permit is mandatory.
In addition, the letter notes that "any person aggrieved by this action" may appeal to the Environmental Hearing Board, Second Floor, Rachel Carson State Office Building, 400 Market St., PO Box 8457, Harrisburg, Pa. 17105-8457. The letter states that appeals must be filed with the board within 30 days of receipt of written notice of this action, unless the appropriate statute provides a different time period. Copies of the appeal form and the board's rules of practice and procedure may be obtained from the board.
According to the General Permit, oil and gas liquid waste is a term that includes liquid wastes from the drilling, development and operation of oil and gas wells and transmission facilities, and the term includes contaminated water from well sites.
Also, it notes that the oil and gas liquid waste that is processed and beneficially used under this general permit shall not be mixed with other types of waste materials, including hazardous waste, municipal waste, special handling waste, or other residual waste, unless otherwise approved by the department in writing.