Triple Divide Caretakers Statement Opposing Frack Waste Treatment Plant at Genesee River Headwaters

Why Triple Divide Caretakers Oppose the Headwaters Water Reclamation Facility

Mary Ann Heston reads a statement from Triple Divide Caretakers opposing the construction of the Headwaters, LLC fracking waste treatment facility. © J.B.Pribanic

Mary Ann Heston reads a statement from Triple Divide Caretakers opposing the construction of the Headwaters, LLC fracking waste treatment facility. © J.B.Pribanic

We recognize that recycling wastewater from fracking is a good thing, since it reduces the hundreds of millions of gallons of fresh water natural gas drilling companies now remove from Pennsylvania’s waterways.

However, we believe that recycling water to be reused for drilling operations is better for everyone when it’s done on-site. This option would eliminate the many hazards associated with transporting fracking waste over public highways and endangering both our communities and environment. Some may argue that centralized water treatment plants provide better oversight of the toxic sludge that results from recycling. If so, such plants should be located in industrial zones.

The Ulysses facility will be in the watershed of Ludington Run, a High Quality stream and tributary of the Genesee River. This area is currently zoned for agricultural use, and we repeat the need for industrial facilities to be located within industrial use zones. Ludington Run is also a part of Potter County’s Triple Divide, which Trout Unlimited designated as the Number ONE location in Pennsylvania to protect from hydraulic fracturing activities. Although this facility is a “zero discharge” plant, a failure of equipment or operations, as in the form of trucking accidents, will have devastating effects beyond the headwaters.

It is only through a political exemption legislated in the Natural Resources Recovery Act of 2005 that oil and gas drilling wastes are not classified as hazardous waste. The term “Residual Waste” is misleading, because flowback water and brine from drilling operations contain many toxic ingredients, including known carcinogens: such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene.

David Kilbourne (Green Fleece), executive of RevH20, answering questions about Headwaters, LLC: a fracking waste recycling facility. © J.B.Pribanic

David Kilbourne (Green Fleece), executive of RevH20, answering questions about Headwaters, LLC: a fracking waste recycling facility. © J.B.Pribanic

DEP has recently announced that they are launching a new study to assess the levels of Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM) in Marcellus wastes. Waste from the Marcellus Shale can contain unusually high levels of NORM in the form of radium-226 and radium-228. We urge the Ulysses Township Supervisors not to approve this facility based on the grounds that fracking waste, as well as the technology being used to treat it, is still being studied.

The citizens of Ulysses Township are not the only Potter County residents who will be impacted by this facility. There are numerous pathways of exposure. All of us who live by the highways used by trucks transporting this waste are affected. Accidents will happen. They already have. Although officials of the company have said that there will likely be about 70 trucks a day coming through the facility, the permit allows up to 700 trucks per day, and we know the company also said it will be around 200 trucks a day… so how many is it? We urge the Ulysses Township Supervisors to require that all trucks potentially using this facility, regardless of size, only use designated routes that public and emergency responders can prepare for.

Les Rolfe of Save Our Streams PA, and also a Triple Divide Caretaker, asking questions about a fracking waste facility scheduled to be constructed at the Genesee River headwaters. © J.B.Pribanic

Les Rolfe of Save Our Streams PA, and also a Triple Divide Caretaker, asking questions about a fracking waste facility scheduled to be constructed at the Genesee River headwaters. © J.B.Pribanic

There has not been much drilling activity in Potter County, so we wonder why this facility is being planned for this area? Does the company plan to bring in waste from other counties or states? If so, where? What is the extent of travel? And then, where will the up to 10,000 pounds of toxic sludge this facility will produce every two days be taken? We urge the Ulysses Township Supervisors to reconsider the location of this facility because there are safer, more appropriate places for RevH2O to build it.

Marcellus wells bring Impact Fee money to the counties and municipalities where drilling occurs, but trucks hauling waste do not. They do, however, bring toxins into our environment and put stress on our roads and our bridges. Where will our municipalities get the money to repair the roads barraged by wastewater and sludge trucks?

New York resident demanding answers from RevH20 about the Headwaters, LLC fracking waste facility. © J.B.Pribanic

New York resident demanding answers from RevH20 about the Headwaters, LLC fracking waste facility. © J.B.Pribanic

In addition, we have learned that the planned facility will be located within the part of Potter County that both DEP and the EPA have designated an Environmental Justice Zone according to the 2010 census data. This means that any waste facilities proposed for such an area are required to include the public in the planning and permitting processes. This has not happened. We urge the Ulysses Township Supervisors to request that DEP re-evaluate the permits for this facility to include public participation.

Finally, we have urged the public to attend this meeting because we believe that officials at all levels of government should be held accountable as they make decisions that affect citizens and communities. We urge the supervisors to vote “No” on this facility until further questions and concerns are solicited from the public and addressed.

Sincerely,

Triple Divide Caretakers
triple_divide_caretakers_logo

Laurie Barr, a Triple Divide Caretaker, dressed up as a chef serving a menu of Chicken Marcellus, and Eggs Benzedict in protest of the proposed fracking waste water facility at the Genesee River headwaters. © J.B.Pribanic

Laurie Barr, a Triple Divide Caretaker, dressed up as a chef serving a menu of Chicken Marcellus, and Eggs Benzedict in protest of the proposed fracking waste water facility at the Genesee River headwaters. © J.B.Pribanic

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Public Urged to Attend Frack Waste Facility Meeting in Potter County

Public Urged to Attend Meeting of the Ulysses Township Supervisors

A recently organized advocacy group, the Triple Divide Caretakers, urges the
public to attend the next scheduled Ulysses Township Supervisors’ meeting on
February 13th at 6:30 PM. The Caretakers group hopes to discuss the proposed
triple_divide_caretakers_logoHeadwaters Water Reclamation, LLC, wastewater treatment facility with the
supervisors. The Ulysses Township Planning Commission has already approved
the project, and the township supervisors will likely be voting on it at the meeting
next week, which will be held in the large meeting room of the Potter County
Solid Waste Authority Building on Rte 49 just north of Gold.

A fracking waste facility has recently been permitted by DEP to be constructed one mile south of this sign. © J.B.Pribanic

A fracking waste facility has recently been permitted by DEP to be constructed one mile south of this sign. © J.B.Pribanic

There are various concerns that should be discussed in a public forum. Shale
gas waste is known to be radioactive, and the company proposing this facility is
using technology that so far does not seem to be independently tested. While the
recycling of shale gas waste water is important, this particular industrial waste
facility will be built within an Exceptional Value watershed at the headwaters
of Luddington Run, a tributary of the Genesee River, in an agricultural and
residential area, not an industrial one.

Currently, there is little drilling activity in Potter County, so why here? Why
now? Will the county be receiving waste from other counties and states?

Pictured are the headwaters of Ludington Run (an EV watershed), and an open field where DEP has agreed to place a fracking waste facility.

Pictured are the headwaters of Ludington Run (an EV watershed), and an open field where DEP has agreed to place a fracking waste facility. © J.B.Pribanic for more photos see: http://www.flickr.com/photos/29184238@N06/sets/72157632695664572/

HWR, LLC, is a subsidiary of REVH2O, LLC, a company that also distributes an
on-site, mobile treatment system, Sionix, which states on its own website, “Costly
and risky transportation of these highly toxic wastes no longer need(s) to cross
the busy highways and byways of rural America threatening told and untold
catastrophes.” http://www.sionix.com/applications/oil-gas

In December 2012, the area of Potter County where the proposed facility will
be built was designated by PA DEP and the EPA as an Environmental Justice Zone,
which requires that the public be a part of the planning and development of
waste facilities. However, according to Pat Brennan, Program Manager of DEP’s
Waste Management Division office in Williamsport, the registration for a General
Permit was received from Headwaters Reclamation, LLC, in the summer of 2012,
well before the Environmental Justice designation was announced in December.

After the General Permit has been issued, DEP is not required to hold a public
hearing or meeting and declines now to do so.

Apparently, the supervisors’ meeting will be the only chance for the citizens
of Ulysses Township and the rest of Potter County to voice their concerns and
ask questions about the facility before a decision-making body. Triple Divide
Caretakers hope that a civil and informed discussion will benefit the county
and those most directly impacted in the Ulysses area. The public has learned
about this project from reports in the local papers, but, until now, hasn’t
been invited to the discussion. Please attend. For more information, go to
http://www.tripledividecaretakers.org.

Pictured is a blueprint of the frack waste treatment plant scheduled for Ulysses Township, PA., at the headwaters of the Genesee River near Ludington Run.

Pictured is a blueprint of the frack waste treatment plant scheduled for Ulysses Township, PA., at the headwaters of the Genesee River near Ludington Run.