2008-10-18 / Front Page

COUNTY ASKED TO REGULATE WATER WELL DRILLING

By Travis Moshier Endeavor News

Judy Bear of Coudersport Well Drilling used a model of a typical subterranean setting to demonstrate the water cycle and the potential for contaminants to migrate far from their source. Bear believes the county should regulate well-drilling in the absence of state regulations. Judy Bear of Coudersport Well Drilling used a model of a typical subterranean setting to demonstrate the water cycle and the potential for contaminants to migrate far from their source. Bear believes the county should regulate well-drilling in the absence of state regulations. Potter County Commissioners received a lesson in water movement and protection during their business meeting last Thursday.

Judy Bear, owner of Coudersport Well Drilling, gave a demonstration on how water migrates through the table and how contaminants can affect water sources hundreds or thousands of feet away.

The main purpose of her presentation was to persuade the commissioners to consider passing an ordinance to protect one of the county's most valuable resources.

"You have to go to school to be a beautician," she said. "Any of you for $60 can send the paperwork to Harrisburg and become a well driller."

This lack of formal education for drillers is something that Bear wants the commissioners to be aware of and protect against. She added that the state does not have legislation regulating well drilling.

"Based on the lack of state regulations, are you recommending we create our own?" asked Commissioner Paul Heimel.

"Yes," was Bear's simple and direct response.

The commissioners also inquired about the potential of the local oil and gas drilling surge to adversely affect water quality.

Bear replied that she had not encountered an incident where an oil or gas drilling company had not corrected water damage that occurred from the drilling operations.

Another concern of Bear's is the amount of water the drilling operations require. She cited one application to draw water from the Susquehanna River basin that would require 4.9 million gallons of water per day.

She added that it's important for residents to be educated about water quality. Bear also agreed to serve on a steering committee that the commissioners plan to appoint for oversight and public education on water quality issues.

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