2012-12-15 / Front Page

Massive water plant planned

‘Frac’ water facility near Allegheny headwaters

Ground is expected to be broken in the coming months for a massive water treatment plant on a 34-acre tract near Ulysses, not far from the headwaters of the Allegheny River.

Details of the Headwaters Reclamation Project were spelled out for Potter County Planning Commission (PCPC) members Tuesday. Their main concerns centered on the high volume of tanker truck traffific that will enter and exit the plant off Rt. 49, just south of Ulysses Borough.

Plan calls for a 12-acre, “zero-discharge” water recycling facility to serve companies providing water for deep natural gas well drilling across a wide area.

The plant will run ‘roundthe clock and have the capacity to process up to 3 million gallons of water per day. However, daily treatment average is being estimated at 500,000 gallons. Contaminated hydraulic fracturing waste water will be trucked to the treatment facility and the recycled water will be resold for additional use in gas wells.

Operator is RevH2O, LLC. Pa. Dept. of Environmental Protection has already approved the project. The company now awaits a hazardous waste disposal permit.

David Kailbourne from RevH2O told PCPC the plant will “press” the solids out of the dirty water. They will be kept in a holding tank until they are transferred to a licensed landfifill. About 10,000 pounds of sludge will be trucked from the site every two days.

Given the environmental sensitivities, the company said it has put signifificant time into ensuring that no contamination can escape the facility and get into nearby Ludington Run.

Water entering the plant will be tested. If radioactive or otherwise unacceptable water is detected, the load will be rejected.

Plan calls for four bays, each equipped with a canopy and surrounded by a trench for catching any water that spills. Each bay will also contain a catch basin for drips and or spills. The bays will be made of concrete, lined with steel and glass. Under the concrete, there will be a safety “membrane” for extra protection against spills getting into the ground water.

“We complimented them on the safety aspects of their plan,” PCPC Director Charlotte Dietrich said. “They are going above and beyond what they are required to do.”

Other components of the plant are two 33-foot-tall, 72-foot-diameter holding silos connected to a large steel building containing the water-fifiltering equipment. A dissolved air flflotation method will be used to clean the water. The process is described by RevH2O as “completely mechanical, chemical-free, with zero emissions.”

RevH2O offificials do not need PCPC approval, since Ulysses Township has its own planning agency, but the countywide organization was asked to review the plan and comment.

“We have major concerns about traffific,” Dietrich said. “They are expecting 200 trucks a day and have been permitted for up to 700. That location can be extremely dangerous, particularly in winter months.”

In a letter to Ulysses Township planners, PCPC suggested that a traffific study be conducted to determine if warning signs and a turning lane would alleviate potential traffific issues.

Members of the Ulysses Township Planning Commission recently heard details of the plan, but could not approve it because the company has not received all of its state permits.

Construction is tentatively planned to begin in April and take upwards of three months.

RevH2O bought the property from James and Sandy Hoopes.

Asked why the company wanted to build in the headwaters area, rather than a region with more intense gas-drilling, a REVH2O representative cited a business relationship the fifirm has already established with Hoopes Trucking for the hauling of gas drilling waste water.

Kailbourne said the plant will require three or four employees for each of its three daily shifts. The company plans to start with trained employees brought in, and within six months, transfer the operation responsibilities to locally hired workers.

Among components of the funding package was a $250,000 economic development grant from the nonprofifi t Ben Franklin Technology Partnership.

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