The Fresh Water Accountability Project, an anti-fracking group based in Michigan, has filed a frivolous lawsuit against the Patriot Water Treatment facility and the City of Warren, OH, claiming they are processing frack chemicals at their plants that don’t get processed enough–and consequently get released into the Mahoning River. This is not Patriot Water’s first time in court. Patriot has had a long-running feud with the Ohio EPA and Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR)–a feud that goes all the way back to 2011 (see MDN’s string of Patriot Water stories here). Patriot processes frack wastewater at it’s Warren plant and then disposes of the wastewater by using the local Warren municipal sewage treatment plant. That is, Patriot strips out all of the really nasty stuff, and then the sewage plant finishes off the process and the water is then released into the Mahoning River, near Youngstown. The OH EPA and ODNR pulled Patriot’s permits to operate for a four-month period in 2012, but Patriot sued and won the right to continue operating, sending their wastewater to the sewage plant. Everything is legal. So now a non-profit group, Fresh Water Accountability Project, is going to try and shut down Patriot with a new lawsuit. If Fresh Water Accountability loses, can we shut them down? At the very least, their tax-exempt status should be stripped away for engaging in overtly political activities…
Patriot Water Treatment of Warren, OH has had a long-running feud with the Ohio EPA and Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR)–a feud that goes all the way back to 2011 (see MDN’s string of Patriot Water stories here). Patriot processes frack wastewater at it’s Warren plant and then disposes of the wastewater by using the local Warren municipal sewage treatment plant. That is, Patriot strips out all of the really nasty stuff, and then the sewage plant finishes off the process and the water is then released into the Mahoning River, near Youngstown.
The OH EPA and ODNR pulled Patriot’s permits to operate for a four-month period in 2012, but Patriot sued and won the right to continue operating (and sending their wastewater to the sewage plant). In relation to the shut-down, Patriot is suing for damages and the ODNR has not been altogether forthcoming with emails and paperwork requested by Patriot as part of the lawsuit. So the OH District Court of Appeals told the ODNR yesterday to comply, or else…
A feud that stretches back to June 2011 between shale wastewater treatment company Patriot Water Treatment of Warren, Ohio and the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources continues.
The latest skirmish in what has become a legal battle is over the ODNR’s order to D&L Energy to stop shipping wastewater to Patriot’s Warren plant:
Patriot Water in Warren, Ohio lost its permit to dispose of treated shale gas drilling wastewater via the Warren municipal wastewater treatment plant earlier this year. A few weeks ago they won a ruling against Ohio’s EPA (OEPA) and thought that would allow them to restart shipments of treated wastewater, but the OEPA said “not so fast” and has steadfastly refused to reissue a permit to allow it (see this MDN story for background).
Last Friday the president of Patriot Water, Andrew Blocksom, issued a strongly-worded statement saying the OEPA and Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) treatment of Patriot is tantamount to government abuse, and it needs to stop.
We get the full text of Blocksom’s statement from the Youngstown Business Journal:
Patriot Water in Warren, Ohio is fighting a battle on both the legal and publicity fronts. Yesterday they scored some points in the publicity column by (finally) getting a representative from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) to tour their facility.
Brief background: Patriot’s facility processes wastewater from hydraulic fracturing, removing the nasty stuff so the water is clean and able to be disposed of through the local Warren municipal wastewater processing plant. But the Ohio Attorney General, Mike DeWine, and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency rescinded Warren’s permit to accept the wastewater from Patriot, saying Patriot’s technology is not up to scratch (see this MDN story for more background on Patriot’s legal squabble with the OEPA).
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reached out to MDN to let us know that there is an ongoing issue with Patriot Water in the City of Warren, Ohio. In short, Patriot is still not allowed to send the fracking wastewater they treat to the Warren municipal sewage treatment plant for disposal.
Last week MDN highlighted that Patriot had apparently won their case against the EPA with the Environmental Review Appeals Commission (see this MDN story). However, the Ohio EPA says “not so fast.” They have a different interpretation of what the ERAC ruling says, and they maintain the permit they’ve issued to the City of Warren has not (and will not) change, meaning Patriot will still not be allowed to dispose of treated wastewater via Warren.
Here’s the statement from Ohio EPA Director Scott Nally on the ERAC ruling:
Earlier this year MDN reported on the story of the Patriot Water Treatment facility in Warren, Ohio. Patriot accepts and treats raw fracking fluid from Marcellus drilling operations, removing heavy metals, bromide and other contaminants. Last fall, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, a Republican who seems to be rather anti-drilling in his actions, declared that Patriot’s permits were illegal because they were not using the latest technology (see this MDN story).
The Ohio EPA took DeWine’s findings as a cue to go after Patriot to shut them down. They did so by not allowing the City of Warren to accept Patriot’s treated wastewater. With no place to send the treated wastewater, Patriot had to shut the plant down in April. Patriot appealed the EPA decision and on Tuesday, Patriot prevailed. The plant will reopen today.
In the complicated, ongoing story of fracking wastewater treatment in Warren, Ohio, the existing permit that allows the Warren Water Pollution Control Facility (sewage treatment plant) to dispose of treated brine water in the Mahoning River expires today. But because the renewal of the permit is something that has been appealed, according to Ohio EPA rules, the facility can continue to accept brine water from fracking.
The future of wastewater treatment plant in Warren (Trumbull County), Ohio that handles fracking wastewater from Marcellus Shale drilling is now in doubt. The state attorney general has ruled that the permit granted to the Patriot Water Treatment plant in Warren was granted illegally.
Patriot Water operates a Marcellus Shale wastewater treatment plant in Warren, Ohio—in the northeastern part of the state, not far from the border of PA. Patriot pre-treats drilling wastewater and then sends it to the Warren municipal sewage treatment plant where it is further processed and released to the Mahoning River. Patriot has invested $3 million and has hired 45 people to operate the plant.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) has told the Warren municipal sewage treatment plant their permit to accept Patriot’s treated wastewater will not be renewed when it expires in July 2012, even though there has not been a single “finding” or violation issued by the OEPA to Patriot.
The first Marcellus Shale wastewater treatment plant in Ohio (Trumbull County) is now open for business, with more on the way:
Last week, Patriot Water LLC withdrew their application to convert a former car dealership on the edge of the Village of Owego, NY (in Tioga County) into a wastewater treatment plant to deal specifically with wastewater from Marcellus Shale drilling in Pennsylvania, and from New York, when drilling finally begins there.
Each well drilled in the Marcellus will use approximately 3 million gallons of water during the process of hydro fracturing. Much of that water comes back out of the ground and needs to be treated so it can be re-used in drilling. Some of it will be treated and returned to area waterways, which is no different than the local sewage treatment plant. The fluids entering the environment from any wastewater plant must pass rigid tests to ensure no pollution occurs.
So the news that Patriot Water was planning to build and operate such a plant was good news for the Southern Tier of New York, bringing jobs and tax revenue to Tioga County. But one problem: The proposed site was very close to residential areas. Yes, it is zoned industrial, but it would mean four trucks an hour, 24 hours a day running down residential streets, and local folks didn’t want it. Can’t blame them.
But! Could Tioga County not have come back with a counter offer? Another location nearby that is not close to residential areas? Was there any kind of effort made at all? It appears not. And so, on March 3, Patriot Water said “no thanks” to Owego and Tioga County.
MDN recommends Patriot have a look at nearby Broome County, NY. There’s a couple of industrial parks close to Interstates 81 & 86 (NY Route 17) in the Conklin and Kirkwood areas, and those locations have truck traffic all the time. Perhaps the members of the town planning boards in Broome County will actually show up for meetings (unlike the Tioga County Planning Board, five members of whom abrogated their duties by not showing up for a crucial meeting on the Patriot request). Come on over to Broome, Patriot!
Owego Pennysaver (Mar 3) – Patriot Water, LLC withdraws application for Taylor Road site
Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin (Feb 17)
Owego wastewater plan hits snag
Patriot Water Treatment wants to build a wastewater treatment plant in Owego, NY. The plant would take in fracking water from drilling operations in the region, treat it, and return the water back to drillers to be used again. According to Andrew Blocksom, of Patriot, the resulting treated water is “cleaner than my tap water.” This new plant will bring 20 fulltime jobs and tax revenues to the community, and is needed for area drillers. But, it also will bring traffic, which is a concern:
Approximately four trucks per hour for 24 hours a day would enter the facility with fracking water. The facility would treat the water, distilling it in a vacuum, and provide distilled water back to trucks to return it to natural gas drilling sites.
Neighbors of the facility and those that live along proposed truck routes voiced concerns about spills and the toxicity of the incoming fracking water.
“I don’t think 24 hours, seven days a week is reasonable,” Village of Owego Mayor Ed Arrington said. “If there was another way, I wouldn’t oppose it.”
The Tioga County Planning Board was due to make a recommendation on whether or not the Village of Owego Planning Board should accept the plan. Unfortunately, five of the Tioga County Planning Board members were AWOL from the meeting, so the final vote was 5 to 2 to recommend, but not the required 6 affirmative vote minimum that would be needed for an official recommendation. Marcellus Drilling News wants to know why five members were missing from such an important meeting? For or against the facility is not the issue—Planning Board members are supposed to be present and represent the people. This is dereliction of duty in our humble opinion.
No word on who was absent, and no word on what the next step is for Patriot now that it appears the process is stalled.
Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin (Oct 28):
Drilling processor targets Owego site
From the Oct. 28th Press & Sun-Bulletin:
A plant to treat waste from the Marcellus Shale is on the drawing board in the Town of Owego.
Patriot Water Treatment pitched its plans to convert a former car dealership at 936 Taylor Road to a waste water treatment plant for Marcellus drillers at a planning board meeting Tuesday night. The proposal calls for installing holding and processing tanks in the existing building to treat round-the-clock shipments of drilling waste water, according to information from the planning board.
The plan, recommended for approval by the Tioga County Planning Board, estimates traffic from industrial waste haulers would average 96 trucks per day (four per hour), seven days a week. Haulers would use Day Hollow Road, Bodle Hill Road and Taylor Road to access the facility.
Of course, anything to do with drilling is subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) opposed by the Press & Sun-Bulletin. The thought they want to leave you with is trucks lumbering down your street in the middle of the night hauling nasty chemicals ready to spill out on your front lawn.
I know I would not want trucks round the clock going by my house–but–actually, they do! I live not a quarter mile from State Route 17 (the future I-86) and the traffic noise, especially from large trucks downshifting on a nearby hill, is 24×7. Traffic, especially if it’s mostly in the daytime, is a fact of commerce.
Let’s let the good citizens of the Owego Town Board perform their due dilligence and render a decision that is fair to all the citizens of Tioga County. If the proposed location is too close to homes and traffic will be an ongoing disturbance, they should deny the permit. If not, grant it and reap the benfits of more jobs and more tax revenue from a new business in the area.
I have confidence in our locally elected representatives to make the correct decision in this case.