Seneca Resources Wastewater Recycling Plant Largest in PA

A few years ago Seneca Resources (wholly-owned drilling subsidiary of National Fuel Gas Company) purchased a wastewater treatment facility at the McKean County Landfill and began using it to recycle Seneca’s brine (wastewater). The operation was renamed Highland Field Services and now handles all of the “sourcing, handling and recycling of fluids associated with the Seneca’s Appalachian development program.” Because of the facility, last year Seneca was able to recycle 100% of it’s brine/wastewater, and because of that, some 75% of all the fluids Seneca used in their 2017 drilling activities came from the Highland facility. Put another way, Seneca had to acquire and use fresh water sources for only 25% of all the water they needed to drill and frack–far less fresh water was needed in Seneca’s operations last year than in previous years. Not only did the Highland facility handle 100% of Seneca’s wastewater, it also handled wastewater for other drillers too–a total of 7.9 million barrels between Seneca and other drillers, making Highland the largest oil and gas wastewater recycling facility in PA…
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Another Look at Aborted Coudersport Wastewater Treatment Plant

MDN previously reported on a promising brine wastewater treatment plant planned for Coudersport, PA by Epiphany Water Solutions. After JKLM Energy walked away from the project, in pretty short order the Coundersport Area Municipal Authority (CAMA) voted to revoke agreements it had with the project, which recently led us to declare the project dead (see Planned Potter County Frack Wastewater Treatment Facility is Dead). A local newspaper editor penned what is one of the most thoughtful, reasoned editorials we’ve seen in the fracking debate–about the Epiphany project’s demise. The editor says when you clear away the inflammatory verbal clutter surrounding the project, if the technology is sound and produces water from wastewater that is “clean enough to drink,” that’s laudable and “still worth pursuing.” The editor encourages Epiphany to find another location in PA for this much-needed project. Here’s an common sense editorial worth reading…
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Planned Potter County Frack Wastewater Treatment Facility is Dead

Those who once supported a cutting-edge technology wastewater treatment plant, proposed by Epiphany Water Solutions for Coudersport, PA, are now running away from the project as fast as they can. First was JKLM, the primary (only) customer for the project–the main reason for the project. As we told you on Monday, JKLM, which was rumored to also be the main financial backer, said they are no longer interested (see JKLM Pulls Support of Planned Potter County Wastewater Facility). Now comes the news that the Coundersport Area Municipal Authority (CAMA), which operates the local sewage treatment plant that was going to take the distilled water from the proposed Epiphany plant (clean enough to drink) and discharge it into the Allegheny River, has just voted to rescind the permits and contract they had with Epiphany. With friends like these…
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Clearfield County, PA Residents to Appeal Injection Well Approval

We suppose it was bound to happen. Several weeks ago MDN told you that the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) had given final approval to Windfall Oil and Gas to drill a wastewater injection well near Dubois, in Brady Township (Clearfield County), PA (see PA DEP Approves Wastewater Injection Well in Clearfield Count). Residents who live near the proposed injection well have opposed the plan from the beginning. They are now pledging to take the next step. What is that step? To appeal the DEP’s approval to the special court set up in PA to hear appeals of DEP decisions–called the Environmental Hearing Board. Clearfield County Commissioners are aiding residents in their fight against the injection well. However, the county and its residents are not putting all their hope in overturning the DEP approval. They’re also making backup plans in case the well is drilled–by testing water wells in the vicinity now, and by making “emergency plans” for the future–whatever that means…
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Trumbull Co. Residents Rally to Oppose 3 New Injection Wells

Town of Brookfield – Trumbull County, OH

Last December MDN told you about three proposed new injection wells planned for the Town of Brookfield, in Trumbull County, OH (see 3 More Injection Wells Coming to Trumbull County, OH). Highland Field Services (subsidiary of Seneca Resources/National Fuel Gas Company) brought two new injection wells online in Brookfield last year. Shortly after the two wells went online, Highland then floated a plan to build three more wells in close proximity to the existing two, a plan opposed by many in the town. Even though Brookfield Township trustees issued a “no more injection wells” letter to Gov. John Kasich and the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR), the ODNR ignored the letter and two weeks ago issued the necessary permits to build the three additional new wells (see ODNR Grants Permits for 3 New Injection Wells in Trumbull County). Last Thursday a group of town residents staged a rally against the three new injection wells. Do they have valid concerns?…
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JKLM Pulls Support of Planned Potter County Wastewater Facility

It’s always disappointing when our side backs down from a fight–especially when the other side is demonstrably lying. On Friday afternoon JKLM, the drilling company founded by Terry Pegula (owner of the Buffalo “Marcellus” Bills), announced it is no longer interested in processing brine (wastewater) from shale wells the company drills in Potter County at a proposed shale wastewater treatment plant in Coudersport, PA (see Shale Wastewater Treatment Plant Planned for Potter County, PA). The cutting-edge technology plant, proposed by Epiphany Water Solutions, was opposed by folks who, frankly, lied about it. The lies got so bad that lawyers for Epiphany (and JKLM) recently warned them to stop their lying (see Opponents Slandering Potter Co. Wastewater Facility Legally Warned). JKLM would have been the primary customer for the facility. On Friday, JKLM issued a short statement (below) to say they are no longer interested. We’re guessing they’ve pulled out because of the negative publicity, which is too bad, because it teaches antis that if they make enough noise and enlist lying media to aid them, they can shut down important projects like this one. Is this the end of the Epiphany project–at least in Potter County? JKLM was the primary customer AND financial backer. You do the math…
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Opponents Slandering Potter Co. Wastewater Facility Legally Warned

Is it free speech to make “false, destructive and defamatory statements” about a company and the project it proposes to build? Is it OK to pretend to be a news organization when you’re really just a shill for Big Green groups, and is your “speech” protected–when it’s false? Members of the Seneca Indian tribe and faux news outlet Public Herald have been put on notice, legally, by lawyers representing the proposed Epiphany shale wastewater recycling facility in Coudersport (Potter County, PA) and driller JKLM to “cease and desist” from their slandering, smearing false statements about the Epiphany project–statements that are misleading the public. Those served the legal notice say it’s an attempt to silence their free speech rights. What do you think?…
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Coudersport Council Votes to Oppose Frack Wastewater Facility

In January MDN told you that a new shale wastewater treatment facility that works in tandem with a local sewage treatment plant is on the way in Coudersport (Potter County), PA (see Shale Wastewater Treatment Plant Planned for Potter County, PA). Epiphany Water Solutions, via a subsidiary company called Epiphany Allegheny, plans to build a centralized water treatment facility in Coudersport to process brine coming from shale wells drilled by JKLM. That has brought out the antis who make all sorts of wild accusations. The main accusation is that brine contains radioactivity and that even processed water will contain some radioactivity and will, over time, affect the stream or river where it is released (in this case the Allegheny River). A Seneca Indian tribe that lives 65 miles downstream opposes the project claiming radioactivity will pollute them. Epiphany has pushed back against false claims of radioactivity in their processed water (see Spirited Defense of Proposed Potter County Shale Wastewater Plant). However, real science and facts have fallen on deaf ears. Coudersport Borough Council, which has NO jurisdiction over the facility nor over the Coudersport Area Municipal Authority’s sewage treatment plant that plans to dispose of the processed wastewater, voted last week to go on record opposing Epiphany’s plan. Epiphany says the vote is meaningless and the plant will get built, with or without Coudersport Council’s so-called approval…
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PA DEP Approves Wastewater Injection Well in Clearfield County

It takes a loooooong time to get a wastewater injection well approved and then up and running in Pennsylvania. Maybe that’s way there are less than a dozen of them in the entire state. In February 2014, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gave a “final” approval to Windfall Oil and Gas to drill a wastewater injection well near Dubois (Clearfield County), PA (see New Wastewater Injection Well Approved in Clearfield County, PA). But then antis threw a fit and the EPA decided to withdraw their approval in May 2014 (see EPA Issues “Final” Permit for PA Injection Well, Then Rescinds It). Somewhere along the way the EPA got its head straight and approved the permit again, and now, so too has the PA State Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP). Last week the DEP gave its approval for the Winfall Zelman #1 injection well, located in Brady Township…
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ODNR Grants Permits for 3 New Injection Wells in Trumbull County

Town of Brookfield, Trumbull County, OH

Last December MDN told you about three proposed new injection wells planned for the Town of Brookfield, in Trumbull County, OH (see 3 More Injection Wells Coming to Trumbull County, OH). Highland Field Services (subsidiary of Seneca Resources) brought two new injection wells online in Brookfield last year (see ODNR Approves Plans for 2 New Trumbull County Injection Wells). Shortly after the two wells went online, Highland then floated a plan to build three more wells in close proximity to the existing two, a plan opposed by many in the town (see Trumbull Residents Want Extra 60 Days to Fight 3 Injection Wells). Even though Brookfield Township trustees issued a “no more injection wells” letter to Gov. John Kasich and the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR), the ODNR ignored the letter and last week issued the necessary permits to build the three additional new wells…
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OH Legislators Propose Bill to Allow Frack Brine to Deice Roads

The shale industry produces a lot of water. You read that right. The industry not only *uses* a lot of water (roughly 5 million gallons per well for fracking), it also *produces* a lot of water. Some 80% of the water used in fracking never comes back out of the ground–it seeps into the ground and stays there. However, there is naturally occurring water from the depths–from far below what we think of as “the water table” that sits a few hundred feet down. When you drill a hole in the ground a mile, or two miles down–there’s water down there too. It’s super-salty (full of minerals), which is why it’s called brine. In the industry the phrase used to describe this naturally occurring water is produced water. And it comes out long after fracking is over and done. It comes out for years–decades even. Drillers have to dispose of it somehow. The preferred method is to recycle it and use it for other drilling. When brine is recycled and the minerals (i.e. salt) is removed, the salt can be put to good uses, like spreading it on roads during the winter. Antis paint a scary picture of environmental holocaust in using “fracked salt”–but it’s nonsense. A bipartisan bill in Ohio is getting fresh attention, a bill that will allow for the sale of “fracked” brine for deicing roads in the Buckeye State during winter…
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Spirited Defense of Proposed Potter County Shale Wastewater Plant

In January MDN told you that a new shale wastewater treatment facility that works in tandem with a local sewage treatment plant may be on the way in Coudersport (Potter County), PA (see Shale Wastewater Treatment Plant Planned for Potter County, PA). Epiphany Water Solutions, via a subsidiary company called Epiphany Allegheny, plans to build a centralized water treatment facility in Coudersport. That brought out the antis who made all sorts of wild accusations, including the Seneca Indians which live 65 miles down the Allegheny River from the proposed site (see Seneca Indians Fighting Proposed Potter County Wastewater Facility). The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently published an update on the controversy. It is an extensive article written by anti-fossil fuel “reporter” Don Hopey. The way it’s spun: shale wastewater has high levels of radioactivity (a false assertion, but it’s made nonetheless), and over time even treated wastewater with radioactivity will “degrade” the Allegheny River–a river that provides drinking water for “millions of people downstream, including Pittsburgh.” That’s the anti argument against this project, in a nutshell. Scare millions of people that their drinking water supply will be threatened by this nasty, filthy, vile recycling plant. However, the article uncharacteristically presents the Epiphany side of the argument, the counterargument to these false claims…
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Federal EPA Approves Permit for Plum, PA Wastewater Injection Well

Plum, PA

As MDN reported last July, the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the agency in charge of approving oil and gas wastewater injection wells, was actively reviewing an application and plan from Penneco Environmental Solutions (division of Penneco Oil Co.) to convert a plugged gas well into a brine (wastewater) injection well in Plum, PA–in Allegheny County, near Pittsburgh (see New Frack Wastewater Well on the Way in Allegheny County, PA). The good news is that the EPA has given its final approval for the project. However, Penneco has miles to go (a lawsuit & state permits) before they begin retrofitting the well…
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OH Supreme Court Rejects Anti Request to Stop Wastewater Disposal

The Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) is actively working on new regulations “regarding storage, recycling, treatment, processing, and disposal of brine and other waste substances.” That is, for wastewater treatment and disposal from the oil and gas industry. It’s taking the ODNR a while to hash out the new regs (they were instructed to do so back in 2014). However, in the meantime, ODNR issues special orders/permits on a case by case basis to allow wastewater treatment and disposal facilities to start up and operate. Hoping to shut down all drilling (in Ohio and other states that send wastewater to Ohio), the odious Food and Water Watch and misnamed FreshWater Accountability Project sued in the Tenth District Court of Appeals, arguing that because ODNR hasn’t released the new regs, they shouldn’t be allowed to keep issuing temporary/special permits. The Tenth District said the radical enviro groups didn’t have standing to file the case and dismissed it. On appeal to the State Supreme Court, the Supremes said the same thing. Therefore, ODNR’s authority to continue granting temporary/special permits for wastewater treatment remains in effect. Another huge loss for Food and Water Watch…
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Seneca Indians Fighting Proposed Potter County Wastewater Facility

Earlier this month MDN told you about a new shale wastewater treatment facility planned for Coudersport, in Potter County, PA (see Shale Wastewater Treatment Plant Planned for Potter County, PA). Epiphany Water Solutions, via a subsidiary company called Epiphany Allegheny, filed for a permit with the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) to build a centralized water treatment facility in Coudersport back in July 2017. The DEP held a public hearing in Coudersport two weeks ago to gain local resident’s input on the facility. One of the groups objecting to the plant–a plant which produces water clean enough to drink–is the Seneca Nation (local Indian tribe). The Senecas, which live 65 miles down the Allegheny River from the proposed site, are making all sorts of wild accusations. Things like this plant will “permit poisonous contaminants” to flow down river to where the Senecas live. The Senecas, according to Epiphany, have been given “inaccurate information.” Epiphany vigorously denies the wild claims made by the Indians. What’s really kind of funny (for us) is that Epiphany and the Seneca Nation are really both on the same “green” side. As we explained in our previous article, Epiphany started life as a company with a mission to pioneer the use of solar technology to desalinate water so people in poor countries have safe drinking water. Laudable goal. However, Epiphany found they actually need to turn a profit and pay bills first. They found that their technology works equally well for the oil and gas industry. The very same technology used to desalinate/decontaminate dirty ocean water and make it drinkable can (and does) desalinate/decontaminate brine (salty water coming out of the ground long after drilling is over and done). Same tech! There is no “poisonous contaminates” in the cleaned-up water from Epiphany–but try telling that to the Senecas…
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New Park Foundation “Study” Targets PA Conventional O&G Wastewater

For years now the radical Park Park Foundation has been buying its research from a few select professors at a few select universities. One of the scientists for sale is Avner Vengosh, professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment (see Duke Hit Piece on Shale Water Usage from Same Park-Sponsored Prof and Latest Case of Duke U Bought & Paid “Research” by Park Foundation). Here’s how it works: Park funds Dr. Vengosh’s “research,” and he conveniently “discovers” all sorts of nasty things about shale fracking, publishing his “research” in obscure, peer reviewed journals. Mainstream media picks it up and runs it. Readers who only scan headlines get the impression fracking is evil. Mission accomplished for Park (another hit on fracking) and for Vengosh (another buck in his pocket). That’s how it works in the world of bought-and-paid-for fractivism. We though Vengosh had reformed. In October 2016 he published a fracking wastewater study, funded by the National Science Foundation (NOT the Park Foundation) that found there’s really nothing to worry about after all when it comes to Marcellus Shale wastewater (see Duke U Researcher Tries to Repair Reputation with Wastewater Study). But Vengosh has had a relapse–perhaps he needs more money? Vengosh, with funding from the Park Foundation, has just published a new study that blames conventional (not shale) oil and gas development in Pennsylvania for an increase in radioactivity in streams/rivers where conventional (not shale) wastewater has been treated and released by local sewage treatment plants…
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