Thursday, October 20, 2011
By jeanne starmack
City council sent a company’s proposal for a fracking-fluid disposal well to its environmental committee, saying it wants to research the risks first.
Council was asked to consider legislation that would have let the mayor and the city administrator negotiate with D&L Energy over its proposal to lease 3.5 acres of city property in the brownfields.
The company wants to drill a well and inject brine from fracking fluid that comes back to the surface at gas wells in Pennsylvania. Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a method gas companies are using to release natural gas from the vast Marcellus Shale. A mixture of water, chemicals and sand is injected into the shale to fracture it.
The disposal well would be 9,000 feet deep and accept 105,000 gallons a day of the waste, a company representative has told council.
The city would be paid $20,000 to let the company dig the well, then could make up to $90,000 a year on the lease.
Mayor Bill VanSuch and city administrator Jack Dill told council at its caucus meeting Wednesday that the legislation would allow them to negotiate, not allow the company to go forward.
“We’d bring it back to council,” Dill said.
But council members said they are wary.
“A few people in Struthers wondered why we haven’t had a public hearing. This is going to involve their streets more,” said Councilman Lew Jackson.
The land the well would be on, in the brownfields along Wilson Avenue in the Robinson Road area of Campbell, could be accessed only in Struthers via Bob Cene Way, he said. He said 20 to 30 trucks a day would bring in the waste.
“We have to look at this long and hard,” said Council President Juanita Rich.
“This is underground, and who knows, if it gets into our drinking water — I’m starting to have reservations regarding this,” said Councilman Mike Tsikouris.