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Supervisors discuss Marcellus drilling concerns

December 3, 2010

From left, supervisors Dave Mattiuz, Mike Keller and Randy Gradizzi discussed problems with the surface of a new multi-use court at Fox Township Community Park during their meeting on Wednesday evening. Photo by Becky Polaski

The Fox Township Supervisors discussed Marcellus gas drilling in the township during their recent meeting and according to supervisor Mike Keller, the township is in the preliminary stages of working on a zoning ordinance to help place restrictions on future drilling in the township.
Responding to a question from an area resident regarding the number of Marcellus wells in the Boone Mountain area, Supervisor Randy Gradizzi stated that he believed there are about 27 more wells scheduled to be drilled in that area.
Keller added that the drilling is not going to go away.
"I met with the secretary of DCNR and asked him why there are so many out there and it appears that many of these are old permits and that's why they're so close together," Keller said. "The new permits are much further apart, so we're just in a bad spot right now."
Residents also expressed concerns about the type of materials from the drilling sites that are being sent to the township's landfill.
Gradizzi explained that some of the material from drilling sites is solidified and then buried in the landfill during a controlled process.
"How safe it is, I don't know. It's all new," Gradizzi said. "It's new to all of us. Some sites get permitted to actually bury the stuff right on the [drilling] site. They'll line a frac pond and they try to spin as much water out of it as they can. Then that [water] goes to a treatment facility and the remaining stuff goes into a lined pond. Then when they're all done they cover it over with plastic and then bury it."
Keller discussed some of the precautions in place at the landfill to limit the amount of radiation allowed in material at the site. He noted that the landfill has a number of detectors installed that are set off by levels only slightly higher than background radiation.
For more on this story, see the Dec. 4th edition of The Daily Press.

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