On Tuesday, January 12 not many people in the
At issue: Conversion of the Bergstrasser 1 natural gas well into a disposal well. The Bergstrasser well, drilled in 1997 to tap gas trapped within the
Trenton-Black River formation, is located just northeast of the intersection of Armstrong Road and County Route 78 in the town of Pulteney – less than one mile west, and uphill, from Keuka Lake. The area is home to a number of vineyards and wineries, and is not only part of the wine trail but a tourist attraction.
According to reports from those who attended the Pulteney Town Board meeting last Wednesday, January 13, Town Supervisor Bill Weber made it clear that the town had only learned of the proposal some two weeks ago the DEC asked him to let the DEC be the lead agency on the SEQRA review of the project. Without consulting the rest of the town board, Weber gave DEC the nod to take over as lead agency. His reasoning: the town board would have reached the same decision.
Weber also said that the town has no involvement with the project – the town will only be involved when
applies for a special use permit, and that had not been done yet. He assured people that the town Planning Board will schedule public hearings. Weber also mentioned that because he has leases with Chesapeake he will recuse himself from any decision-making processes on the application. Chesapeake
What Weber neglected to say was that he had been corresponding with ALL Consulting, who was completing the environmental assessments for
. On September 23, Weber sent Steve Dutnell of ALL Consulting an e-mail letter noting that this was bound to be a hot topic and warning Dutnell to “get all your EPA and NYS DEC permits in place” before approaching the town for the necessary special permits. Chesapeake
wells into disposal wells may just be the trend of the future. Last year Fortuna received a permit from DEC to test the Mallula well in Van Etten, to see if it would be suitable for use as an injection well. Public outrage has kept the injectivity tests from happening, though the permit to conduct the testing may be renewed every 6 months over the next four years. Trenton-Black River
As more wells are drilled in the region – especially if the number of Marcellus wells is anywhere near the thousands anticipated – wastewater disposal will become an increasingly critical issue. While dumping salt water down old gas wells looks like a good solution to the DEC and the EPA, it looks like a lousy solution to residents who worry about contamination of their drinking water wells.