Water withdrawal plan back on table in Old Lycoming Township

A company’s proposal to withdraw up to 250,000 gallons of well water a day in Old Lycoming Township is back on the table after it rescinded its application to supervisors in February.

A conditional use hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. on April 30 at the Old Lycoming Township Volunteer Fire Co., 1600 Dewey Ave., for supervisors to review Centura Development Co.’s plan for water withdrawal from the Lycoming Creek watershed basin.

The company has proposed to take the water from a site behind the former BiLo building at 3231 Lycoming Creek Road for use in the natural gas drilling industry. Centura Development was granted permission from the Susquehanna River Basin Commission on Dec. 14, 2012, for the planned withdrawal.

Robert Whitford, township administrator, said that the Planning Commission tabled review of the plans last week. Supervisors have not officially examined the company’s proposal, he added.

He said that Centura Development has modified its plans on how it would access the well site. Plans now call for the company to use a parking lot it owns to access the site instead of Colvin Road, according to Whitford.

In issuing its water withdrawal permit, the commission noted that it found that the company’s plans had “no adverse impacts” on the watershed.

However, several residents have opposed the plans because they rely on their own private wells for water. In addition, Bimbo Bakeries, 3375 Lycoming Creek Road, has expressed concerns because it uses well water for its manufacturing process.

More than 100 signatures from township residents have been collected on a petition against the water withdrawal.

In other business, supervisors approved a land development plan for a 24-unit storage facility on Misner Road owned by Michael McGee.

While supervisors approved McGee’s plan, they added several conditions including that his plan meets stormwater, driveway and buffer requirements.

McGee said he was disappointed with the time it took to get this far in his development for his business. He said that a previous township zoning and codes officer gave him incorrect information that added more money and delayed the project.

He said it will cost him more to develop the property to township requirements than it was for him to actually buy the land.

Supervisor John Eck said that McGee’s property is situated in a flood fringe zone, which requires additional oversight by the township.

“We do our best to work with any developers,” he said. “We have a certain amount of discretion, but don’t want to set a precedent.”