Water withdrawal site in township debated

Another round of testimony was heard Thursday night during a fourth public hearing centering on debate to allow a water withdrawal facility to supply the natural gas industry to operate in Old Lycoming Township.

Project engineer Todd Colocino, who was hired by Centura Development, of 1000 Commerce Park Drive, to design a site plan for the proposed Marcellus Operations Center at 3231 Lycoming Creek Road, answered questions from John Eck, township supervisor and attorneys representing Centura Development and Bimbo Bakeries, of 3375 Lycoming Creek Road, which opposes the plan to withdraw up to 250,000 gallons of well water a day.

In fact, three more conditional use hearings have been scheduled to accommodate additional testimony. Those are scheduled for 7 p.m. on June 19, July 17 and July 24 at the Old Lycoming Township Volunteer Fire Co. social hall, 1600 Dewey Ave.

Several residents near the proposed project and bakery officials oppose the plan to withdrawal the water because they said they rely on shallow wells and fear that their quantity and quality of water are at stake.

Eck asked Colocino if residents should take action now to monitor their wells and get an idea of what capacity they presently may have.

“That would be up to the individual homeowners. Perhaps it would be prudent,” Colocino said.

The project engineer also told Eck that he didn’t think noise generated from water pumps would be “obtrusive.”

Colocino also said that water tanker trucks would not be “stacked” or staged on the property while waiting to be filled.

“That’s not a standard operating procedure for this type of operation,” he told attorney J. Michael Wiley, who is representing Bimbo Bakeries in later testimony about how trucks use the facility.

Eck also questioned a 1973 state Department of Transportation highway occupancy permit that still exists for the property. He said that information about the permit that was included in Centura Development’s conditional use application was missing information and illegible.

Colocino later answered under questioning from Centura attorney Kurt E. Williams that the PennDOT permit was provided directly from agency officials who only had old microfiche copies of the document.

“Such as it was, that’s what he had,” Colocino said of what was given to him.

He added that PennDOT highway occupancy permits do not expire and that access to and from the proposed site off of Lycoming Creek Road would be under the jurisdiction of PennDOT and not township supervisors.

Wiley contented that any stacking of tanker trucks would potentially move the site’s exit lane. He also questioned if the company’s conditional use application took consideration of lighting, which Wiley said was a criteria under the township’s ordinances.

The attorney also said there would not be proper rest facilities for drivers because such access only would be available between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., even though the project would be a 24-hour-a-day operation.

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission granted approval on Dec. 14, 2012, for water withdrawal, noting that it would “not cause permanent loss of aquifer storage, render competing supplies unreliable or cause adverse impacts to the water resources in the basin.”