Water decision overruled

A local company seeking to develop a water withdrawal and distribution facility in Old Lycoming Township is closer to its goal now that a Lycoming County judge has overturned the township supervisors’ initial denial of the project.

On Sept. 25, 2013, Old Lycoming Township supervisors denied a conditional-use application submitted by Centura Development Co. to build the facility at 3231 Lycoming Creek Road. Township supervisors cited public safety concerns.

Centura appealed the ruling last October, and it was reversed by county Judge Dudley N. Anderson on April 17, according to court documents.

The proposed project – which entails withdrawing close to 2 million gallons of water a week from a well for natural gas fracking and would see 54 to 58 trucks per day coming and going from the site – caused much debate in the township last year when supervisors and members of the public deliberated over the application throughout several public meetings and hearings.

The court found that concerns about the dangers of increased traffic in the area due to the trucks at the site were unfounded.

At most, the increase in traffic still would be less than 3 percent, court papers said, citing a report from the state Department of Transportation. The report concluded that the “entrance/exit is large enough to accommodate the largest trucks that would be visiting the property and that they will be able to turn into and out of the property from and onto Lycoming Creek Road without impeding traffic.”

Another concern from those who objected to the facility was whether or not it would dry out the wells in the area.

“As this issue was not before the board, and is thus not before this court, it will not be addressed,” Anderson said.

Keith Eck, owner of Centura Development, would not comment on the ruling.

“Not until the case is closed,” he told the Sun-Gazette Wednesday “We don’t know if they are going to appeal or not.”

Old Lycoming Township Supervisor John Eck could not say whether the supervisors would appeal Anderson’s decision.

“This is the first I’ve heard about it,” said Eck, who’s been on medical leave since before the ruling.