CASTANEA - An Ohio company is the latest firm interested in building a wastewater treatment plant in the area to support the gas industry drilling in the Marcellus Shale.
Patriot Water Treatment, LLC, of Lisbon, Ohio, has plans to treat up to 500,000 gallons per day of frac water that is leftover from the drilling process. The firm wants to build the plant at or near the Economy Auto Parts store at South Washington and Nestlerode streets.
A public hearing on Patriot's venture is set for 6:30 p.m. Monday in the township building at 347 Nittany Road, followed by a special meeting of the supervisors to consider the company's conditional-use application.
Clinton County Planner Tim Holladay explained the firm plans to use the vacant Economy Auto Parts Warehouse for the treatment facility, and the outside of that building to store frac water in a lined-pond that would feed into the plant. Patriot also wants to install a water storage tank, though he noted that would likely be low to the ground.
The warehouse is owned by Bob Rosemeier and is rented to Economy, with the auto parts distributor only using the front part of that building.
"We're looking to do a water pre-treatment and recycling business," said Andy Blocksom, president of Patriot Water. "We actually use a proprietary technology to distill the water and reuse the water from the gas and oil industry. We will not discharge the water into the river."
He explained the distillation process as heating the liquid produced from extracting natural gas from the Marcellus Shale wells to condense the minerals produced in the fracing process. The by-products would then be taken to injection wells in Ohio, he said.
If approved, Blocksom said the facility could employ 30 "primary workers," with another 40 to 60 stemming from the business. He could not put a timetable on the new venture, only noting it will have to go through permitting.
Daniel Spadoni, spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection's Williamsport Regional Office, said Patriot submitted an air quality plan for the operation on Dec. 28.
DEP completed its initial technical review and sent the company a review letter on Jan. 6 and is awaiting Patriot's response, he said.
"They will have to respond back to the questions we posed in our technical review letter. They owe us some answers," Spadoni said. He said that, while he didn't have a copy of the review letter on hand, he believes the agency had questions involving the company's proposed distillation unit.
Patriot Water Treatment is a relatively new player to the treatment of water used in the the fracing process, with Bob Dickey, son Ben, and son-in-law Blocksom recently creating the firm to offer what they believe is a much-needed service to gas companies drilling in the region.
It has one working plant in Ohio and another going through the permitting process in New York state.Township Solicitor Paul Ryan said Patriot's application is for a conditional use of the building, and the township can impose certain conditions. The supervisors will take testimony from the public on what special conditions may be placed on the property, with a vote on those conditions scheduled for a special meeting immediately following.
According to information from the Clinton County Planning Commission, the permit will be for a 500,000 gallon per day capacity plant.
The distilled water is proposed to be stored on site until it is reused as frac water on another well or shipped to the nearby Lock Haven Sewage Treatment Plant.