MONTGOMERY - A sand plant that will store chemicals, radioactive materials and explosives was given the green light by the Clinton Township Zoning Hearing Board Tuesday night, despite a group of vocal community members who were hoping to sway the board's decision.
The board granted three variances to Halliburton Energy Services for a property in River Valley Commerce Park, just off Route 405, allowing the company to bypass restrictions on height, hazardous chemicals and munitions.
Halliburton plans to store 25,000 gallons of hydrochloric acid on site. Facility supervisor Brian Wagner told the board that the acid will be stored in fiberglass tanks, which are connected to a "scrubber system" that neutralizes any harmful vapors. The chemicals also are protected with a secondary containment: a concrete wall lined with chemically resistant materials contains both tanks in case of leakage.
Hydrochloric acid is transported to the plant by truck, 4,000 gallons at a time, one or twice a week, Wagner said. The acid is used in the fracking process to break down gas and oil formations.
The site will store additional chemicals as well, but these do not exceed the township's 500-gallon limit.
Mike Rehl, district operations manager for wireline and perforating operations, said the radioactive materials are transported off site in secure trucks and then used in tools that record information about the rocks that hold Marcellus Shale.
The munitions will be used to pull gases from wells. The explosions set off a chain reaction that will perforate the pipe and allow gas to enter the pipe, Rehl said.
Community members voiced several concerns regarding safety, the effect on property values, the environment and the ability of the local fire department and law enforcement officials to respond to potential disasters.
Board member Todd Winder, also the head fire chief at Clinton Township Fire Department, said that while he agreed with many of these concerns, he was unable to vote "no" on the variances when judging them objectively.
"I can't find the reason to vote 'no' based on the criteria in the ordinance," he said.
The variances were passed unanimously.