|Print this Article||Subscribe||Unsubscribe|
“Once again, the Commission’s stream protection requirements are ahead of the curve and working as intended to protect aquatic resources and downstream water users,” said SRBC Executive Director Paul Swartz. “As of early this week, 36 individual water withdrawals in 10 Pennsylvania counties have been temporarily suspended by virtue of the Commission’s passby flow restrictions. The vast majority of those suspended withdrawals are related to water for natural gas development.”
Under SRBC’s passby flow restrictions, when streams drop to pre-determined protected low flow levels, project sponsors who are required to meet the agency’s passby requirement must stop taking water. They cannot resume taking water until streams have recovered above the protected level for at least 48 hours.
SRBC and its regulated project sponsors monitor real-time stream flow data generated by stream gages maintained and operated by the U.S. Geological Survey.
Regulated project sponsors also are required to install tamper-proof water meters that automatically record their water withdrawals on a daily basis. SRBC requires that information be reported to it quarterly, in addition to continuous spot-inspections by SRBC field staff working out of the field office in Sayre, Bradford County, Pennsylvania.
Swartz said, “The Commission does not wait for drought declarations or phone calls from citizens to temporarily halt water withdrawals. Our system is based on science and kicks in well before streams drop to critical low levels. We base our surface and groundwater withdrawal approvals on conservative assumptions regarding hydrologic conditions.”
Not all SRBC approvals contain passby restrictions. Those are the withdrawals where the approved withdrawal amounts are so small that they will not affect the protective levels of streams. In those cases, companies can continue to take water during low flow periods.
FOLLOWING IS A LIST OF COMPANIES AND THEIR WATER WITHDRAWAL SOURCES IN PENNSYLVANIA TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED AS OF JULY 19, 2011:
Smith Transport Warehouse, Bald Eagle Creek
Chesapeake Appalachia, Chemung River (Barrett) and Sugar Creek (Isbell)
Healthy Properties, Sugar Creek
Southwestern Energy Production Company, Wyalusing Creek (Ferguson)
Talisman Energy, Fall Brook, Seeley Creek, Sugar Creek, Towanda Creek, Tributary to North Branch Sugar Creek, and Wyalusing Creek
Tennessee Gas Pipeline, Towanda Creek
Towanda Country Club, Little Wysox Creek
Chief Oil & Gas, Clearfield Creek
Keister Miller Investments, West Branch Susquehanna
Pine Meadows Golf Complex, Little Swatara Creek
Eagle Rock Community Association, Abandoned Quarry associated with unnamed tributary to Tomhicken Creek
Hughesville-Wolf Township Joint Municipal Authority, Effluent Discharge
Pennsylvania General Energy Company, Pine Creek (Poust)
XTO Energy, Lick Run
Ultra Resources, Pine Creek
Chesapeake Appalachia, Elk Lake Stream
Leonard and Jean Marie Azaravich, Meshoppen Creek
Stone Energy Corp, Wyalusing Creek (Stang 1)
Tennessee Gas Pipeline, Meshoppen Creek and White Creek
Williams Production Appalachia, Snake Creek
LDG Innovations, Tioga River (Losey)
Tennessee Gas Pipeline, Tioga River and Unnamed tributary of North Elk Run
Ultra Resources, Cowanesque River
Geary Enterprises, Buttermilk Creek
Mountain Energy Services, Tunkhannock Creek
Randy M. Wiernusz, Bowman Creek
Sugar Hollow Trout Park and Hatchery, Hatchery Effluent
Susquehanna Gas Field Services, Meshoppen Creek
Harrisburg-based SRBC (www.srbc.net) is the governing agency established under a 100-year compact signed on December 24, 1970 by the federal government and the states of New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland to protect and wisely manage the water resources of the Susquehanna River Basin. The Susquehanna River starts in Cooperstown, New York, and flows 444 miles to Havre de Grace, Maryland, where the river meets the Chesapeake Bay.