Seneca may dispose of brine in old Highland well

JAMES CITY – Seneca Resources is conducting a test to determine the feasibility of disposing of drilling brine fluids in an old gas well in Highland Township."The purpose of this test is to evaluate the potential of depleted sands as a means of disposing of produced brine from other Seneca wells," Doug Kepler of Seneca Resources said in a letter to Highland Township Supervisor Charlie Vaughn.According to Kepler, the "injectivity test" is "strictly monitored" by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)."It is just that-- a test," Kepler said. "If the results are positive, there is a lengthy permitting process that involves public comment."Kepler said the proposed procedure "is a means of taking the water produced by active wells and putting that water into the formations it came from."Seneca Resources-- the exploration division of National Fuel Gas of Williamsville, N.Y. near Buffalo-- has several Marcellus Shale natural gas wells in the area, including Highland Township.According to Kepler, the "injectivity test" in Highland is "just one of a number of wells we are evaluating in this region." He said the testing period usually runs for 30 days.In related news:*The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has informed the supervisors that it has found three "technical deficiencies" in a Seneca application for a permit linked with the company's "Pad B Facility" near Owl's Nest.The DEP has asked Seneca to make revisions in its application within 90 days.The DEP is seeking more information on proposed storage tanks for the site. The DEP also said the $250,000 maintenance cost listed in the application would "more than cover any transportation costs associated with disposal." The DEP said the $250,000 figure in the application is "rather high."A copy of the DEP "deficiency letter" to Seneca is available at the township office and at the planning office and commissioners' office at the Elk County Courthouse in Ridgway.*The Rettew engineering firm of Mechanicsburg told the supervisors that it is seeking a DEP permit for Seneca for its Spring Creek Waterline Extension project.According to Rettew, the proposed project calls for the construction of a 1.78-mile waterline extension to serve an "impoundment used in support of Marcellus Shale operations" at Owl's Nest.See full article by purchasing the March 15 edition of The Kane Republican.