Water Pipelines Mostly a Pipe Dream in the Marcellus

Water pipelines being installed along gas lines by an Ohio firm, Integrity Kokosing. Several companies want to build pipelines to supply drillers with water for fracking.

Water pipelines being installed along gas lines by an Ohio firm, Integrity Kokosing. Several companies want to build pipelines to supply drillers with water for fracking.


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By Anya Litvak

Happy Valley Road in Morgan Township has been a bustling thoroughfare for the past several years, with tanker trucks zooming through the Greene County community 24 hours a day.

The township has tried to find alternate routes to break up the truck flow. EQT Corp., the oil and gas company drilling shale wells in the area, has hired enforcement officers to slow traffic down.

But like it or not, Happy Valley is a main drag for thousands of water trucks necessary for the company’s development in a part of the county where many residents rely on private well water. The water EQT is hauling is guzzled up during hydraulic fracturing operations.

Shirl Barnhart, a Morgan Township supervisor, sees the problem as an opportunity. EQT needs water. So do Mr. Barnhart’s constituents. And no one wants this many trucks on the road.

So Mr. Barnhart has asked the Pittsburgh-based energy producer to pitch in to extend a local water pipeline that could serve both the industry and about 30 Morgan households. The investment would run between $300,000 and $400,000.

EQT hasn’t taken him up on the offer, he said, “because they really don’t see a way of benefiting from it.”

And the company is concerned about the proposal, Mr. Barnhart said, for a couple of reasons.

“Number one is they think it’ll be admitting they’re doing something wrong, which it isn’t,” he said. “It’s to get trucks off the road. But they feel if they start doing that, they’re going to admit guilt.”

Because some township residents have complained about tainted water from gas operations, Mr. Barnhart said the company is nervous that contributing to a public water line would imply fault.

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