City authority approves sale of water for hydraulic fracturing site

Westmoreland County Municipal Authority board members on Friday approved a deal to sell raw, untreated water to a local energy company for a new gas well to be drilled next year at Upper Burrell.

The deal will allow Olympus Energy of Canonsburg to purchase up to 2.2 million gallons of water per day from the authority’s Beaver Run reservoir for four months starting in May 2022.

“We have done this three or four times in the past seven years,” said Michael Kukura, head of authority.

The water will be drawn directly from the reservoir and shipped by the energy company to its well pad located near Upper Burrell and used during the fracking process for the Marcellus shale gas. Supervisors at Upper Burrell approved a permit for the drill site earlier this month.

Board members also voted to grant an easement to allow Olympus to access the reservoir property to draw and transport water to its drilling site.

The authority could earn about $ 200,000 in new income from the sale of water, officials said.

Water from the Beaver Run Reservoir serves about half of the authority’s 122,000 customers, those who live north of Highway 30.

The authority is currently licensed to withdraw up to 35 million gallons of water per day from the reservoir and currently has the capacity to process up to 24 million gallons per day at its on-site plant.

The sale of water is not expected to impact levels in the reservoir, which has been below average for months but has recently rebounded due to increased rains and somewhat cooler temperatures, said Kukura.

Rich Cholodofsky is an editor for Tribune-Review. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, [email protected] or via Twitter .


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