Last updated: February 18. 2013 8:13AM - 75 Views

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An energy company is seeking zoning approval to temporarily locate five personnel trailers and up to 192 water storage tanks capable of holding more than 4 million gallons on a 6-acre site in Lake Township.

EnCana Oil & Gas USA Inc. also wants to temporarily place a sewage holding tank and a potable water tank for each trailer at the site, all to be used during the drilling of a well to extract natural gas from the Marcellus Shale formation thousands of feet below the Earth‚??s surface.

The Luzerne County Zoning Hearing Board on Tuesday will hear a presentation from EnCana in connection with the company‚??s application for a ‚??temporary use‚?Ě and a special exception to construct a permanent gas well head facility on the 49-acre property located at 133 Soltis Road and owned by township Supervisor Amy Salansky and her husband, Paul.

EnCana also is seeking a use variance to operate a natural gas meter station on 5 acres within a 112-acre parcel in Fairmount Township, as well as a height variance to erect an associated 150-foot radio tower on the site.

The meter station site, located at the intersection of Mossville and Hartman roads on property owned by Thomas and Caroline Raskiewicz, would be used to treat and compress natural gas from another well drilling site in Fairmount Township for which EnCana has already received county zoning approval. That drilling site, located off state Route 118 between Tripp and Mossville roads, is owned by Edward Buda.

The Salansky site in Lake Township is the third in the county on which EnCana plans to begin drilling for gas this summer. Earlier this month, the company received approval from Lehman Township supervisors to drill near Peaceful Valley Road on property owned by Russell and Larry Lansberry.

The Salansky and Buda sites required county zoning board approval because neither Lake Township nor Fairmount Township has zoning regulations.

Wendy Wiedenbeck, public and community relations advisor for EnCana, said the Buda site will be the first to be drilled. The target date for drilling to begin, known in the industry as the spud date, is July 1. Crews were to begin clearing an access road on Thursday.

Wiedenbeck said the spud date for the Salansky site is expected to be about a month after drilling begins at the Buda site. It takes about a month to drill a well, and the drilling equipment will be moved from one site to the next.

Plans for the Lansberry site are still under discussion, she said.

21,000-gallon tanks

According to a narrative that EnCana included in the zoning application for the Salansky site, the company will need about 6 million gallons of water for each well completion. Completing a well requires hydraulic fracturing (fracking), which is the process of injecting a mixture of water, sand and a small amount of chemical fluid additives into the wellbore under very high pressure to fracture the shale formation and release the natural gas.

EnCana estimates about 1.2 million gallons of flowback water will return to the surface.

Fresh water for the well completions will be stored in some of the 21,000-gallon ‚??frac water‚?Ě tanks, which are about 8 feet wide, 50 feet long and 13 feet tall. Some of the steel tanks also could be used to collect flowback water, which either will be treated and reused during a future well completion or hauled away and disposed of at a permitted wastewater facility.

EnCana plans to drill one well at each site using a truck-mounted drill rig. It would be drilled vertically about 7,000 to 8,000 feet deep and then horizontally about 5,000 to 7,000 feet.

During drilling operations, sites would have a drill rig, stockpiles of drill pipe and casing, a 60-by-160-foot reserve pit with an impermeable liner for collecting cuttings and fluid, mud shakers to separate the cuttings from the fluid, generators to provide power to the drill rig and office trailers that would be equipped with personnel sleeping quarters.

Drilling activities would occur around the clock for about four weeks and require on-site supervision 24 hours a day.

Main access roads to the Salansky site include Lehman Outlet, Hoover, Sholtis, Zosh, Ides, Meeker and Slocum roads and state Route 118. EnCana will work with supervisors of Lake and Lehman townships to complete a road assessment and provide appropriate bonding for the roads.

Meter site structures

Major structures at the Raskiewicz meter site in Fairmount Township, in addition to the radio tower, include two 40-by-40-foot buildings, about 20 feet tall, that would house compressor engines, and a 15-by-35-foot meter building about 12 feet high.

Also planned is a smaller air purification building.

Two 20-foot-tall storage tanks for condensate ‚?? liquids that fall out of the gas and settle at low points in the pipeline ‚?? also will be placed there, along with various other types of storage tanks, most about 10 feet tall. There also will be a dehydration unit, mainly composed of a vertical tank about 34 feet tall.

The facility will require a 1/2 acre where a 6-inch EnCana gas line will feed into the 24-inch transcontinental pipeline that already passes through the site underground, and another 1.5 acres for placement of EnCana treating and compression equipment. The additional 3 acres is for future expansion.

Main access roads to the site are state Route 118, Mossville Road and Hartman Road.

Steve Mocarsky, a Times Leader staff writer, may be reached at 970-7311.

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