Members of the Potter County Water Quality Work Group met this week at the Gunzburger Building to continue work on coordinating many efforts geared toward protection of the county’s water resources. They heard about efforts by the Upper Allegheny Watershed Association to qualify for a grant to develop a conservation plan for the watershed through the Coldwater Heritage Program. Partners in the project would include Trout Unlimited, the Pa. Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pa. Fish and Boat Commission.
In other business, members continued discussion of the ongoing effort to inventory abandoned and orphaned gas and oil wells. These wells, many of which were drilled more than a half-century ago, have been described as “ticking time bombs.” As their casing corrodes and as nearby drilling activity picks up, they have the potential to pose serious pollution risks unless they are located and retired. However, finding them is a big challenge and capping/retiring them could cost upwards of $250,000 each. Pennsylvania has established a fund to pay for capping of abandoned and orphaned wells, but the demand for funds far exceeds the available money.
Members also discussed the new state oil and gas drilling regulations now in the public comment process, and the possibility of scheduling a “WaterBlitz” next spring, patterned after the successful “BioBlitz” held at the Austin Dam Memorial Park in 2009. Organizations represented at this week’s meeting were Trout Unlimited, Potter County Conservation District, Potter County Commissioners, Upper Allegheny Watershed Association, Potter County Water Dogs, Potter County Education Council and the Triple Divide Watershed Coalition.
Potter County Today is a timely information site courtesy of the Potter County Commissioners. Reprinted with Permission.