Last July, 2017 the Coudersport (Pennsylvania) Area Municipal Authority (CAMA) board members leased land to an outfit called Epiphany Allegheny LLC. Epiphany plans to build a wastewater treatment plant on the Allegheny River to process wastewater produced as a byproduct of high volume horizontal hydrofracturing (“fracking”).
The top customer of the new treatment plant has been identified as JKLM Energy LLC, a leading Pennsylvania natural gas drilling concern that routinely employs fracking.
JKLM Energy LLC is owned by Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula. According to Endeavor News (“Serving Potter & Cameron Counties in NorthCentral Pennsylvania”), JKLM would also have a financial stake in the project.
Fracking wastewater from JKLM’s natural gas wells would be transported to CAMA’s treatment plant at Coudersport for further treatment and discharge into the headwaters of the Allegheny River.
The Allegheny River source is in north central Pennsylvania, approximately 10 miles south of the New York border. It flows west past Coudersport then turns north at Port Allegany and proceeds into western New York, looping westward across southern Cattaraugus County for approximately 30 miles. It passes Portville, Olean, St. Bonaventure University and Salamanca and flows through Seneca Indian Nation lands close to the northern boundary of Allegany State Park. It then re-enters northwestern Pennsylvania approximately 20 miles southeast of Jamestown, New York.
Water from the Allegheny River eventually flows into the Gulf of Mexico via the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.
Therefore, millions of people downstream from Coudersport, including Pittsburgh, Louisville, Cincinnati and New Orleans will ultimately derive their drinking water from the Allegheny River, the river in which fracking wastewater may someday soon be disposed of.
On August 30, 2017, Epiphany Allegheny LLC filed a “Water Quality Mgmt Part II, Industrial Wastewater Facility” permit application. The experimental facility would be the first of its kind, using a new technique of distillation that has been largely untested on that scale.
On January 16th, Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection officials held a public meeting in Coudersport, PA and explained the permitting process. Afterward the DEP held a hearing and accepted public comments.
Members of the Seneca Nation of Indians testified in opposition to the new fracking wastewater treatment facility slated to discharge treated waste water into the Allegheny (Ohi:yo’) River. The Allegheny Indian Reservation of the Seneca Nation is located downstream. This reservation also includes the City of Salamanca. (Ohi:yo’ means “Good River” in the Seneca language).
Written comments on the proposed frack waste treatment facility may be submitted until January 29, 2018 to the following email address: RA-EpncEpiphany@pa.gov.