Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Letter to the Editor: It's about water, yours and mine

on April 13, 2014 1:30 AM

The EPA issued a permit on March 16 to put a Class II brine disposal well in East Run under the Underground Injection Control (UIC) program. This is not acceptable.

If a deep well is nonproductive, it can be permitted by the EPA as a disposal well to house highly toxic wastes labeled “nonhazardous.” This is of no benefit to us, only to those disposing of the waste, endangering our water supply. Benzene is considered “hazardous” in a Class I well, but “nonhazardous” in a Class II. Very contradictory — not reassuring to the residents of Grant Township.

With only 700 people living here with no access to public water, we appear to not be fully protected.

There is an endangerment standard for public water supplies in the UIC program, but it does not mention private, residential wells or springs. That is our source of water.

We have guarantees in the Pennsylvania Constitution, which say, “all power is inherent in the people and all free government founded on their authority and instituted for their peace, safety, and happiness.” (Article 1, Section 2).

We should be in control of our water, not EPA, a permitting agency, or PGE, a gas company. Some residents say you can’t fight the government or the gas companies and they are right only if we don’t.

We are setting up dangerous standards that infringe on our right to clean air, pure water and the right to say what happens in our township, including the right to local self-government by passing ordinances to prohibit activities that would violate these rights, which includes injection wells.

Citizens of Grant Township and surrounding areas: We are having a special meeting to secure these rights at the Grant Township Building, 100 East Run Road, Marion Center, on April 22 at 7 p.m. and another on May 6.

Chad Nicholson, from the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, will speak, giving technical advice and assistance regarding local self-government. Support us by attending. We are a community facing a threat to our local environment, our local agriculture and our local economy as well as our quality of life.

If it happens to our water, it can also happen to yours.

Think of these UIC wells as long columns of undocumented wastes, under pressure, housed by concrete walls, thousands of feet below the surface in your backyard. Forever!

Judy Wanchisn

Marion Center

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