Cecil Township again requests meeting with DEP

July 28, 2014

Cecil Township officials sent a letter to local legislators after a letter to the Department of Environmental Protection – requesting a meeting to discuss a Marcellus Shale water impoundment – went unanswered.

Township Manager Don Gennuso sent a letter to the DEP July 10, explaining the township had concerns and questions about Cecil Impoundment 23, formerly known as the Worstell impoundment. Some supervisors said they wanted the DEP to test groundwater at the impoundment in light of a leak at the Jon Day impoundment in Amwell Township. Both impoundments are operated by Range Resources.

After two weeks had passed without a reply from the DEP, Gennuso sent a leter to state Sen. Tim Solobay, D-Canonsburg, and state Rep. Jesse White, D-Cecil, seeking assistance.

Gennuso wrote, “The lack of response is especially frustrating given the recent findings of Auditor General Eugene DePasquale regarding the DEP’s performance and responsiveness.”

The performance audit of the DEP, released last week, sharply criticized the DEP’s handling of oil and gas development and its “poor” communication with complainants.

“Given the recent high-profile problems at other similarly constructed wastewater impoundments in the area (Jon Day, Yeager, etc.), it is completely reasonable for Cecil Township to pursue their constitutional obligation to protect the health, safety and welfare of their residents by ensuring the integrity of the Worstell impoundment,” White said in a letter he sent to the DEP Monday.

The impoundment was the subject of several private meetings last year between supervisors and the DEP – and, separately, with Range Resources. It also caused an ideological divide on the board as to whether officials should accept a private meeting if it appeared to be the only way to get answers.

DEP spokesman John Poister said the impoundment can operate indefinitely as long as it is servicing wells. He said there have been no recent issues at the site.

Emily Petsko joined the Observer-Reporter as a staff writer in June 2013. She graduated from Point Park University with a dual bachelor's degree in journalism and global cultural studies.

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