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Buffalo Township signs off on as many as 5 new gas wells

| Thursday, April 11, 2013, 12:51 a.m.

Buffalo Township Supervisors on Wednesday gave the go-ahead for proposed Marcellus shale natural gas wells on Howes Run Road.

They also approved a scaled-down plan for The Village at Sarver's Mill housing development that still calls for about 150 houses.

XTO Energy has proposed to drill as many as five wells on property at 448 Howes Run Road owned by the Harold and Dorothea Harvey estate.

It would take about a month to drill each well, during a 24-hour operation, which includes the hydraulic fracturing process, or fracking, used to release the natural gas in the shale, according to XTO's application to the township.

Workers and trucks would access the site using Ekastown and Howes Run roads.

About 3 million gallons of water would be needed for the fracking, which the township supervisors estimated could equal about 600 truckloads to and from the site.

As a condition of approval, supervisors will require XTO to sign an excess maintenance agreement in which the company must pledge to repair any damage done to the roads and agree to clean up mud and dirt that end up on the main roadways.

“That's always our main concern,” said Supervisor John Haven.

XTO might store water at a previously approved fresh water pond on property off of nearby Obringer Lane. The pond would be located up the hill from the Howes Run well site.

Shawn Gallagher, an attorney with Buchanan Ingersoll and Rooney, which represents XTO, couldn't say when or even if the pond would used.

Resident Terry Cunningham of Harvey Road told supervisors he worries about the increased truck traffic. His home is not far from the proposed drill site.

“I don't want to begrudge any of my neighbors making money, but I have issues with the trucks and drivers who don't drive safely,” he said. “Six hundred trucks? That's a lot of traffic.”

Housing development back on board

The supervisors approved the second phase of The Village at Sarver's Mill housing development, which has been in limbo since the first phase was completed about seven years ago.

The development located off Sarver Road is now proposed to have 151 total units, including the 51 current lots, said Bob Bednar, a regional surveyor with The Meritage Group, of Pittsburgh, the new developer.

The development was originally to have 256 units.

• Phase 2 is proposed to include 21 lots in the center of the complex on an extension of Hidden Cliff Road.

• Phase 3 would connect portions of Creek Side Drive on either side of the Phase 2 portion and include 25 lots.

• Phases 4 and 5 are proposed to include 54 lots.

Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 or jweigand@tribweb.com.

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