Plans to build a facility in Potter County to treat wastewater from fracking at the headwaters of the Allegheny River appear to be dead.
Just days after the financial backer and main customer of its proposed plant, JKLM Energy, announced that it was backing out of the project, Epiphany also lost local support.
In a special meeting to discuss the project Monday evening, the Coudersport Area Municipal Authority voted to terminate all permits, and end lease involvement in Epiphany’s plant. “I was absolutely shocked,” said Laurie Barr, who started a group called Save the Allegheny nine months ago specifically to oppose the project.
Epiphany proposed to distill wastewater from shale gas drilling, and then route 42,000 gallons a day through the Coudersport sewage plant, which releases treated water into the Allegheny. The river is a source of drinking water for millions of people, including Pittsburgh.
“I was very happy that the CAMA board pulled out, but I was very surprised also,” Barr said. “We’ve raised many concerns to the Board, and they refused to answer questions…during the public comment periods since June,” she continued, “They had no indication before then that they would consider shutting their plan down.”
Board members said once JKLM pulled out of the project, there wasn’t another customer for the facility, so they rescinded the permits.
Many citizens at the meeting, including members of the Seneca Nation, cheered the decision.
An attorney for Epiphany did not respond to an email for comment.
The Coudersport Area Municipal Authority voted Monday evening to terminate all permits for Epiphany Allegheny LLC’s plan to build shale gas wastewater treatment facility. In a special meeting to discuss the project, the board voted to end lease involvement with Epiphany, and to withdraw project permits to the PA Department of Environmental Protection.
Citizens at the meeting, one who held a sign that read “Stop the Project,” cheered the decision. Many thanked the authority members for protecting the river downstream and for considering the long term sustainability of the region’s environment.
JKLM Energy, the financial backer and main customer of a proposed plant to treat fracking wastewater at the headwaters of the Allegheny River, is backing out of the project.
“JKLM will no longer pursue water treatment at the proposed facility,” according to a statement by the company Friday afternoon. “A number of factors impacted this decision,” it said, but did not elaborate.
JKLM attorney James Hankle did not respond to an email seeking comment. Amy Coles, an attorney for Epiphany Allegheny LLC, the company that plans to build the plant, was also not available.
Epiphany Water Solutions, based in Lawrenceville, still needs approvals from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, to build its first desalination and distillation facility in the state.
Planned in Potter County, 325-miles upriver from Pittsburgh, it would accept and treat wastewater from fracking, and route 42,000 gallons a day of discharges through the Coudersport sewage treatment plant which releases treated water into the river.
The Allegheny is the source of drinking water for millions of people, including Pittsburgh.
Opponents of the plant, including the group Save the Allegheny and the Seneca Nation, have been concerned that it would pollute river.
“JKLM’s decision to abandon its interest in utilizing the proposed Epiphany project is encouraging,” said Seneca Nation President Todd Gates in an email statement. “As I’ve said before, protecting the river and its abundant resources is a critical issue for the Seneca Nation and for thousands who live along the river.”
JKLM and Epiphany sent the Seneca, Save the Allegheny, and journalist-filmmakers at Public Herald “cease and desist” letters after criticizing the plan.