GreenHunter Energy Inc., which last month saw its water handling facility in an Ohio town stormed by dozens of protestors, now faces another type of protest, with a southeastern Ohio community group demanding that the U.S. Coast Guard study the potential environmental impacts of the company's proposed hydraulic fracturing (fracking) wastewater transfer station on the Ohio River in New Matamoras, OH.
According to Meigs Citizens Action Now (MCAN) founder Elisa Young, the type of activity GreenHunter has planned for the facility "is unprecedented, both in terms of the volume and the content of the waste involved...Each barge could carry up to 4.5 million gallons of fracking waste. There has been no limit set." The wastewater could contain diesel fuel, chemicals classified as hazardous waste, carcinogens, "and radiation levels 300 times higher than the Nuclear Regulatory Commission allows for industrial releases," according to Young -- characterizations of frack wastewater frequently made by environmental groups.
Last July, a GreenHunter subsidiary leased and refurbished the 10-acre New Matamoras facility, which was originally constructed by Mobil Oil in the 1960s, and began providing water management services there. The updated facility provides bulk water storage and transloading services for customers that are producing natural gas, natural gas liquids and crude oil in the Marcellus and Utica shales, and serves as a maintenance and service station for GreenHunter's rolling stock operating in the area.
MCAN disputes a Ohio Department of Natural Resources decision that the proposed transfer facility needed no permits and wants the Coast Guard to conduct an environmental impact study (EIS) of the facility.
GreenHunter did not respond to requests for comment. The company has said previously that its facility in New Matamoras only handles salt water from oil and natural gas wells in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and doesn't accept or process hazardous waste.
Last month about 100 protestors stormed GreenHunter facilities in New Matamoras and caused a six-hour disruption that ended peacefully but resulted in 10 arrests (see Shale Daily, Feb. 22). The unconventional oil and gas environmental services company said its employees were "held hostage" by the protesters during the incident. According to the Washington County Sheriff's Office, all 10 of the arrested protesters, who were members of the environmental group Appalachia Resist, were charged with criminal trespassing, a misdemeanor.
On Thursday GreenHunter said subsidiary GreenHunter Water LLC has closed on the purchase of a 10.8-acre barging terminal facility on the Ohio River in Wheeling, WV. The purchase price was $750,000. Previously utilized as a gasoline storage facility, GreenHunter said it has fully engineered plans to convert the location into a water treatment, recycling and condensate handling logistics terminal to serve the Marcellus and Utica shale region. A $1.7 million construction project is expected to begin next month, with operations scheduled to begin in 3Q2013.