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Gas concerns for Butler Twp. water

Most residents of Butler Township draw water from wells, and a township supervisor doesn’t want prospective gas drilling to affect their supplies.

Dr. Frank Polidora suggested sampling wells to learn about the water quality now so residents would know if future activities such as drilling cause changes.

He also wants to learn about the aquifers that supply the township and protect them.

So far gas drillers haven’t regarded southern Luzerne County as an economical place to look for gas in the Marcellus Shale, so Polidora said his suggestion is a precaution.

“I’m for making the country (energy) independent. I think it can be done safely. The question is should it be done in a residential area?” he said during a work session with the other supervisors Monday.

After listening to Polidora, Butler Township Solicitor Donald Karpowich offered to draft an ordinance preventing gas exploration in residential areas, as well as conservation and agricultural areas.

Karpowich said companies decided there isn’t gas in the Marcellus Shale in southern Luzerne County, but it’s unknown if companies ever will drill in Butler Township for gas in the Utica Shale, which is below the Marcellus Shale formation.

For now, Karpowich said local communities are more likely to receive requests for construction of gas pipelines or gas compressor stations, as has happened in the Back Mountain section of Luzerne County.

“That’s what you want to protect against. It’s more a quality of life issue,” Karpowich said.

Butler Township Engineer Joseph Calabrese said developments such as the CAN DO Corporate Center, Sand Springs residential community and Keystone Job Corps Center test wells. So their results could provide some of the information that Polidora seeks on water quality. They also might have studied aquifers, Calabrese said.

Supervisor Brian Kisenwether said restaurants and other businesses also have to test water regularly, and the township could review their results.

In related news, Thousands left without water.

This article was written by Kent Jackson from Standard-Speaker, Hazleton, Pa. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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