Bruceton May Get Landfill

Would take solid waste from oil, gas industries

Morgantown Dominion Post
20 May 2011
By Michelle Wolford
KINGWOOD — A Houston company has purchased 250 acres of land in Preston County, where it hopes to put a landfill serving the oil and gas industries.

Scott Herbst, manager of engineering projects for CCS Midstream Services LLC, said the intended home for the facility is about one mile from Interstate 68 in Bruceton Mills, but the company is still in the research stages of its proposal.

The company must first file a certificate of need with the West Virginia Public Service Commission (PSC). Herbst told The Dominion Post on Thursday that the company is nine months away from that first step, and there is a long series of steps to follow before the facility could be built.

PSC spokeswoman Susan Small said the agency will do nothing on that certificate unless the Preston County Solid Waste Authority approves the siting of the facility.

“If they submit a certificate, their application, a certificate of approval from the Solid Waste Authority would have to be part of that filing or we would kick it back,” she said.

The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) also has to approve the facility.

“The public will have many, many opportunities to be educated on the process” of the facility, Herbst said.

The DEP process requires a public notice of a draft permit and a public comment period. A public hearing may also be held.

CCS Midstream has 24 such facilities in North America, Herbst said. All of them are in Canada, according to the company’s website.

The Bruceton Mills site was chosen for its proximity to I-68 — “and a labor force looking for work.” He said the landfill — which would have a footprint of about 120 acres on the 250-acre parcel — would need “between 15 and 20 full-time employees” including heavyequipment operators, office administration, accounts payable and receivable, managers and some with skills specific to the industry.

“We will offer training” for some jobs, Herbst said.

Herbst also met with Friends of the Cheat (FOC) and Friends of Deckers Creek, local watershed protection nonprofits that are already hearing from citizens concerned about the proposed facility.

Herbst said the facility will handle oil and gas waste only. It will not handle fracking water, only solid nonhazardous wastes.

“We will accept no reactive waste, no municipal solids, no flammable, corrosive or radioactive materials,” he said.

Though the company is progressing with its research on the site and the approval process, Herbst said it won’t happen overnight.

“It took us well over a year to get this far; it will take us well over another year to get to the next level.”

FOC Director Amanda Pitzer said her concerns about the landfill are primarily related to its location — at the confluence of Big Sandy and Little Sandy creeks, southwest of Bruceton Mills.

“FOC has spent millions of dollars and thousands of manhours restoring Big Sandy from acid mine drainage and it is very close to being removed from the DEP’s list of impaired streams,” she said. “We want to protect the work that we’ve done and the surrounding community from unnecessary risks.”

Both the Little Sandy and Big Sandy are stocked trout streams, she said. Big Sandy also is a popular destination for whitewater enthusiasts and its mouth is only eight miles from Cheat Lake, a drinking water source.

Herbst said his company has a vested interest in containing the waste in the landfill, which he said contains “chlorides and hydrocarbons — salty dirt.” The landfill will be monitored for at least 25 years after it is closed.

Speaking about the nearby creeks, Herbst said, “We’re not going to contaminate it. We’re not going to do something that would jeopardize us as a company and our integrity.”

Preston County Commission President Craig Jennings said the commission has not met formally with the company, though commissioners have been contacted individually “to let us know what they want to do in the county.”

He said the commission has no authority over such a facility — that’s up to the PSC and DEP.

Commissioners do appoint the members of the Solid Waste Authority, however, which has first say in the approval process.