Supervisors recommend permitting wastewater from natural gas wells at county landfill

NORWICH – A Chenango County law imposed in the early 1990s that prohibits radioactive waste disposal at the county’s landfills needs to be amended to allow the intake of – and profits from – wastewater resulting from drilling natural gas.

Not to be confused with shale rock formations, which contain higher radon concentrations, the sandstones that the region’s primary driller, Norse Energy, is targeting contain low levels of radioactivity. County supervisors calling for the law to be changed compared the levels to the naturally occurring radiation found in all of the rocks and dirt in Chenango County.

Because of the restriction, contractors for Norse are forced to haul drilling wastewater from wells in Smyrna, Plymouth and Preston to the Village of Sherburne or further south to wastewater treatment facilities in Broome and Chemung counties, or in Pennsylvania.

Sherburne Village Mayor Bill Acee said Norse spent about $15,000 per quarter last year to have formation wastewater treated there. The new source of revenue generated $9,800 in the first quarter of this year.

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