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Bionol Clearfield may sell water
Saturday, November 12, 2011
By Jeff Corcino Staff Writer
Tankers may soon be rolling out of Bionol Clearfield's ethanol plant again, but instead of carrying ethanol, they will be carring water
At Thursday's Clearfield Borough Council committee meetings it was announced that the borough was given notice that Bionol Clearfield has filed an application with the Susquehanna River Basin Commission for a slight modification to its withdrawal permit to allow it to sell water taken from the West Branch of the Susquehanna River.
Bionol Clearfield started production at its $270 million ethanol plant in December 2009 but the plant was idled just eight months later in July 2010 when the company declared Chapter 7 Liquidation Bankruptcy.
The ethanol plant was authorized by the SRBC to withdraw 2.5 million gallons of water per day from the West Branch of the Susquehanna River for use in ethanol production, but it now wants to sell a portion of this allocation to the natural gas extraction industry.
Natural gas drilling companies use large amounts of water for hydrofracturing or "fracking" where large volumes of water are pumped underground under high pressure to fracture the rock surrounding the well to increase its yield.
According to council member Susan Reed, Bionol is proposing selling a fraction of its water allocation, about 200,000-400,000 gallons of water per day, so its impact on the river would be minimal.
The water sales would also cause approximately 40 trucks per day to visit the plant, which is also far below the 200 trucks per day that visited the plant when it was operating.
Because its traffic numbers would be far lower than when the plant was operating it is unlikely the traffic signal at the entrance of the plant would need to be activated since it didn't need activated when the plant was operating, Reed said.
However, Kling asked that they be assured by Bionol or the gas drilling company that in purchasing the water they would accept the responsibility of maintaining the traffic signal if the state Department of Transportation believes it should be activated.
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