Council OKs seismic testing upon review

First Posted: 2/22/2012

FACTORYVILLE- Gas drilling knocks on the door and the process begins. And for the Factoryville Borough Council the knock has come and now the decision making is at hand.

On Feb. 8, Bob Poorman, permit agent for Geokinetics, approached the board seeking a permit to begin seismic testing in Factoryville. Poorman explained that his firm is handling the testing for many gas companies interested in the area and that he is currently performing the testing in Wyoming County. The area now being tested includes a portion of Factoryville.

“We can not do the testing in the Factoryville area unless we have a permit from the board and that is why we are here tonight and to answer any questions the board may have,” said Poorman.

After much discussion, the board approved a resolution for the testing to occur in Factoryville only when all paperwork and requirements have been made to the solicitor with his approval. Emergency Services Manager Christopher Burgey requested that the board put together a list with concerns and requests and present it to the solicitor for his review. The board agreed.

Poorman explained that the system his company uses is a 3D seismic machine, which produces 3D images that show the ledge of rock below the surface. This allows gas companies to see how the rock, faults and area are laid out so they can easily access the gas below the surface.

He added that the testing involves cables that run across the town roads and even through people’s properties and carry the voltage of a 9- volt battery. Cables are in place for 4 to 5 weeks. “When we lay the cables down we try to put them through culverts so that are not on the roadways. Our company works 7 days a week and in all types of weather, except for lightning. I have submitted to you tonight a surface survey so you can see the land laid out as we will be surveying. And we do have to have the properties owners’ approval to run the cable, however, if we have to run the cable through a non -approved property we do have the permit that allows us to do that as well,” said Poorman.

Poorman also explained that the company has a 300 -foot buffer, so they can not put the lines within 300 feet of a home or business. “We will be bringing in trucks that people know as thumper trucks; they have metal plates on them and they come down on the roadway and vibrate the earth to get the readings . When the truck comes through, you will feel the vibration, but it is not a vibration that will cause things to fall on the floor,” he said.

Solicitor Paul Litwin said, “As I look through this paperwork, the borough is not getting a lot of funds for your company to do the testing, and this is a risk for this borough. We wouldn’t be doing the testing in the winter months, and I would like a list of other boroughs you have done work in, as well as contacts. You are only paying us $5 an acre and that is not enough. I don’t see any bonding insurance papers and right now you are not even paying Factoryville for the use of the roads. I also have concerns that this testing will affect our sewer plants … we still need a lot of information on this.”

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