Tunkhannock Borough Council gave a thumbs up on April 4 to a plan to pipe water from the Susquehanna River up McCord and Harrison streets and then on up Rt. 29 to a water impoundment in Lemon Twp.
The plan proposed by NE Marcellus Shale and not yet approved by the Susquehanna River Basin Commission would relieve the possibility of moving 5 million gallons of water a day diesel water hauling trucks, and in March met resistance from Council members who were then not convinced of any benefit to the borough, nor did it necessarily qualify for ground disturbance on a public right-of-way because it was not a public utility.
Borough solicitor Paul Litwin said it was up to council to determine if the piping plan “serves a public purpose.”
Litwin said he felt it deserved a public hearing, but he said Northeast Marcellus told him through its legal counsel Frank Tunis that it was not in favor of a formal public hearing, and felt that its presentation that night served that purpose.
Tunis said there would be two pumping stations - one where the water was actually taken out of the river, and another about three miles north on Rt. 29 where water would once more be pushed to its intended destination.
Mayor Norm Ball raised a question about flow back, and Councilman Ben Barziloski asked about contingencies in the event of another flood like was experienced in 2011.
Jerry Beauchene, a resident of Tunkhannock Township, had a question about starting date and how long would the construction phase be.
Tunis said sometime in June, which illicited a response from Dan Gay, who serves as president of the Tunkhannock Business and Professional Association which hosts a street fair the third Saturday in June, and McCord is used to move traffic out of the downtown.
Tunis said that could be worked around.
Tunis responded to a question about noise, and said that it would be minimal.
Mrs. Sherman asked about hydrants proposed and if they would just be along the line or could elsewhere in the borough.
Tunis assured it would just be along the line.
Councilman Scott Douthett said, “I’m not seeing all that much benefit to the borough.
Triton Fire Chief Randy White said the company was proposing 15-inch piping to move water at 3,000 gallons a minute with up to three hydrants installed.
Councilman Dave Wiggins asked if there was a concern about cross-contamination between water out of the river and how the borough now gets it for its other hydrants.
Apparently it was minimal.
Council President Bob Robinson asked, “Has this established a public purpose?”
He asked White regarding value to Triton.
“I think it’s a win-win,” the fire chief said.
Marshall Davis said that PennDOT had clarified that the plan to serve Triton with up to three fire hydrants established a public purpose, and he offered to make a motion with a handful of contingencies.
The motion passed, 6-1.
Tunis said, “We have no intention to being anything but a good neighbor with this project.”
At the front end of the borough council meeting there was a moment of silence for Trudy Fisk, Mary Ostrowski and John Vieczorek, three residents of the borough who recently passed away.
In his police report, Marshall Davis indicated that the report of the Civil Service Commission was that no police officers would be moving ahead in rank at this time.
Mayor Norm Ball also read a report that part-timers Paul Henn, Patrck Butkiewicz, Alaisha Sherwood and Donald Hornlein were offered full-time work with other agencies, and the borough would need to be looking for replacements.
Henn had submitted a formal letter of resignation which was accepted with regret.