Industrialization is coming to our rural landscapes even before large scale drilling begins. Schlumberger has started work on its 72 acre facility in the middle of the Village of Horseheads. A metering station has been approved for siting on a steep hillside in a residential neighborhood in the Town of Vestal. Wells ultimately destined to become Marcellus Shale wells are being permitted as “exploratory” or with original targets in other formations, such as the Cook 1 well proposed for the Village of Dryden. The Chemung County landfill and other New York landfills are accepting drilling waste from Pennsylvania. Pipelines such as the Laser Northeast pipeline are proposed to extend from the Pennsylvania state line to the Millennium Pipeline in the Town of Windsor. Municipal waste water treatments plants, such as plants in Auburn and Watertown, are accepting liquid waste from natural gas wells – waste that sewage treatment plants are not capable of treating. This waste travels through the “treatment system” with the only real treatment being dilution before this waste flows into our lakes and rivers.
Some proposed industrial projects have been beaten back. A disposal well was proposed for the shores of Keuka Lake in the Village of Pulteney and then withdrawn. A wastewater treatment plant that was proposed for location within the Town of Owego, along the banks of the Susquehanna River, was similarly withdrawn after significant public opposition. The Village of Cayuga Heights stopped accepting drilling waste into its municipal waste water treatment plant. Community Environmental Defense Council, Inc. has provided advice to citizen groups, attended permitting meetings, written comments and worked to stop or mitigate these projects. But the roll out of the plans industry has for our region has barely begun.