Borough reviews contract with drilling operator

The Ridgway Borough Council reviewed a recommendation from a Water, Sewer, Refuse and Street Committee to not enter into a water sales agreement with the Hunt Marcellus Operating Company.A meeting was held with the committee on April 30 at 4 p.m. In attendance were committee members: John Casolo Jr., Ralph Dussia, Rick Parrish, Borough Manager Martin Schuller, Environmental Manager Paul McCurdy; and Mark Wagley and Doug Proffitt of Hunt Marcellus Operating Company."We asked for a contribution from them [Hunt] and they told us no," Casolo said. "So being that they are not interested in buying water we felt that there was no need to sign a contract." Casolo reported that Wagley and Proffitt provided information to the committee relative to the present and future demand for water drilling and gas well fracking.Casolo noted the main points of the meeting:*Gas well development is slowing down due to low commodity prices for natural gas. Therefore the near term demand for water is expected to be low.*Capital contributions to municipal water systems have been for improvements to serve the drillers' needs."*Proximity to the well site is the biggest factor in deciding where water is purchased. While Ridgway and Johnsonburg sell water for the same price there is a $20 per thousand gallon cost to truck the water from the Gillis Avenue filling station to the well sites above Johnsonburg.*DEP requires as part of the water management plan, contracts between the water seller and the driller.*Hunt is reportedly focusing its well development efforts in Forest County and has contracted to buy water from Tionesta at $5 per thousand gallons, Casolo noted."It is the consensus of the committee that inasmuch as DEP requires contracts for water management plans and the value of water varies according to demand and availability that contracts be short-term and signed as close to time of use as possible to accommodate the appropriate pricing of the water," Casolo said. "And if more time is required that the contract include a price adjustment clause to reflect water values at the time of purchase."In other business, the Ridgway Firefighters Celebration will be held July 16-21.Pick up a copy of the Tuesday, May 22, 2012 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.Next meetingRidgway Borough CouncilMonday, June 187 p.m.Borough Building