The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued final permits authorizing Bear Lake Properties to operate two wastewater disposal wells in Columbus Township, the only operational site in Northwest Pennsylvania.
The EPA formally defines the wells as "Underground Injection Control II-D commercial brines disposal injection wells" located at sites known as "Bittinger #1 and the Bittinger #4" off of Weeks Road near the New York State border in Bear Lake.
The final permits were issued on Thursday, Nov. 29 following a 60-day public comment period that was opened on Sept. 4 and closed on Nov. 5
"Obviously that's good news for us, and it was expected," Bear Lake Properties President Karl Kimmich said. "We are probably 95 percent complete with our construction up at the site."
Completion of the project will be dependent on the weather, though Kimmich said construction was suspended during deer season.
"We'll initiate very slowly after the first of the year and see how things can go from there," Kimmich said. "It's been obviously a long road and we're glad we're at the end of it. There's a need for it and we're not going to be the only ones."
The EPA and the state Department of Environmental Protection will hold a public meeting on the two wastewater disposal wells in Columbus Township.
The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12, at the Columbus Township Volunteer Fire Department at 7 W. Main St.
Officials from both agencies will answer questions and discuss their roles in the permitting in the Underground Injection Control process.
"This is an opportunity for area residents to talk to both our staff and EPA about the roles we each play in the process," DEP Northwest Regional Director Kelly Burch said in a press release. "The people of Bear Lake asked for an opportunity to meet with us to get answers to their questions, and we want to ensure the process is transparent."