The peaceful waters of the Yough near West Newton have had a new look and sound since this summer. A temporary pump has been set up to allow Olympus (previously Huntley & Huntley) to withdrawal water from the Youghiogheny River and use in their fracking operations. Operating nearly 24 hours a day, this pump has disrupted the residents of this small neighborhood as well as those recreating on the river and Great Allegheny Passage bike trail. The pump station can withdraw up to 4,000,000 gallons of water a day from the Youghiogheny.
To date, nearly 24,000,000 gallons of water have been withdrawn by the temporary pump station. These withdrawals have been happening while the river is at its lowest level in many years. People who had once used this area for fishing float by, not wanting to stop due to the noise. Residents have said they no longer use the park and trail users will certainly take notice of the on-going construction and loud hum of the pump-station.
Protect Elizabeth Township, a group of concerned community members, challenged Huntley & Huntley’s use of public parklands for this private water withdrawal, and proceedings are being held in the Allegheny County Orphans Court proceeding on November 4, 2019. Any resident has the right to attend the hearing and file a protest with the Court.
The pump station has been constructed within the boundaries of Blythedale Park, a public park nestled between the Yough and the GAP Trail. The park has a small parking lot, a pavilion, and a new playground. The remainder of the park was an open green space. Now a temporary pump pulls water from the river and sends it uphill to nearby wells pads through several permanent water lines.
Follow the history of this project by visiting previous blog posts here.
Mountain Watershed Association and Protect Elizabeth Township will continue our efforts in turning out residents to the hearing on November 4th – attendance at the hearing will show the judge that we are opposed to public lands being used for private gain. Visit the Facebook page for the hearing to learn more or please contact Tyler at Mountain Watershed Association at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-455-4200 x9#.