This week plans for a new, almost $300 million wastewater facility were shared for the first time with community members in Doddridge County. Antero Resources announced intentions earlier this summer to build the facility, which will process and recycle wastewater produced from its natural gas drilling operations in the region.
Antero’s general manager of civil engineering, Conrad Baston, delivered a presentation at the start of the Doddridge County Commission meeting in front of an audience of about 60 people. A group of local Antero employees was in attendance as well as community members from Doddridge, Ritchie, and Wetzel counties.
Baston described the facility as an “expensive tea kettle.” He said the facility would produce food-grade quality salt, filter cakes that will be disposed in municipal landfills, and water that can be discharged into streams. Baston said the facility would reduce the need for fresh water, and as many as 63 injection wells for wastewater disposal. At peak capacity, he said, the facility would see 600 truck visits a day.
Baston also says the facility will employ 21 people and provide $1.5 million annually to the county in tax revenue.
Local residents had many concerns about traffic, air and noise pollution, and potential radioactivity exposure. In a question and answer session there were requests for “upfront” and “straightforward” information, collaborations with scientists in the area, and cooperation with and training for emergency responders.
Community members also asked if Antero was planning construction of a landfill. Baston said he was considering the economic feasibility of a landfill, but had not submitted an application to the state’s Department of Environmental Protection.
In the end, two of three county commissioners remarked that they were uncomfortable with the new facility.
“I’m not in favor of it by no means,” said Commissioner Ralph Sandora. He said the commissioners would look into what could be done, but Commissioner Ronnie Travis said he wasn’t sure if there was anything the commissioners could do about it. Commission President Gregory Robinson pointed out earlier in the meeting that there were no zoning laws preventing Antero from building the facility.
The company anticipates it will take two years to complete the complex and three years before it’s fully functional.