A Somerset County municipality is considering selling water in bulk to a Marcellus Shale natural gas driller for use in hydraulic fracturing.
Somerset Borough Council has resolved to negotiate the sale of up to 100,000 gallons of water each day to Berkey Excavating, Inc. for an indefinite time period.
Borough Manager Ben Vinzani, Jr. says the two parties haven’t set a price yet, but all the revenue would go to Somerset’s water fund, which pays for municipal water services. Vinzani says the drilling company would actually pay more for water in bulk than regular customers because of costs associated with monitoring hydrants.
Vinzani says Berkey may have come to Somerset because they have wells nearby, but there are no Marcellus Shale gas wells in the borough itself.
The Borough Manager says Council “is aware” of the environmental controversy surrounding hydraulic fracturing, and won’t do anything to inflame that debate.
If the deal is approved, Vinzani says the Borough’s daily water usage could jump from 1.6 million to 1.7 million gallons per day.