Notice of Permit Authorization
Subject: Corps Approves Offloading Facility Permit
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) approved the permit request by GreenHunter Water, LLC to construct, operate and maintain a barge offloading facility along the right descending bank of the Ohio River approximately 223.7 miles downstream of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at 53549 Great Bend Road, in Portland, Meigs County, Ohio.
Administrative History: The GreenHunter Water, LLC Department of the Army permit application, received by the Corps on September 11, 2013, proposed the construction, operation and maintenance of a barge offloading facility along the right descending bank of the Ohio River at approximate river mile 223.7. At the time the proposal was advertised by the Corps via Public Notice No. LRH-2013-848-OHR, GreenHunter Water, LLC proposed to transport and unload a combination of legacy fluid (generated by vertical wells) and shale gas extraction waste water (SGEWW) (generated from horizontal fracking operations). However, on September 25, 2014, GreenHunter Water, LLC revised their proposal to include the transporting and offloading of only legacy fluid. The United States Coast Guard [USCG] referred to legacy fluid as “traditional” well waste (oilfield produced bi-product) coming from vertical wells. No SGEWW can be transported without prior approval from the USCG. Further, the permittee must request and receive a modification to their Department of the Army permit if they receive the USCG approval.
Project Description: GreenHunter Water LLC’s proposal includes the construction and operation of a barge dock with a center platform and two pipe pile dolphins to accommodate two tank barges (either 195 feet x 35 feet or 300 feet x 54 feet) simultaneously. Construction of the barge dock will involve the installation of five 24 inch pilings driven to an elevation of 522 feet extending to an elevation of 595 feet above mean sea level, and a platform measuring 20 feet long by 10 feet wide. Piping valves, pipe and a tankermen shelter will be installed on the dock. A crane capable of handling hoses connecting the dock pipe valves to the barge piping values will be installed on top of the tankermen shelter. A 100 foot walkway/pipeway will be constructed and will extend from the dock to the top of the river bank. Two tripod mooring dolphins, each consisting of 24 inch wall pipe pile and two supporting 14 inch wall batter piles, will be installed upstream and downstream of the barge dock for mooring of the tank barges.
GreenHunter Water LLC plans to offload legacy fluid (~2.5 million bbl per year) from the tank barges via a pipeline, mounted on the side of the walkway, to the existing above ground storage tanks. The maximum riverward extension of the facility will be 165 feet from the shoreline at a normal pool elevation of 560.0 feet above mean sea level. The overall offloading facility will extend approximately 600 linear feet along the shoreline at the location noted above.
Permit Decision: Evaluation of the Department of the Army permit application has been completed. The decision to issue a Department of the Army permit is based on an evaluation of the probable impacts, including cumulative impacts, of the proposed activity on the public interest. Evaluation of the probable impacts which the activity may have on the public interest requires a careful weighing of many factors which may include: conservation, economics, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, historic properties, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, floodplain values, land use, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food and fiber production, mineral needs, considerations of property ownership and, in general, the needs and welfare of the people.
The benefits which reasonably may be expected to accrue from any proposal must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. The decision to approve this Department of the Army permit, and the conditions under which it will be allowed to occur, were determined by the outcome of this general balancing process. That decision reflects the national concern for both the protection and the utilization of important resources. The validated Department of the Army permit prohibits the offloading of SGEWW generated from horizontal fracking operations. If the permittee proposes to offload SGEWW in the future, they would be required to obtain prior authorization from the Corps.
The Corps is neither a proponent nor an opponent of any permit proposal. In accordance with 33 Code of Federal Regulation 320.4, “a permit will be granted unless the district engineer determines that it would be contrary to the public interest.” Authorization by the Corps neither conveys property rights nor does it authorize any injury to property or invasion of other rights.
For more information, contact the Huntington District public affairs office at 304-399-5353 or visit our website: www.lrh.usace.army.mil.