North Huntingdon to regulate seismic testing

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North Huntingdon commissioners Wednesday night passed an ordinance to regulate seismic testing in the township.

“We passed the ordinance for protection for the township and the residents from damage,” Commissioner Rich Gray said. “It gives us some control over how they do it, where they do it and the method they use.

“It’s all a precursor to drilling that will come down the road."

Thumper trucks, vibrating machines, weight drops and explosives are being used across Pennsylvania to map the layers of substrata beneath the earth and to find Marcellus Shale and other gas deposits. The seismic testers drill test holes and place small charges in them.

Other devices measure the reflection of vibrations from the explosions to help map the rock formations and identify the prime deposits of gas, Mr. Gray said.

The township’s new ordinance will require anyone wanting to do such testing in the township to get a permit first at a cost of $500.

According to the ordinance, the person requesting the permit must include his or her name, address, the type of explosives or other method of vibration to be used, the purpose of the testing and a map showing a designated area including all points of testing and the energy source to be used at each point.

The applicant must also submit a traffic control plan for any operation that will impede traffic on public rights-of-way; and his or her insurance information, including the insurance carrier name, the type and amount of insurance covering the operations and the name and telephone number of someone to call in case there is a claim for personal or property damage at

some point.

If approved by the commissioners, each permit for exploration will be for one year, and the applicant must inform the commissioners a minimum of seven business days before the testing starts.

On Wednesday night, the commissioners also voted to have McDonald Land Services LLC to do seismic testing at Turner Valley Park, Braddock's Trail Park and on a parcel the township owns near the Falcon Ridge plan.

Officials said North Huntingdon may someday get revenue from drilling on township properties.

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