WATKINS GLEN, NY (WENY) -- A company seeking state approval to store liquified petroleum gas in underground salt caverns near Seneca Lake is notifying the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation of pressure testing in several wells on its Watkins Glen property, after a recent discovery.
Attorneys for Crestwood Midstream's subsidiary, Finger Lakes LPG, storage wrote in a May 17th letter to the DEC commissioner that recent development on one of its wells discovered "potential communication" between that well and other nearby wells. The company is notifying the DEC it will now perform a pressure test on several wells, and report those findings to the agency. The pressure test will involve Gallery 10, which includes three wells. According to the letter, the development of well 64 on the property led to the discovery of the potential communication with wells in Gallery 10.
A pressure test of Gallery 10 would be required under Finger Lakes LPG's draft permit issued by the DEC. While the project has not received formal approval, the company plans to move forward with the pressure test at this time. The company will also install a pressure monitor on another well, accessing another well gallery.
The letter requests DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos to hold off on any decision on pending appeals until the results of the pressure test have been reported to the agency. As WENY has reported, approval of the project is under review by an Administrative Law Judge.
As WENY has been reporting, Crestwood plans to store up to 1.5 million barrels of propane in the underground caverns. The caverns are located adjacent to an existing propane supply pipeline.
Opponents of Crestwood's plan seized on the recent letter, saying the letter shows there are issues with the caverns, and the project is unsafe. Over the years, neighboring community members, municipalities and businesses have opposed the project, saying it threatens Seneca Lake, and a vibrant tourism and wine industry in the region.
"The gas storage project has kept families and businesses in the region in limbo for nearly 8 years while a DEC judge reviewed independent expert reports submitted during an Issues Conference." said Joseph Campbell, President of Gas Free Seneca. "The judge decreed that all of those reports should be entered into the record, making it possible for DEC Commissioner Seggos to deny permits for the project, based on the numerous unanswered questions and risks the project poses to public safety and to air and water quality, not to mention the threat to the robust Finger Lakes economy and the character of our community. This new information suggests what we knew all along, that the caverns are not stable and the gas could migrate if stored there. It is inconceivable to us why Governor Cuomo would not work with his DEC Commissioner, Basil Seggos, to deny the permits in light of this development."
Crestwood Midstream operates a similar LPG and butane storage facility in Savona, in neighboring Steuben County.