CADIZ - Gas drilling was the topic for the majority of business on the agenda for Harrison County Commissioners Wednesday.
Six agreements on the agenda for road use by gas exploration companies signaled that the volume of wells being drilled in and near the county was on the rise.
The permits for road use suggested the drilling would be commencing all across the county. Agreement 21-12 included 0.3 miles of CR 47, Kilgore Ridge Rd. for Chesapeake Exploration. Agreement 22-12 with Hess Ohio Development LLC accessed a well on CR 8, Plum Run Rd. just South of US 250. 24-12 was also approved with Chesapeake for 1.4 mi. of CR44, 0.1 mi. of CR 17 and 0.8 mi. of CR 45 to access the Dodson well. Agreements 25-12 and 26-12 both covered 0.3 mi. of CR 51a and 0.8 mi. of CR 51 with Chesapeake to access two separate locations, the McCoy and Booth wells.
Commissioners also approved agreement 23-12 with Dominion East Ohio for crossing five county highways in Nottingham and Stock townships to construct the Smith to Stock 30 inch pipeline. The pipeline will cross CR 2, CR 55, CR 502, CR 45 and CR 66.
Doug Crabtree, representing the Harrison County engineer, told the board that his office was keeping track of the permits for wells and their physical address and mapping the drilling activity.
"We have the map on the wall in the engineer's office and are updating the well locations as the information is coming in to us," said Crabtree.
"Should we have copies of the map made available for county emergency services?" Commissioner Don Bethel said, asking if this would aid responders in the event of an incident.
"We have talked with the gas companies in our training to establish protocols for incidents," Crabtree, also vice president of the Harrison County Emergency Services Association, stated. "Basically, their policy is that they prefer their own personnel handle any incidents on site."
"The companies have their own response teams which handle emergencies, which are equipped for the situations, " Crabtree explained. "Fire department response could be a different story. They are better equipped with protective gear, but especially our EMTs are not really equipped for those kinds of situations."
"Beyond the permits, there is no notification required by the state for these drilling sites," Crabtree added. "We would be called by gas company employees in the event of an emergency, and our job would be to wait at the gate to receive injured workers for transport or provide support."
The map of drilling sites is available for viewing by the public during regular office hours and a printable version is currently in the process of being made available.
In other business: Treasurer Vicki Sefsick told commissioners that the mobile home bills were being printed and would be mailed next week. Those taxes are due Aug. 8.
Commissioners transferred $13,000 from their computer line item to examinations to cover the cost of the recent audit.
Commissioner Barbara Pincola announced that next week's board meeting would not be held due to the Independence Day holiday and also encouraged everyone to attend the upcoming Harrison County Fair on July 3-7.
Palmer may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org