Creek, Stream Levels Too Low for Withdrawals

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Gas companies use lots and lots of water to extract natural gas from the earth.

Much of that water comes from local creeks, streams and rivers.

It has been so dry the commission that oversees water withdrawals has put a stop to them at 20 sites, two were suspended on Thursday.

At the Hughesville Wolf Authority in Lycoming County, Rod Miller said the plant treats 400,000 gallons of waste per day and returns the clean water to the Muncy Creek.

Little to no snow this winter and a dry spring means the creek needs all the help it can get and Miller said the creek levels are at about half of what is normal for April.

"It's low, it's low. Luckily we clean water and put it back clean to help, but without God's good will to make it rain, we're in a dry period especially this time of year," said Miller.

If creek levels were where they are supposed to be this time of year, gas drillers could pull water from tanks that are set up at the Hughesville Wolf Authority. The water levels are just too low right now and the program is not online just yet.

About 20 water withdrawal sites in the Susquehanna River Basin have been halted by the commission that oversees the practice. Most of them in Lycoming and Bradford counties, including the Hughesville Wolf Authority, affect natural gas companies.

Those companies can start taking water from those sources again only when the streams or creeks are above protected levels again for 48 hours.

However regulators fear without much rain in the forecast, the situation will only get worse.

There are a great many more water withdrawal sites still in operation, said a spokesperson for the Susquehanna River Basin Commission.

Each day, more and more of them fall closer to the levels where companies will have to stop taking water from the streams and creeks.