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Adams Twp. development tabled a 4th time

Abandoned oil well concern a ‘Catch-22’

Adams Township’s board of supervisors tabled a vote a fourth time Monday, May 22, on preliminary approval for the Mandera Subdivision over concerns about an abandoned well on the property.

“The board had concerns from a safety standpoint that the well is addressed, and I believe they don’t want to give preliminary approval until they know what the status of the well is,” township manager Gary Peaco said.

The nine-lot subdivision near the Cranberry Township municipal line has been at a standstill since fall, when concerns were raised about whether an abandoned well on the property was a gas well.

The developer, Victor Wetzel Associates, submitted a report from Core Environmental Associates at the supervisors’ April 25 meeting stating the well was a casing buried on the property and had never been used for water, gas or oil.

“I think the question came up to the validity of the report,” Peaco said. “The board had some questions about the validity of the report.”

At the April 25 meeting, chairman Russell Ford said the board had requested confirmation from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and the vote was tabled.

“It’s almost like you’re in a ‘Catch-22,’” Peaco said. “There are DEP guidelines, but the DEP is just not really going to put anything in writing — they require the developer to follow the regulations and then have some authority from the developer-side sign off on it.”

According to Peaco, the vote was tabled at Monday’s meeting to allow the developer open the casing and settle the matter.

“Until they open it up, they don’t really know what (type of) well it is, because it’s already capped, and the thought was that they were drilling for gas years ago and hit water and then they capped it,” Peaco said. “Well, we have no idea until they open it back up and definitively know what it is.”

A 30-day extension has been given on preliminary approval while the developer uncaps the well.

“It comes to the point where you have to address the well,” Peaco said. “We need to know what the status of that is — and get it capped for the DEP — and then we can move forward.”

Splash pad to see ‘soft opening’

Adams Township Community Park’s new splash pad is expected to see a “soft opening” sometime next week, according to Peaco.

He said the township is completing the parking lot and some finishing touches.

“The parking lot, lights and safety surface for the splash pad are planned — weather permitting — to be done this Friday,” Peaco said.

The township has hired two staff members for the splash pad and is taking applications for “one or two more.”

Peaco said the township is planning a formal grand opening and ribbon-cutting at the beginning of June.

“It’s a big step for our park, and it’s a big project,” Peaco said, “so it’ll be nice to do that.”

While the soft opening could see doors open as early as Memorial Day, Peaco said more information will be in available later this week.

“The weather’s supposed to be in the 80s next week,” he said, “so it’d be nice to have that open.”

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