Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Amish object to well-brine spraying on their rural Pa. roads

Siri Lawson holds a jam jar full of mud and fluids from roads after  brine was applied to the road outsidef her house
There are 44 miles of dirt roads in Pennsylvania's rural Farmington Township, Warren County, hard against the New York state line, and it’s not uncommon to see horse-drawn Amish buggies clip-clopping up and down them. In summer, Amish children walk the roads barefoot.
Don Hopey writes for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
It’s also not uncommon over the last decade to see tanker trucks spraying and spreading thousands of gallons of salty “brine,” wastewater from gas and oil well drilling, onto those same roads.
Supervisors of the township, located north of the Allegheny National Forest, say their constituents want them to keep road dust down for health and aesthetic reasons, and the tanker truck spraying is an economical way to do that — they don’t pay a dime to the two companies that apply the wastewater.
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But more than 50 Amish who live along and travel those dirt roads, and their “English” neighbors, have signed petitions asking the supervisors to stop what they say is the too frequent and excessive spreading of briny liquids that are sickening residents, polluting nearby streams and farm ponds, making the roads slick and dangerous to drive and quickly rusting out cars, trucks, trailers and buggies.
At an Amish farm and sawmill along Cemetery Road, one of the township’s dirt lanes, Noah Byler took a break from inspecting a compound bow and arrow set in the back of a neighbor’s pickup to say his family is opposed to the brine application.
“It seems every time they put brine down on the road he gets sick,” said Mr. Byler, who is Amish, pointing to his 12-year-old brother, Ammon, who stands along the road when waiting for his school bus. “Last summer he had to go to the hospital once for his breathing problems. He has an inhaler now.”

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