Ambridge Citizens Meet with Sen. Vogel on Reservoir Protection

Sen. Elder Vogel Meets with Citizens to Protect the Ambridge Reservoir

November 20, 2014

Marcia Lehman addresses concerns with Sen. Elder Vogel.
Marcia Lehman addresses concerns with Sen. Elder Vogel.

Rev. Jim Hamilton said a natural gas fracking spill at the Ambridge Reservoir would put thousands of homes, businesses and schools who depend on the water at risk of closure.

“There may be no alternative sources of drinking water for Ambridge, Baden, Harmony Township, Economy, Edgeworth, Bell Acres, Leet Township and Leetsdale,” said Hamilton of Ambridge.

He was one of several from the Citizens to Protect the Ambridge Reservoir (CPAR) who addressed concerns to Sen. Elder Vogel during a discussion about protecting the reservoir from surface drilling, water withdrawals and other risks associated with natural gas fracking.

Vogel, R-New Sewickley, met with constituents Thursday at the Church of the Savior in Ambridge. Leaders of the organization presented Vogel a petition containing more than 4,500 signatures and 66 letters asking to protect the reservoir and watershed.

Marcia Lehman of CPAR pointed out that Republican Sen. Joe Scarnati of Jefferson County was proactive in ending Marcellus drilling operations in the Brockway Reservoir where he gets his drinking water.

Scarnati, the Senate president pro tempore, said in an August news release that he reached out to the state Department of Environmental Protection to express serious reservations with allowing any further drilling at the proposed site or any nearby site that could potentially compromise the reservoir.

“He put a stop to the drilling there immediately with 300 signatures. We’re giving you almost 5,000 signatures,” Lehman said.

Hamilton said the Service Creek Watershed and the Ambridge Reservoir are designated as protected for cold water fishes and specially protected for high-quality water by the state Clean Streams Law.

Vogel told the group he was unaware of what Scarnati did, but agreed he would look into it and talk to the senator.

“Obviously drinking water and water in general is a precious commodity,” Vogel said. “At the same time you also have the private landowners who own the property around the reservoir, so that’s another issue we’ll have to try to deal with at some point in time.”

This topical map shows the Service Creek watershed in red and the Ambridge reservoir in blue.

This topical map shows the Service Creek watershed in red and the Ambridge reservoir in blue.