E. Side well issue lingers

By JOSH COTTON

jcotton@timesobserver.com

A five-year-saga regarding an oil well on the east side has come to a close.

But not quite yet.

Warren City Council was updated on a well drilled by Timothy Koebley on Biddle St. during the March meeting on Monday night.

City Solicitor Andrea Stapleford said the well “has been fully plugged.”

While that sounds like the end of the story, it really isn’t.

“There was discussion about some residual fluids that came from that well,” Stapleford said. “(There) was a line from the well that fed a production line,” she explained, noting that fluids were discharged when when the well was plugged.

Stapleford said that as a result of the release, a notice of violation was issued to Koebley by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and Koebley was “given a specific amount of time to clean up.”

She added that a DEP inspector will be tasked with ensuring the clean up occurs.

Koebley allegedly drilled the well without DEP approval.

Council, in a meeting last year, took action to express a desire to see the well plugged.

“We have an illegal well operating in an illegal place,” Lewis said at a November, 2013 meeting.. “It needs to be sealed. That’s the decision we need to come to, that’s what the motion says.”

City representatives had been in settlement talks with Koebley but those talks broke down.

“I think we’re re-enforcing the fact that we’re not interested in any kind of settlement talks with them, or supporting them in any kind of settlement talks and that we want the well plugged,” Councilman Maurice Cashman said at the time. “Don’t come to us for any settlement talks. Just proceed to plug the well and that’s what we desire because where you have it is illegal, it’s not to be there, we’re not condoning it. Please plug it and go away.”

Council was updated in January that Koebley had not complied with an order from DEP to plug the well and that DEP had issued an additional 30-day extension.