[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Raccoon 3-12-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-1. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Zoning — See Ch. 185.
The purpose of this chapter is to provide adequate protections for the health, safety and general welfare of the residents of Raccoon Township while allowing for the reasonable development of land for oil and gas exploration and operations. Oil and gas exploration, drilling and extraction operations involve activities that are economically important, but which will also have a significant impact upon the lands and the residents of Raccoon Township. Accordingly, it is necessary and appropriate to adopt reasonable measures for oil and gas resource development so that these resources can be utilized in a manner that is economically remunerative, preserves the character of all zoning districts, encourages beneficial and compatible land uses and that minimizes the potential impact of this land use on the residents of Raccoon Township. In adopting this chapter, it is recognized that the newly enacted Pennsylvania Act 13 preempts and supersedes virtually all of the Township's traditionally sovereign power to properly monitor land uses through zoning regulations. The effect of Act 13 was a preemption of Ordinance 3-2011. Consequently, it is intended that this chapter be interpreted to conform to and in no way conflict with the requirements of Act 13.
Those definitions that are set forth in Act 13 are incorporated herein by reference with the same force and affect as though fully set forth at length herein. To the extent that any of these definitions conflict with those set forth in Act 13, the Act 13 definition shall control. Accordingly, the foregoing definitions shall apply to this chapter only:
- Any person, owner, operator, partnership, company, corporation and/or its subcontractors and agents who has an interest in real estate for the purpose of exploring, drilling for, producing, or transporting oil or gas.
- An occupied structure with walls and roof within which persons live or customarily work. The term shall not include a barn, shed or other storage building.
- COLLECTOR STREET
- A public street or road which, in addition to providing access to abutting lots, intercepts other collector streets or state roads and provides a route for carrying volumes of local traffic to community facilities and arterial streets.
- A device used alone or in series to raise the pressure of natural gas and/or by-products to create a pressure differential to move or compress a liquid, vapor or gas.
- COMPRESSOR STATION
- A facility designed and constructed to compress natural gas and/or oil that originates from a single well site or a collection of such well sites, operating as a midstream facility for delivery of gas and/or oil to a transmission pipeline, distribution pipeline, processing plant or underground storage field, including one or more natural gas and/or oil compressors, associated buildings, pipes, valves, tanks and other equipment.
- The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
- Any portable framework, tower mast and/or structure which is required or used in connection with drilling or reworking a well for the production of oil or gas.
- Any digging or boring of a new well or reworking of an existing well to explore, develop or produce oil, gas or other hydrocarbons or to inject gas, water or any other fluids or substances into the earth in accordance with a valid permit issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) under the provisions of Act 13 as now or hereafter amended.
- DRILLING EQUIPMENT
- The derrick, all parts and appurtenances to such structure and every piece of apparatus, machinery or equipment used, erected or maintained in connection with oil and gas drilling, as defined herein.
- DRILLING PAD
- The area of surface operations surrounding the surface location of a wellhead or wellheads extending only to the heel of the pad. Such area shall not include an access road to the drilling pad.
- EFFECTIVE DATE
- The date upon which this chapter is approved by the Board of Supervisors of Raccoon Township.
- HYDRAULIC FRACTURING (FRACKING)
- The process of injecting water, customized fracking fluid, steam, or gas into an oil or gas well under pressure to break apart rock layers in order to release gas and improve recovery of gas in accordance with a valid permit issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) under the provisions of Act 13 as now or hereafter amended.
- LOCAL STREET
- A public street or road designed to provide access to abutting lots and to discourage through traffic.
- NATURAL GAS PROCESSING PLANT
- A facility that is not a compressor station that receives natural gas and associated hydrocarbons from a gathering line system serving one or more well sites that compresses, condenses, pressurizes or otherwise treats natural gas and which removes water and water vapor and/or separates materials such as ethane, propane, butane and other constituents or similar naturally occurring substances from natural gas to allow such natural gas to be of such quality as is required or appropriate for transmission or distribution to commercial markets, including, but not limited to: cooling facilities, storage tanks and related equipment and facilities.
- OIL AND GAS
- Crude oil, natural gas, methane gas, coal bed methane gas, propane, ethane, butane, pentane, hexane, nitrogen and/or any other constituents or similar substances that are produced by drilling an oil or gas well of any depth into, through and below the surface of the earth.
- OIL AND GAS DEVELOPMENT or DEVELOPMENT
- The well site preparation, construction, drilling, redrilling, hydraulic fracturing, and/or site restoration associated with an oil or gas well of any depth or drilling pad; water and other fluid storage, impoundment and transportation used for such activities; the installation and use of all associated equipment, derricks, including tanks, meters, and other equipment and structures whether permanent or temporary; and the site preparation, construction, installation, maintenance and repair of oil and gas pipelines and associated equipment and other equipment and activities associated with the exploration for, production and transportation of oil and gas - all in accordance with a valid permit issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) under the provisions of Act 13 as now or hereafter amended. This definition does not include gathering, transmission and distribution pipelines or compressor stations or natural gas processing plants or facilities performing the equivalent functions.
- OIL AND GAS DRILLING
- The removal of oil and gas resources from the ground by means of drilling, as defined herein, in accordance with a valid permit issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) under the provisions of Act 13 as now or hereafter amended.
- OIL AND GAS DRILLING DEEP WELL
- Oil and gas drilling, as defined herein, drilled to depths deeper than the base of the Elk Sandstone or its stratigraphic equivalent for the sole purpose of exploring the Marcellus Shale.
- OIL AND GAS DRILLING SHALLOW WELL
- Oil and gas drilling, as defined herein, drilled to depths shallower than the base of the Elk Sandstone or its stratigraphic equivalent and any well site that proposes drilling of a single well for no more than seven consecutive days total in any calendar year.
- OIL AND GAS DRILLING SUBSURFACE FACILITIES
- Activities performed under the surface of the ground that are part of the operation of oil and gas drilling, as defined herein, located on properties within the unit for a particular well site, but that are not included in the actual well site, including, but not limited to: horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing zones, underground gathering and transmission pipelines established in accordance with Public Utility Commission (PUC) guidelines, water distribution lines and similar underground facilities incidental to oil and gas development.
- OIL OR GAS WELL OR WELLHEAD
- A pierced or bored hole drilled or being drilled in the ground for the purpose of, or to be used for, producing, extracting or injecting gas, oil, petroleum or another liquid related to oil or gas production or storage including the structure that is placed over the opening upon completion of drilling and that is maintained during production in accordance with a valid permit issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) under the provisions of Act 13 as now or hereafter amended.
- Any person, partnership, company or corporation and/or its subcontractors and agents who have an interest in real estate for the purpose of exploring, drilling for, producing or transporting oil or gas.
- A person who owns, manages, leases, controls or otherwise holds an interest in or possesses an oil or gas well site.
- PROTECTED STRUCTURE
- Any occupied residence, business, school, church or public building located within 1,000 feet of an oil or gas well, as defined herein, that may be adversely affected by noise generated from the drilling or hydraulic fracturing at the well site, as defined herein, excluding any structure owned by an oil or gas lessor who has signed a lease with the operator granting surface rights to drill the subject well or whose owner or occupants have signed a waiver relieving the operator from complying with the noise abatement provisions of this chapter.
- STORAGE WELL
- A well used for and in connection with the underground storage of natural gas, including injection into or withdrawal from an underground storage reservoir for monitoring or observation of reservoir pressure.
- Township of Raccoon.
- TOWNSHIP STAFF
- Township of Raccoon Board of Supervisors, or other designated agent of the Township.
- WATER IMPOUNDMENT
- An open, earthen receptacle in the ground intended to store fresh water or wastewater to supply one or more oil and gas drilling well sites.
- WELL SITE
- All of the area occupied by the drilling equipment, as defined herein, and all surface facilities, structures, water and other fluid storage impoundments and storage tanks and associated equipment including tanks, meters and other permanent or temporary structures and equipment incidental to oil and gas drilling, as defined herein, including facilities and equipment necessary for site exploration, preparation, site construction, drilling, hydraulic fracturing, site restoration, production and operation of the well upon completion of drilling.
- WORKOVER OPERATIONS
- The work performed in a well after its completion in an effort to secure production where there has been none, restore production that has ceased, or increase production.
Oil and gas development, in accordance with the mandate of Act 13, shall be a permitted use in all zoning districts with the following exceptions:
No portion of a well site shall be located in a residential district where the wellhead is closer than 500 feet from an existing building.
No portion of a well site shall be located in a residential district where the outer edge of the well pad is closer than 300 feet from an existing building.
Oil and gas operations or development, other than the placement, use and repair of oil and gas pipelines, water pipelines, access roads or security facilities, may not take place within 300 feet of an existing building.
Water impoundments are permitted uses in all zoning districts provided that the edge of any impoundment area shall not be located closer than 300 feet from an existing building.
Well and pipeline location assessment operations, including seismic operations and related activities shall be conducted in accordance with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations relating to the storage and use of explosives.
Natural gas compressor stations, in accordance with the mandate of Act 13, shall be a permitted use in the General Agricultural District (A-1) and as conditional uses in all other zoning districts but only if the compressor station meets the following requirements:
The compressor station is located 750 feet or more from the nearest existing building or 200 feet from the nearest lot line, whichever is greater, unless a written waiver release is obtained from the owner of the building or adjoining lot; and
The noise level does not exceed a noise standard of 60dbA at the nearest property line or the applicable standard imposed by federal law, whichever is less.
Natural gas processing plants, in accordance with the mandate of Act 13, shall be a conditional use in the General Agricultural (A-1) District but only if the processing plant meets the following requirements:
The processing plant is located 750 feet or more from the nearest existing building or 200 feet from the nearest lot line, whichever is greater, unless a written waiver release is obtained from the owner of the building or adjoining lot; and
The noise level does not exceed a noise standard of 60dbA at the nearest property line or the applicable standard imposed by federal law, whichever is less.
Conditional use approval. Where applicable, conditional use approval must be obtained from the Township. The Township shall schedule a conditional use hearing in accordance with the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code and shall, following hearing, render a decision on the application in accordance with this chapter. The applicant shall bear the burden of persuasion to demonstrate that any proposed conditional use will not have a detrimental effect on the health, safety and welfare of the residents of Raccoon Township or the applicant shall accept such conditions necessary to eliminate said detrimental effects in order to obtain conditional use approval. The proposed conditional use must be harmonious with and in accordance with the general objectives or with any specific objective of the Township's Comprehensive Plan; will be designed, constructed, operated, and maintained in a commercially reasonable manner so as to be harmonious and appropriate in appearance with the existing or intended character of the general vicinity and will not change the essential character of the same area; will not be hazardous to existing neighboring uses; will be served adequately by essential facilities and services such as highways, streets, police and fire protection, drainage structures, refuse disposal, water and sewer; or the persons or agencies responsible for the establishment of the proposed use shall be able to adequately provide any such services; will not create excessive additional requirements at public expense for public facilities and services and will not be detrimental to the economic welfare of the community; will not involve uses, activities, processes, materials, equipment and conditions of operation that will be detrimental to any persons, property, or the general welfare by reason of excessive production of traffic, noise, smoke, fumes, glare or odors; will have vehicular approaches to the property which shall be designed so as not to create undue interference with traffic on surrounding public thoroughfares; will not result in the destruction, loss or damage of a natural, scenic, or historic feature of significant importance.
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.
This chapter applies to all oil or gas well developments and operations, natural gas compressor stations and natural gas processing plants that will be explored or constructed after the effective date of the chapter. No oil or gas well or exploration of same of any type or nature shall be dug or drilled, nor shall any work in preparation therefor be commenced within the boundaries of Raccoon Township unless and until the owner or operator of such operation makes application for a zoning permit in conformity with this chapter.
Oil or gas well sites, developments, compressor stations and processing plants that were permitted or constructed prior to the adoption of this chapter shall not be required to meet the requirements of this chapter; provided that any modification to an existing or permitted oil or gas well site that occurs after the effective date of this chapter and materially alters the size, type, location, or other accessory equipment or structures, or any physical modifications to an existing compressor station or natural gas processing plant shall require compliance with and approval pursuant to the provisions of this chapter. Pending zoning applications shall not be required to comply with repealed Ordinance 3-2011, but shall instead comply with the provisions of this chapter.
Raccoon Township hereby acknowledges that it is pre-empted from regulating the operational methods of the oil and gas industry and may only regulate land uses in accordance with Pennsylvania Act 13.
All activities conducted in association with and as a part of any oil or gas well sites shall be in accordance with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Act 13, as amended, and any other applicable federal, state and county laws as well as applicable Township ordinances. Additionally, in accordance with Act 13, any environmental acts that regulate oil and gas operations occupy the entire field relative to said regulation and therefore may not be regulated by Raccoon Township.
Subterranean or subsurface operations or facilities shall not require an application or zoning permit as such uses are not the subject of zoning regulation. Notwithstanding, such operations must be done in accordance with a valid permit issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) under the provisions of Act 13 as now or hereafter amended. Permits for crossing or disturbance of any commonwealth or Township street shall be required.
Owners, operators and applicants must submit a zoning application in order to obtain a zoning permit for any oil and gas development, natural gas compressor station or natural gas processing plant. Applicants shall have the duty to supply information indicating compliance with the specific provisions set forth in this chapter as well as Act 13. A summary of these requirements is attached hereto marked Exhibit A.
The permit application, or modification permit application, shall be accompanied by a fee in the amount of $1,000 which may, from time to time, be amended by resolution. The applicant shall promptly pay any additional fees or costs incurred by the Township that exceed this fee as allowable under the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.
Any modification to an existing and permitted oil or gas well site, compressor station or processing plant that materially alters the size, location, accessory equipment or structures, or any physical modification to an existing compressor station or natural gas processing plant shall require a modification of the permit under this chapter. Like-kind replacements shall not require a permit modification.
Purpose. Before submitting a zoning application, the applicant is strongly encouraged to meet with the Township staff and Planning Commission to review the application for completeness in accordance with this chapter. The intent of this process is for the applicant to obtain necessary information and guidance from the Township staff before entering into any commitments or incurring substantial expenses with regard to the site and plan preparation. It is further intended that this conference will obviate the requirement of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code for submission and review of a land development plan by the Planning Commission as Act 13 does not expressly address this requirement.
Process. A preapplication conference is voluntary on the part of the applicant and shall not be deemed the beginning of the time period for review as prescribed by law. The preapplication conferences are intended for the benefit of the applicant in order to address the required permit submittals and are advisory only, and shall not bind the Township to approve any application for a permit or to act within any time limit relative to the date of such conference.
The applicant shall provide to the Township at the time of application the following:
A narrative describing an overview of the project including the number of acres to be involved, the number of wells to be drilled, location, number and general description of equipment and structures to be involved.
A narrative describing an overview of the project as it relates to compressor stations or natural gas processing plants, if applicable.
The address of the oil or gas well site, compressor station or natural gas processing plant as determined by the Township or county for information of emergency responders. A 9-1-1 address or GPS coordinates should be assigned to the location.
The contact information of the individual or individuals responsible for the operation and activities at the oil or gas well site shall be provided to the Township and all appropriate emergency responders and well control specialists. Such information shall include a phone number where such individual or individuals can be contacted 24 hours per day, 365 days a year. Annually, or upon any change of relevant circumstances, the applicant shall update such information and provide it to the Township and all appropriate emergency responders.
A location map of the oil or gas well site showing the approximate location of derricks, drilling rigs, wellheads, water impoundments, equipment and structures including temporary housing trailers and all permanent improvements to the site and any postconstruction surface disturbance in relation to natural and other surroundings including roads and designated parking areas.
A location map of any proposed compressor stations or natural gas processing plants including any equipment and structures and all permanent improvements to the site.
A narrative and map describing the manner and routes over Township roads for the transportation and delivery of equipment, machinery, water, chemicals and other materials used in the siting, exploration, drilling, construction, development, maintenance and operation of the oil or gas well site.
A roadway excess maintenance agreement may be required along with a road plan and appropriate bonding if it is determined that the use is likely to cause damage to Township roads in accordance with Title 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 4901 et seq. and the Pa. Code Chapter 189 relative to hauling in excess of posted weight limits.
The road plan shall show the proposed Township routes of all vehicles to be utilized for hauling and the estimated weights of those vehicles. The applicant shall show evidence of compliance with designated weight limits on Township roads, unless a bond and a maintenance agreement has been entered into to assure road damage repair. The applicant shall design the hauling routes to minimize the use of and impact upon Township roads wherever feasible.
The road plan shall indicate that intersections along proposed hauling routes provide a sufficient turning radius for vehicles to be utilized for hauling, such that all turns can be safely made without damage to vehicles, sidewalks or curbs.
The Township Engineer shall review the road plan and proposed routes provided by the applicant and reasonably determine whether preventive measures, such as shoring of bridges or putting protective mats over utility lines, should be taken to prevent damage to Township roads, bridges or utilities. If such preventive measures are recommended, the applicant shall install such protective measures as directed by the Township Engineer prior to beginning operations.
A description of, and commitment to maintain, safeguards that shall be taken by the applicant to ensure that Township streets utilized by the applicant shall remain free of dirt, mud and debris resulting from site development activities and the applicant's assurance that such streets will be promptly swept or cleaned if dirt, mud and debris occur as a result of applicant's usage.
Verification that a copy of the operation's preparedness, prevention and contingency plan has been provided to the Township and all emergency responders and well control specialists. The applicant must supply the name and address of the well control specialists assigned to the subject well. Emergency responders are to be held harmless and indemnified by the applicant when acting in accordance with the emergency response plan. The applicant is responsible to reimburse all costs associated with emergency responders. A statement that the applicant, upon changes occurring to the operation's preparedness, prevention and contingency plan, will provide to the Township and all appropriate emergency responders the dated revised copy of the preparedness, prevention and contingency plan while drilling activities are taking place at the oil or gas well site. Assurance that, at least 30 days prior to drilling and annually thereafter if requested by the Township, the applicant shall provide an appropriate site orientation and training course of the preparedness, prevention and contingency plan for all appropriate emergency responders. The cost and expense of the orientation and training shall be sole responsibility of the applicant. The applicant shall not be required to hold more than one site orientation and training course annually under this section.
A soil erosion and sedimentation control plan, in conformance with the requirements of the Beaver County Conservation District, must be submitted along with obtaining a grading and excavating permit from the Township as well as the execution of a stormwater best management practices agreement between the applicant and the Township in accordance with Township ordinances.
At such time as the site is to be rehabilitated or reclaimed, a plan shall be submitted indicating permanent roads, buildings, structures, equipment, streams or other watercourses, impoundments, drainage and stormwater facilities and utility lines, both gas (gathering, transmission and distribution) and electric.
A certification from the applicant that the intended use is in compliance with the requirements of Act 13 and all environmental acts that regulate any portion of the proposed oil or gas operation.
Time period for review. Upon the submission of a complete application documenting compliance with all provisions of this chapter, the Township shall have a period not to exceed 30 days for permitted use applications and 120 days for conditional use applications to review and approve said application.
If the application is incomplete and/or inadequate the Township will notify the applicant within 10 days of the missing or inadequate material. The time period for review shall not commence to run until a complete application is submitted.
All commonwealth and federal requirements associated with oil and gas well development must be followed at all times and, upon request, permits associated with those requirements shall be supplied to the Township. Conditional use approval shall be indefinitely conditioned upon the applicant maintaining valid commonwealth and federal operating permits. The applicant shall immediately notify the Township of the suspension, modification or revocation of any such permits as any such action will effectively revoke the zoning permit issued hereunder.
There shall be adequate area on the development site for staging trucks waiting to make deliveries or service to the site that does not unreasonably disrupt the normal flow of traffic on any public street or roadway.
Accepted professional standards pertaining to minimum traffic sight distances for all access points to public roads shall be followed.
The access road to the well site shall be required to be improved and maintained before entering Township or state roads in such a manner that no excess water, sediment or debris will be carried onto any public streets or roadways.
Any newly established private easements/roadways constructed on the parcel containing the well site for the purpose of serving the well site shall be located at least 25 feet from any property line unless consent is obtained from the adjoining property owner. Existing easements/roadways shall be exempt from the requirement to obtain consent from adjoining property owner. The Township, at its discretion, may permit a permanent easement/roadway to be located closer than 25 feet from any property line upon showing by the applicant that the location of such easement/roadway cannot otherwise be constructed as required due to topographical, environmental constraints or other significant hardship.
Compliance with the commonwealth's ESCGP-1 permitting process shall be supplied.
Permanent structures associated with an oil and gas well site, both principal and accessory, including compressor stations and processing plants, shall comply with the respective height regulations for a use in an Agricultural Zoning District.
There shall be an exemption to the height restrictions contained in this section for the temporary placement of drilling rigs, derricks, drying tanks, and other accessory uses necessary for the actual drilling or redrilling of an oil or gas well with the following conditions:
The duration of such exemption shall not exceed the actual time period of active drilling or redrilling of an oil or gas well.
The time period of such drilling and exemption shall not exceed six months unless extended in writing as necessary and reasonable upon request of the applicant.
The operator shall give the Township prior written notice of the beginning date for its exercise of the exemption.
Setbacks with regard to buildings, water wells, surface water intake points, reservoirs or other water supply extraction points used by a water purveyor, streams, springs, wetlands and other bodies of water are governed by Act 13 which preempted all local regulations relative to setbacks. See attached Exhibit A for applicable setbacks under Act 13.
Drilling vertical well bores, compressor stations and natural gas processing plants shall be set back 500 feet from buildings or sites registered or eligible for registration on the National Register of Historic Places or the Pennsylvania Register of Historic Places.
Drilling vertical well bores, compressor stations and natural gas processing plants shall be set back 500 feet from all the edge of any area designated as a landfill containing hazardous substances.
Fencing and screening.
Security fencing shall not be required at oil or gas well sites during the initial drilling, or redrilling operations, as long as manned twenty-four-hour on-site supervision and security are being provided.
Upon completion of drilling or redrilling, security fencing consisting of a permanent chain link fence shall be promptly installed at the oil or gas well site to secure wellheads, storage tanks, separation facilities, water or liquid impoundment areas, and other mechanical and production equipment and structures on the oil or gas well site. Fencing is not required as long as twenty-four-hour on-site supervision and security are being provided.
Adequate security fencing shall be constructed in accordance with existing zoning ordinance provisions relative to fencing in an Agricultural District.
Warning signs shall be placed on the fencing surrounding the oil or gas well site providing notice of the potential dangers and the relevant contact information in the event of an emergency.
In construction of oil or gas well sites the natural surroundings should be considered and measures taken to preserve existing trees and other native vegetation to promote and utilize natural screening.
Water impoundment areas containing fresh or wastewater shall be protected by fencing. Fencing shall be constructed in accordance with existing zoning ordinance provisions relative to fencing in an Agricultural District.
Lighting at the oil or gas well site, or other facilities associated with oil and gas drilling development, either temporary or permanent, shall be directed downward and inward toward the activity, to the extent practicable, so as to minimize the glare on public roads and nearby buildings within 500 feet of the oil or gas well development.
Lighting at a compressor station or a natural gas processing plant shall, when practicable, be limited to security lighting and shall be directed downward and inward toward the activity, to the extent practicable, so as to minimize the glare on public roads and nearby buildings within 500 feet of the station or plant.
Noise. Township recognizes and acknowledges that oil and gas development, compressor stations and processing plants are customarily accompanied by inherent noise. However, the operator shall take the following steps to minimize, to the extent practicable, the noise resulting therefrom:
Prior to the application submittal, the applicant shall establish a continuous seventy-two-hour ambient noise level at the nearest protected structure property line or 100 feet from the nearest protected structure (as measured to the closest exterior point of the building), whichever is closer to the protected structure. The sound level meter used in conducting any evaluation shall meet the American National Standard Institute's standard for sound meters or an instrument and the associated recording and analyzing equipment which will provide equivalent data.
The applicant shall provide documentation of any established, seventy-two-hour evaluation, relied upon to establish an ambient noise level to the Township's Zoning Officer within three business days of such a request from the Zoning Officer.
If it is determined that any residents, regardless of their status of residing or working in a protected structure, may be adversely affected by the noise at the site, the Township may require that noise abatement measures be implemented including, but not limited to, the erection of sound walls around the site.
If a complaint is received by the Township from any person, whether a resident or otherwise using the protected structure as defined herein for any lawful purpose, regarding noise generated from the site, the operator shall, within 24 hours of receipt of the complaint from the Township, continuously monitor for a forty-eight-hour period at a point which is the closer to the complainant's building of:
If the operator engages in any noise testing as required by this chapter, it will provide preliminary data to the Township no later than 10 business days following completion of the noise testing. Once the monitoring is complete, operator will meet with Township representatives and affected residents to discuss whether additional abatement measures are warranted.
Floodplains. Oil and gas drilling in the one-hundred-year floodplain is governed by Act 13 which preempts local regulation.
Oil and gas operations shall not create noxious dust so as to create a nuisance. Owners and operators shall take the necessary safeguards to ensure appropriate dust control measures are in place. Exhaust from any internal combustion engine or compressor used in connection with the drilling of any well or for use on any production equipment or used in development shall not be discharged into the open air unless equipped with: i) an exhaust muffler; or ii) an exhaust box. The exhaust muffler or exhaust box shall be constructed of noncombustible materials designed and installed to suppress noise and disruptive vibrations. Moreover, all such equipment with an exhaust muffler or exhaust box shall be maintained in good operating condition according to manufacturer's specifications.
The emissions of dust, smoke, refuse matter, odor, gas, fumes or similar substances or conditions which can endanger the health, safety or general welfare or which can cause any soiling or staining of persons or property at any point beyond the property line of the use creating the emission is prohibited as a nuisance. Dust control measures shall be used to stabilize soil from wind erosion and to reduce dust generated from drilling or site activities, including:
Stabilize exposed soils using vegetation, mulching, spray-on adhesives, calcium chloride, sprinkling, and stone and gravel layering.
Stabilize unpaved haul roads, parking and staging areas within the site.
Minimize the impact of dust by anticipating the direction of prevailing winds.
Direct construction and commercial vehicle traffic to stabilized roadways within the site.
Pave, vegetate, or chemically stabilize access points where unpaved traffic surfaces adjoin paved public streets.
Provide for wet suppression or chemical stabilization of exposed soils.
Provide for rapid cleanup of sediments deposited on paved roads.
Furnish vehicle wash down areas.
Impose 10 miles per hour or less vehicle speed and reduce trips on unpaved roads on the site.
Implement dust control measures for material stockpiles.
Stabilize abandoned construction/staging areas on site using vegetation or chemical stabilization methods.
A dust control plan shall be submitted with the application.
Workers. A worker, agent, contractor or employee connected with an oil or gas operation shall be prohibited from residing and living on the site for more than two consecutive weeks at a time during active drilling operations. Once active drilling has ceased no person shall be permitted to reside on the site.
Water impoundments. Water impoundments are governed by Act 13 which preempts local regulation with the exception that all water impoundments must be completely enclosed with fencing in accordance with Township for fencing in an Agricultural District. Sediment and hydraulic fracturing wastewater may only be disposed of in accordance applicable state and federal standards for disposal of hazardous materials.
Odor. Owners or operators shall take all necessary precautions to minimize odors during the drilling or hydraulic fracturing process as well as at compressor stations and processing plants. If odors resulting from such operations result in creating a nuisance, the owner or operator shall upon request of the Township meet with the affected person(s) and implement where warranted and required effective odor control measures.
Traffic. Owners or operators shall take all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of persons in areas established for road crossing and/or adjacent to roadways, i.e., persons waiting for public or school transportation, crosswalks, etc. Where necessary and permitted, during periods of anticipated heavy or frequent truck traffic associated with the development, owners or operators will provide flagmen to ensure the safety of children at or near schools or school bus stops and include adequate signs and/or other warning measures for truck traffic and vehicular traffic. In the alternative, owners or operators, with the Township's consent and agreement, will reimburse the Township to provide such required safety measures. Operator will coordinate its efforts with the school district so as to minimize heavy truck traffic during the hours when school buses are picking up or dropping off children.
Brush. Owners or operators shall not clear brush by way of burning and shall not cut trees, chip, grind or remove tree stumps or limbs from properties it clears for development purposes unless done so in conformity with Township ordinances including ordinances pertaining to timber or logging operations.
Hours of operation. Hours of operation for drilling, assembly and disassembly of drilling rigs, compressor stations and processing plants are governed by Act 13 which preempts local regulation. Hours of construction during site grading, preparation of installation of roads, drilling pads, water impoundments, noise barriers and related facilities shall be 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Public meeting. Applicants are encouraged but not required, prior to commencement of drilling activities at the site, to collectively meet with the operator, Township, abutting and affected property owners, representatives of the school district and public safety officials to address concerns regarding any of the requirements set forth in this chapter or Act 13.
Emergencies. If a spill, fire or other violation of any federal, state or local law occurs at the drill site, compressor station or processing plant in the Township by operator or its subcontractors, operator will notify the Township immediately, in all circumstances not later than 24 hours after the incident occurred or, if the incident is ongoing, not later than 24 hours after it began.
Exceptions. Coal bed methane and conventional oil and gas well drilling and completion activities, i.e., those wells drilled to depths shallower than the base of the Elk Sandstone or its stratigraphic equivalent, and such oil and gas wells that are planned to involve drilling of a single well on a well site for no more than seven consecutive days total in any calendar year can request a waiver from the Township from any condition set forth herein, if in the sole discretion of the Township, the conditions are not necessary to protect the health, safety and welfare of the residents.
Any owner, operator, or other person who violates or permits a violation of this chapter upon being found liable therefor in a civil enforcement proceeding before a Magisterial District Judge shall pay to the Township a fine of not more than $500, plus all court costs, including, but not limited to, reasonable attorney's fees incurred by the Township on account of such violation. No penalty or cost shall be imposed until the date the determination of the violation by the Magisterial District Judge becomes final. If the defendant neither pays nor timely appeals the judgment, the Township may enforce the judgment as provided by law. Each day a violation exists after final judgment shall constitute a separate offense. The amount of the fine imposed shall be multiplied by the number of such days and may be charged and collected as a judgment by the Township without further judicial proceedings. Further, the appropriate officers or agents of the Township are hereby authorized to issue a cease and desist notice and/or to seek equitable relief, including injunction, to enforce compliance herewith. No bond shall be required of the Township if the Township seeks injunctive relief.
If any chapter, section, subsection, paragraph, sentence or phrase of this chapter is for any reason declared invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not effect the validity of the chapter as a whole or any section or part thereof other than the section or part thereof so declared to be invalid.
Any ordinance, chapter, section, subsection, paragraph, sentence or phrase of any ordinance conflicting with the provisions of this chapter shall and the same is hereby repealed to the extent of such conflict.