The Ohio County Health department tells WTRF.com they issued their first permit for a labor camp to Chesapeake Energy in Ohio County.
Director of the Health Department, Howard Gamble, says the state notified him that the drilling sites were applying for large septic holding tanks and that the drilling sites would need to be inspected as labor camps.
Gamble stressed that this is new to his department because labor camps aren't traditionally permitted in the Northern Panhandle. He says other parts of the state use them mostly in the agricultural industry. Gamble says the permit has benefits.
"For the companies that operate the drill site, its convenience," he says. "Those employees are on site on a regular basis, housed there so if they need them they're more accessible. For some of the sites across the state of West Virginia, that may be the most beneficial thing to do for their production needs."
The permit is issued at no cost to the drilling company. It allows 14+ people to live and work on the same site. This means that drillers will no longer have to rent or stay in local hotels. They'll be able to live in their own trailers. When they move on to the next site, they just reapply for the labor camp permit.