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Concerns over injection wells near WCCC (Washington, Ohio County Career Center)

Concerns over injection wells near WCCC (Washington, Ohio County Career Center)

A local oil and gas company is requesting a permit to locate four brine injection wells on property it owns near the Washington County Career Center on Ohio 676 just outside Marietta in Warren Township. And the proposal has reportedly generated some community concern.

Just more than 30 community members and officials turned out to the Washington County Career Center Board of Education regular meeting Thursday evening, all over concern about a proposed injection well on the school’s property.

Source: Marietta Times

By: Jackie Runion  and Sam Shawver

LINK: http://www.mariettatimes.com/page/content.detail/id/570003/Concerns-over-wells-near-WCCC.html

LINK: http://www.mariettatimes.com/page/content.detail/id/569928/Well-site-request-involves-WCCC.html

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Subject: Letter to Marietta Career School Supt. re Waste Injection Well
Leasing

FYI – Marietta newspaper reports  2/14 that Career Center at Marietta is
deciding to allow frack waste injection well on school grounds. Do other
Ohio schools have similar leases with waste dumpers?  — Jim O’Reilly

Dear Mr. Blatt,

The Saturday Marietta Times article regarding WCCC opening its campus to
dumping at diesel-powered fracking waste injection wells came to my
attention this weekend.  I am currently writing the chapter on waste
disposal for my forthcoming textbook, Natural Gas Fracking, for
Thomson-Reuters Publishing.

I am a longtime teacher and  city councilman here in the Cincinnati area,
and I first heard about fracking waste when the state DNR told my committee
of the regional council of governments in 2011 that DNR was considering
applicants who want to dispose of fracking waste by river barge and by rail
into our area. The city of Cincinnati subsequently banned all injection
wells in the city limits. We and the Ohio River Sanitation Commission
(ORSANCO) were among the thousands who filed comments when the Green Hunter
Water company sought Coast Guard licensing for shipment of 4,100,000-gallon
barges downstream from a waste loading dock at New Matamoras, Ohio.

My colleagues who have backgrounds in radiological and chemical wastes have
assisted my study of the characterization of the waste sludges and liquids
that will be dumped in the well and then held down by the diesel pumps.
Because the geology of fracking varies within the Marcellus Shale area there
is no single uniform standard for how much radium, cesium and their
degradation products will be mixed in with the waste lubricants and waste
pesticide chemicals that are the primary contaminants of fracking pond
liquids. These liquids, euphemistically called “brine”, carry the
radioactivity and chemical volatility which has made them so controversial
in other areas. The Ohio Oil & Gas Association lobbyists have protected
their waste stream from local controls by inducing legislators to block
local public entities from regulating the radwaste under ORC 1509.02.

I read with interest in the Marietta news article that you have a lease
which allows you to prevent the radioactive waste from being dumped on
school grounds. If that is the case then you are not held back by the gas
lobby’s refusal to allow local protection from gas waste dumpers, as we
elected officials are constrained.  I would offer the suggestion that you
learn more by requiring each load to submit, 24 hours prior to dumping on
your campus, a certificate of laboratory analysis describing the
radioactivity (taken as 10 samples within the load) and the chemical
attributes (volatility, acidity and combustibility) of the wastes. When the
federal court accepted the guilty plea of the waste dumper Ben Lupo in 2014,
the evidence showed the risks of the fracking waste in a manner that
suggests your campus would be well advised to protect students and teachers
from  spill or leak contact with the contents of the waste vehicles. To
consciously ignore risks would be a significant decision and we as teachers
promote expansion of public knowledge and awareness.

As a final suggestion, after a 90-day period or 25 waste dump shipments, the
WCCC set of certificates of analysis could be shared with public health
officials and with the state universities working on public health, to allow
them to advise your teachers and students whether the risks of this waste
exceed the financial benefit to WCCC.  It will make an interesting case
study for those of your students who are considering environmental
technology career paths.

Thank you for considering these views.

Jim O’Reilly
Wyoming, OH City Council
513 708-5601
joreilly@wyomingohio.gov

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Our E-mail to the Career Center Board and Superintendent:

Dear Board & Superintendent of Washington County Career Center,
As you consider the reuse of oil wells on your property as deep shale waste injection wells, let me offer a credible resource to add to you knowledge.
The Concerned Citizens of Licking County, Ohio have been gathering details about deep shale development, including waste disposal. We have posted scientific reports, articles and opinions about all aspects of deep shale fracking on our website.
I encourage you to come to it: http://lcconcernedcitizens.org/
All posts have been categorized and the sources are documented.
Use the menu bar to collect items on Deep Shale – Injection Wells, Toxic Chemicals – Brine and Waste and other topics.
Or enter a search term in the box above the menu bar.
Here are a few links relevant to your decision:
Are Fracking Wastewater Wells Poisoning the Ground beneath Our Feet?
The Poisoning of an American High School
LINK: http://lcconcernedcitizens.org/archives/1118
Radionuclides in Fracking Wastewater: Managing a Toxic Blend
In the several years that we have been gathering details, nothing could assure the community that the short-term gain of putting injection wells near our schools would outweigh the long term health risks to student and staff.
We hope our website helps you make the right decision.
Ken Apacki
Licking County Concerned Citizens for Public Health and Environment

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The experience of the Beverly Hills High School:

THE POISONING OF AN AMERICAN HIGH SCHOOL by Joy Horowitz — book review

This is not scientific double-blind research that defines cause and effect. It is compelling, like the case against smoking. As a precaution, the proponents of the drilling on school property must prove that it is safe.

“At her thirtieth reunion, Horowitz was astonished to learn that so many of her former classmates had cancer. Oil wells under the town of Beverly Hills and the highly regarded high school were apparently the cause. She had some difficulty getting access to documents because of ongoing lawsuits initiated by famed environmental activist Erin Brockovich. Still, Horowitz draws on interviews with cancer specialists, geologists, toxicologists, and former teachers and classmates to relate an amazing story of environmental hazard in one of the nation’s most storied towns, proof that it can happen anywhere. For years students had been living with oil-tinged clothing following workouts on the athletic fields, with oil pumps looming in the background. But town residents, enjoying royalty checks and the tony image of their community, refused to connect the presence of oil pumps and rising reports of cancer in their youth. Horowitz chronicles the residents’ range of emotions, from anger and denial to shame at having done so little to protect their children, as she examines the role of money, image, and continued uncertainty in a community grappling with environmental hazards.”
— Vanessa Bush, Booklist

and more….

LINK: http://lcconcernedcitizens.org/archives/1118

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Added 2/20/2015:

Subject: Should a Marietta vocational school let frackwaste be injected on
school grounds?

Earlier this week I sent along the Marietta newspaper article about the
Washington County Career Center’s board meeting at which an on-school site
for a fracking waste well was being considered. I urged them to compel the
dumper to deliver test results for radwaste and combustibility, before the
loads come onto school grounds to be dumped in the waste well.
Today the response came asking if it is feasible for the waste well site
owner to ask for the data before the waste trucks arrive at the school.
You may be interested in the response that I offered today:

The big picture is that some of what goes down will come back into aquifers,
surface ponds, etc. and those landowners who actually know what went into
their subsurface area will be much better able to deal with future questions
than those who stay ignorant.

The future of vertical pathways allowing return of the sludges and liquids
will pose real problems when water users ask, why did this odor come out of
my marsh/pond/stream, and someone with a tech degree measures the waste and
discloses its radiological properties.

The industry will tell you that the single ODNR waste inspector who covers
southeast Ohio is a sufficient protector, but I disagree. My criticism of
the ODNR since their first appearance at our regional council of governments
meeting has been that their appointed managers are totally subservient to
the industry that needs a place to dump this toxic material. I have
occasionally encountered OEPA career people at professional meetings and
when I ask them about their professional view of the fracking waste issue,
they roll their eyes and say “sorry, I can’t talk about that…” The problem
is not with the career professionals but with the captivity of the
appointees above them whose loyalty is commanded by political contributors.

Sometime in the future, the “legacy cost” of the random dumping of fracking
waste in Ohio will be evident. There is no doubt that the public health
consequences will be seen as negative — it is a matter of how much and
when. Pennsylvania won’t have as great a problem because that state actually
works closely with the USEPA “UIC” program standards, and Ohio does not.

For now, the short term cost of a spill or a fire (combustion potential
depending on the volatility of the constituents in the mix) is a cause of
concern. The drillers who ship the waste are LLC (limited liability company)
shells which will declare bankruptcy immediately after a disaster, as the
West Virginia chemical tank collapse in 2014 showed, and there will be no
one left standing to pay for the remediation except the site owner (WCCC).
The combination of thin shell company delivering the waste, mixed volatility
and mixed radioactivity of the sludges and liquids, and an absence of data
should makes the waste site owners nervous.

Could radiological monitoring produce accurate results with 10 sample
replicates in a tanker load? Could the closed-cup ASTM test method for
combustibility produce results? My colleagues say yes, these data collection
activities are feasible, and they would produce answers for the future
question of what is bubbling up into our pond or infiltrating our pond.

In some trainings for environmental jobs, use of meters and evaluative
techniques are part of the educational process. In WCCC’s case the exposure
of students to the waste as it is dumped might not be a healthy choice. It
makes sense to require as a condition of the dumping that the LLC which
wants to dump on you, must deliver the information about radioactivity and
combustibility before the waste arrives. By analogy, a material safety data
sheet arrives in your purchasing department before a tank of styrene
arrives. Here the decision to ask for details for each load, before it is
dumped, gives you more assurance that the current and long term consequences
of dumping are known.

WCCC is in the enviable position of being able now to set a standard of
knowledge for what is dumped on your site, that is more protective than the
very permissive levels  of ignorant dumping that the state allows — a state
agency that is so attuned to political contributors’ care that it fears
upsetting the waste industry. Take the opportunity to ask tough questions
and get specific numbers. We are educators because we care about knowledge.
I urge you to ask the questions and study the responses carefully. Thanks
for your consideration.

Prof. Jim O’Reilly
513-708-5601

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