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Ohio’s injection volume grows by 27.2 percent to record high

Ohio’s injection volume grows by 27.2 percent to record high

The volume of liquid drilling wastes injected underground in Ohio grew by 27.2 percent in 2015 and set a new all-time record.
The volume of salty injected wastes totaled 28.8 million 42-gallon barrels.
It has increased from 16.3 million barrels in 2013 to 22.0 million barrels in 2014 to the new total.
That 2015 total volume is enough to fill nearly 1,840 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Athens, Coshocton and Guernsey counties are the top injection counties in Ohio. Portage County is seventh and Stark County is No. 10.
Such wastes have been linked to small earthquakes in Ohio and other states and critics say injecting such wastes into underground rock formations poses a threat to groundwater.
Industry and state officials say injection wells are a safe disposal method and the growing volume of waste is simply evidence of the Utica and Marcellus shale booms in Ohio and surrounding states.
As of Feb. 8, Ohio has 214 active injection wells with another 18 being drilled and another 13 permitted but not yet drilled.
The 2015 injection total includes 15.9 million barrels of wastes from Ohio and 12.9 million barrels from other states, mostly Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Ohio can do little to block out-of-state wastes because they are protected as interstate commerce by the U.S. Constitution.
The in-state waste being injected in 2015 showed the biggest jump: 47.7 percent.
It grew from 8.1 million barrels in 2013 to 10.7 million barrels in 2014 to 15.9 million barrels in 2015.
The drilling of new wells in Ohio’s Utica Shale has slowed because of low commodity prices, but production from already drilled wells is continuing to grow and that’s what has triggered the big increase in Ohio drilling wastes, said Eric Heis of the ODNR’s Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management.
The data was released by Columbus-based Teresa Mills, an activist with the Virginia-based Center for Health, Environment and Justice.
She goes through records that the industry submits to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources quarterly to compile the totals.
The state does not compile such a report and has not challenged Mills’ previous reports on injection well volumes.
Mills said the biggest surprise was the big increase in Ohio’s 2015 injection total.
Such injection volumes are “troubling to activists and local communities because the numbers keep going up at a time when we’re seeking relief,” she said. “It’s a problem we want to see go away.”
The increase was not a total surprise because Mills had issued a report last December saying that Ohio was on pace for a record injection volume.
Athens County passed Coshocton County in 2015 to become No. 1 with 4.0 million barrels. The injection wells in Athens County have become a major local issue.
Coshocton County was second with 3.7 million barrels and Guernsey was third with 3.0 million barrels.
Portage County had 2.1 million barrels injected. Stark County had 577,000 barrels of waste injected.
The other counties in the Top 10 are: Muskingum (2.8 million), Tuscarawas (2.8 million), Washington (2.2 million), Trumbull (1.9 million) and Ashtabula (1.3 million).
Locally, Summit County had 39,667 barrels injected by Moore Well Service at an injection well in Cuyahoga Falls. Wayne County had 61,319 barrels injected by Dominion East Ohio. Medina County reported zero injection.
Portage County was previously one of the top injection well counties and the fear is that could happen again, said activist Mary Greer of Shalersville Township.
The county currently has 18 injection wells and another one was recently approved, she said.
“That’s not something we’re happy about,” she said. “It’s something we’re outraged about. Our fear is that our total will rise in the next five years. It’s like Portage County is a sacrifice zone.…How many injection wells should one county have?”
Efforts by Northeast Ohio county commissioners and the grass-roots Concerned Citizens Ohio to win support for a proposed statewide moratorium on new injection wells largely failed because of lack of support, Greer said.


By Bob Downing Published: March 4, 2016



From Tom Evans:

You may have seen this recent injection well story in Bob Downing’s blog (above)

One of the concerning aspects is that the data in the story were developed by Theresa Mills, not ODNR. I recently ran across a 2009 Summary of Oil and Gas activity produced by ODNR.

In 2009 there were more wells drilled in Licking County than any other county. Have we dodged a bullet since then or what? I raised the question elsewhere about how to get the ODNR to really do its job. Why aren’t legislators pressing for more transparency? The solution offered was to get more involved in politics…..

I’ve attached a “questions for legislators” document developed by OEFFA.

Does Licking County Concerns Citizens have any interest in sponsoring meetings with candidates?

LINK to OEFFA ” Food and Farming Questions for Candidates: Your Election Year Resource”

Also click on this for the pdf: OEFFA-Questions For Candidates final print

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