Last week we published a list of Ohio’s Class II wastewater injection wells. These wells are used to dispose of brine and other potentially toxic fluids associated with oil and gas production, over half of which comes from out-of-state fracking wells. Today we’re discussing the violations these wells have received since 2000.
Of the 9,568 inspections performed on Ohio’s approximately 190 disposal wells, there were 867 failed inspections. Some of these failures were new violations, and some were failures on follow up inspections. We’ve compiled the complete list of violations in this excel document [FAILED_SWD_INSPECTIONS.XLS] for anyone who wishes to do their own analysis.
Looking at the violations by type, 355 violations were related to contamination or pollution and 143 were related to pressure, including operating above or below pressure or failing to monitor the pressure at the well. Other violations included a failure to properly identify wells (33), Tanks not liquid tight/Improper burial (19), Dike or pit not able to prevent escape of Brine or other wastes (11) and Unlawful method of storage or disposal of brine or other wastes (4).
Of the companies operating injection wells, HOUGHTON INVESTMENTS, L.L.C. had the most violations with a total of 85 followed by ENERVEST OPERATING, the “largest oil and gas operator in Ohio”, with 59. D & L ENERGY INC came in a close third with 57 violations at its injection disposal wells.
Karl Henkel of the Youngstown Vindicator published an interesting piece in early January highlighting the 120 violations at D&L Energy Inc’s 32 injection and extraction wells in Ohio and Pennsylvania. D&L, you may remember, is the company who owns and operates the Youngstown well that likely caused a series of earthquakes in the area in late 2011.
Interesting fact: D&L’s “earthquake well” is not on the list of wells with violations. Officially it’s named Northstar # 1 and it is Operated by Northstar Disposal Services, an affiliate of D&L Energy. In 2010 and 2011 the well was inspected by ODNR 38 times but no violations were issued.
Reviewing the log of inspections and the associated comments from the inspectors, it appears as though ODNR has a very thorough process. But the fact that this well passed all its inspections and still ended up causing random earthquakes should, at the very least, serve as a warning for those wishing to turn Ohio into the preferred dumping location for fracking waste from around the country.
To be fair, Kasich hasn’t exactly ignored this situation. But he certainly has made some recent missteps. After first hearing Kasich wanted to limit injection wells to only 8000 feet we were quickly informed that you “can’t set a depth limit” because the rock layers aren’t horizontal, according to the geology department chairman at Youngstown State University.
Kasich quickly changed his mind again, and we found out this evening that he temporarily put new injection well permits on hold.
ANYway, here’s the map of wells categorized by the number of violations they have received since 2000. Please note the legend option on the map that will allow you to filter the wells by number of violations. As always, we’d like to hear your feedback. Let us know if you live near any of these wells of if you’d like more information on any of them.