Environmentalists Push To Ban Ohio’s Monitoring Of Storage Wells

The early stages of a waste water well being drilled in Mahoning County.(Photo: WCPN)
The early stages of a waste water well being drilled in Mahoning County.(Photo: WCPN)

A coalition of environmental and community groups is asking federal regulators to suspend Ohio’s authority to monitor wells that store drilling waste water.

Many states have banned the deep-injection wells that store waste water left behind by hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. But Ohio isn’t one of them, even accepting hundreds of millions of gallons of fracking waste water from neighboring states like Pennsylvania.

That’s why the Center for Health, Environment and Justice, along with some allies, is asking the federal EPA to suspend Ohio’s authority to oversee the wells, which are now monitored by the state Department of Natural Resources.

The call to federal regulators follows last month’s indictments of two people charged with illegally dumping waste water into the Mahoning River watershed.

Last year some researchers linked disposal wells to several northeast Ohio earthquakes that shook the region the year before.

The state resumed issuing well permits last November, and drilling industry groups insist waste water wells can be drilled and monitored safely.

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