Here’s Five Salt Water Injection Wells
Dr. Raymond Beiersdorfer, Distinguished Professor of Geology
Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences
Youngstown State University, Youngstown, Ohio 4455
(330) 941-1753, firstname.lastname@example.org
Trumbull County in northeastern Ohio already has 21 injection wells to dispose of oil and gas wastewater by pumping it under pressure into the earth. Only eight are currently operational. Two were shut down in 2014 after one of them triggered 108 earthquakes. Five were shut down in 2015 after a leaking tank contaminated a small wetland and two private ponds, killing everything. One well was drilled in Brookfield Township through an abandoned coal mine and has yet to inject waste. Five new injection wells are planned adjacent to a mobile home community, with two already permitted by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR.) Local residents are opposed to the wells. The company posted notice in the newspaper timed so that they have until Christmas Day 2017 to provide public comment to ODNR. I’ll leave it to you to decide if the timing was just a coincidence.
Prior to shale gas development the state of Ohio had suffered slightly over 200 felt earthquakes since 1776. Many of them were near Anna, Ohio that sits in an extension of Illinois’ New Madrid and Wabash Valley seismic zones. Anna, The Former Earthquake Capital of Ohio, had damaging earthquakes in 1930, 1931 and twice in 1937. It also suffered swarms of aftershocks, a qualitative indication of human caused earthquake triggering. Based on local newspaper accounts John Armbruster, (Seismologist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory) confirmed that there were oil and gas wells operating in that area at the time of the quakes. Because of the Anna’s seismic swarms and prolonged series of earthquakes, he considers it a candidate for human triggering, but without more detailed knowledge it is difficult to make a strong case. A Class One Injection Well triggered earthquakes in 1987 and 2001 on two different faults near Ashtabula, Ohio. The 2001 tremors occurred seven years after the well was closed in 1994.
Since 2011 five Ohio counties, all aseismic, have suffered over 1,100 positive magnitude earthquakes (Table One.) All of the earthquakes were human induced due to fracking for shale gas or injection of liquid fracking waste. The quakes are restricted to six locations, two injection wells and four fracking wells. The policy for posting a seismic event on the ODNR website is that the earthquake was felt or it was magnitude 2.0 or greater. Some earthquakes in Mahoning and Harrison counties that met that criteria have not been posted.
Injection of fluids underneath Brookfield Township will subject the community to seismic risks comparable to the damaging earthquakes in Oklahoma and Arkansas. According to U.S. Geological Survey seismologists, McGarr and Barbour (2017), cumulative seismic moment, or energy, correlates as a function of total injected volume. This relationship is based on data from 13 fluid injection-induced earthquake sequences including the Northstar One well in Youngstown (YOH.) Their results and the proposed Brookfield injection volumes are shown in Figure One.
The numerous mines located in the southeastern quadrant of the township (Figure Two) also compound the potential damage due to the seismic risk. These mines have recently had another SWIW drilled through one of them and have also recently shown evidence of collapse. During the question and answer session of his recent lecture at Youngstown State University (November 15, 2017) Dr. Andrew Barbour, a research geophysicist in the Induced Seismicity group at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Earthquake Science Center in Menlo Park, California, stated that the presence of these mines is a “Red Flag” that is very concerning for public health and safety. I believe that the presence of these mines should prevent the permitting of any SWIW within ten kilometers (6 miles) of these mines. At a bare minimum, these mines need to be reclaimed and properly sealed before any attempts at injection within ten kilometers should proceed.
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Skoumal, R. J., Brudzinski, M. R. and Currie, B. S. , 2015a, Earthquakes Induced by Hydraulic Fracturing in Poland Township, Ohio, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America February 2015 vol. 105 no. 1 p. 189-197. http://www.bssaonline.org/content/early/2015/01/01/0120140168.abstract?sid=93c90be0-cb9d-4406-88a9-61031b203c85
Skoumal, R. J., Brudzinski, M. R. and Currie, B. S. , 2015b, Microseismicity Induced by Deep Wastewater Injection in Southern Trumbull County, Ohio, Seismological Research Letters Volume 86, Number 5 September/October 2015 p. 1326-1334. http://srl.geoscienceworld.org/content/86/5/1326
Originally Posted at http://columbusfreepress.com/article/merry-christmas-brookfield-here%E2%80%99s-five-salt-water-injection-wells
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