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D&L halts operations at Youngstown brine well

Published: Sat, December 31, 2011 @ 12:10 a.m.

ODNR gives the order after dec. 24 quake data show a depth shallower than first reported

SEE ALSO: 2011: ‘Year of the Earthquakes’ in Mahoning Co.

By Karl Henkel



The small earthquake that shook Youngstown on Christmas Eve had a depth shallower than originally reported, prompting the Ohio Department of Natural Resources on Friday to order D&L Energy Inc. to cease operations at a nearby brine-injection well.

The magnitude 2.5 earthquake, officially the 10th since March 17 to occur within two miles of the brine-injection well on Ohio Works Drive, had a depth of 11,000 feet, said Andy Ware, deputy director at ODNR. It was the shallowest depth of any of the quakes.

That is only about 2,000 feet below the bottom of the D&L injection well, which ceased operations as of 5 p.m. Friday.

“They want us to [backplug] it now,” said Ben Lupo, owner and CEO of D&L.

Injection wells accept brine water from well drilling, including fracking, a process in which water, chemicals and sand are blasted into rocks thousands of feet below the ground to unlock oil and natural gas.

The state first told The Vindicator on Nov. 24 that D&L eventually would have to halt operations at the Youngstown well site to backplug the bottom 250 feet of the well.

The state suspects that brine has entered the nearly impermeable Precambrian formation underground. That formation is more than 9,000 feet below the ground.

Brine should be entering the Mount Simon formation, a permeable formation directly above the Precambrian.

ODNR, however, had told D&L it could wait until one of its other brine-injection wells began operations.

D&L has or soon will have wells in Girard, Campbell, Coitsville, Hubbard, Springfield, and in Columbiana County in East Liverpool, Fairfield Township and Elk Run Township.

ODNR told The Vindicator earlier this month that it had entrusted Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory to install four seismographs around D&L well.

A seismograph is an instrument used to detect and record earthquake data.

One of the key data points in proving or disproving an injection well-earthquake correlation is the depth of a seismic event.

Before the installation of the four seismographs, the Youngstown area had just one — which is located at Youngstown State University.

The YSU seismograph targeted the depth of the first nine earthquakes at approximately 5 kilometers, or 7,500 feet below the bottom of the D&L brine-injection well.

But using data from all five seismographs, Columbia University determined a much shallower depth for the early-morning Dec. 24 earthquake.

At 11,000 feet, the earthquake’s focus was less than 2,000 feet below the bottom of the D&L well, which, according to ODNR records, is about 9,300 feet.

ODNR still hasn’t said there is a definitive correlation between the well and the earthquakes.

“Based on that info with the depth, we thought it was best to reach out to the company,” Ware said. “We believe it’s the prudent thing to do at this time.”

Brine-injection wells have been known to cause earthquakes, including at Colorado’s Rangely Oil Fields in the 1960s.

The D&L well has operated for about a year-and-a-half now but didn’t receive much attention until a series of earthquakes, all with epicenters near the well, began March 17.

Lupo told The Vindicator he expects the testing and plugging process to last about 10 days and says it will cost the company about $160,000 in business.


1UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Who cares how much it cost the company? The problem is injection wells endanger all of us citizens. PA & NY have shut them all down for these very reasons. So should Ohio.

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2ytownsteelman(680 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

How does this well endanger us? With earthquakes so small they do no damage? By the ever so slight potential to contaminating groundwater in the middle of a city where everyone gets their water from Meander Reservoir?

Do you heat your home with natural gas? Do you like being warm in the winter? To live in a modern civilization involves obtaining the resources that makes it possible. I am amazed that anymore people expect to continue to live in our first world nation but cannot stand what we have to do to keep it going. no natural gas drilling, no more coal mining, no nuclear power, no foreign oil, no offshore drilling, no nothing. But should the price of fuel or the cost of living increase we are all out there screaming. Just freaking amazing at the levels of stupidity and ignorance in this country.

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3nuganuech(46 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

@UnionForever, guess what, those same Republicans that you so strongly supported to destroy public unions will also ruin the environment in the name of progress. Sorry you can't have it both ways. Be careful what you wish for.

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4Attis(1134 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Let 2012 be the year that we finally came to our senses and stopped these mother (earth) frackers driven by sheer greed from their destructive rape and pollution of the only planet we have. That will indeed by a Happy New Year for Gaia and us all (except for the 1%).

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5NoBS(2845 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Oh, yes, injection wells endanger us all!! Head for the hills!! But wait - injection wells have been in use for 20 years or more, all over this part of the country. This one well, right here, is the only one associated with any seismic activity.

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6AtownAugie(893 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

And when the scientists from Columbia University give the "thumbs-up" we will refer back to this time of fear-mongering as "The Age of Hagan Hysteria."

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7southsidedave(5199 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Too much money involved to keep this operation closed for long....sad, but true.

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8Bigben(1996 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Just felt the whole place shake here in Boardman. I never felt an earthquake this strong before.It happened about 3:00 or so 10 minutes ago.This needs to stop before folks start getting hurt and or property gets damaged.

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9Our2Cents(7 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Initial reports is 4.0, but that will most likely increase.


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10HappyBob(360 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

My wife and I felt it (shake) here in New Middletown as well.
By the way, the permit issued for the new D&L Brine wastewater well in Springfield is at the end of Springfield Road on the Lila Lipply property. The GPS coordinates place it within 100 yards of Pine Lake. So the tanker traffic would probably run on Springfield road and probably Garfield.

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11cry4turtles(1 comment)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

This is definetly scary. And yes, fracking has been around for decades. The drillers simply had to bide their time until people became desperate for money. Everybody live for the now! Who gives a poop what our grandchildren will live in? I shudder to think what it will take for an epiphany. Silly, greedy, stupid fools we are.

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12WHATSSHAKIN(42 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

WHAT AN AFTERNOON! At 3:00PM today my steady and I were just getting relaxed. At 3:04PM it was euphoria and an earth shaking moment! The timing couldn't have been better!

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13najjjj(106 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

There have now been 11 earthquakes centered near this well. There is scientific proof the fracking causes earthquakes. Now you've had a 4.3. After the last quake someone said that's good, it releases pressure. Not true, they are called pre-schocks, a sign of pressure building towards a bigger release/quake. What's to worry about? The buildings in this part of the country do not even come close to earthquake safety standards. All those brick buildings........why do you think no one builds with brick on the west coast??? I was in San Francisco during the earthquake that occurred during the World Series. I've been there during smaller quakes. With all the retrofitting they've done there to improve earthquake safety people still die, are seriously injured, not to mention property damage. Fracking is insanity...........mother nature is trying to tell you something. I see many posts about energy dependence, jobs, etc......that will all pale in comparison if these are indeed pre-shocks when the main event hits. Then you all be standing in line to file law suits.

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14webad(156 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Renewable energy sources are conspicuously absent from the discussion. Decrease fossil dependence. What about wind and/or solar power for the home, tidal power, hydroelectricity, geothermal power for manufacturing, etc? Sun and wind are best. None of those are dead solid perfect solutions, because they depend upon geographic location and climate. But, all climates are suited for one or some combinations of them. They're far far better for human health and the environment than are fracking and oil wars in foreign lands. We all know that cost in blood and treasure.

Ostracize the land leasers, take steps to throw out the drilling bastards, and demand alternative energy sources at reasonable prices. Cause a nationally newsworthy commotion over earthquakes and fracking by-products in your air and water.

Earthquakes. Diseases. Even Mother Nature is fighting back. Take a look at all the cancers and neurological conditions among Valley residents. Those are courtesy of the steel mills. Now, however, the lesson should have been learned.

We, The People, are not powerless. Our overlords just want us to believe we are.

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15Ms_Mom(4 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Does anyone remember that a very large area is built over abandoned coal mines? Add to that fracking and it's a recipe for disaster. Do we really need money that bad that we would make Youngstown and the outlaying areas one big sink hole? See how much your money will be worth then.

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16webad(156 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

A good site to keep up to the minute (real time) track of earthquakes is the U.S. Geological Survey website. Remember the time looks odd because it's "Coordinated Universal Time". Click Real-time - USA on the left side of the page to see the corresponding Eastern time.




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