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Company aims to drill well for fracking-waste disposal

By Jeanne Starmack

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Company aims to drill well for fracking-waste disposal

By jeanne starmack


A Youngstown company wants to drill a fracking-waste disposal well in the brownfields along Wilson Avenue and has approached city council with its proposal.

Nick Paparodis, vice president of land operations for D&L Energy Inc., told council at its caucus meeting Wednesday the company would like 3.5 acres for the well itself and more land for access.

The land is in the brownfields across from the Robinson Road area.

The well would inject brine 9,000 feet below the ground, Paparodis told council.

The brine is left from fracking fluid that comes back to the surface after Marcellus Shale drilling in western Pennsylvania.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a method drillers are using to get natural gas out of the Marcellus Shale. A mixture of water, chemicals and sand is injected into the shale to fracture it and release the gas.

Paparodis said the company would not be fracking in Campbell.

Paparodis said the city would be paid $20,000 for the right to drill the well and would make up to $90,000 a year on a lease for as long as the well is productive.

The well would accept 105,000 gallons of waste a day, Paparodis said.

“What are the risks to the environ-ment?” asked council President Juanita Rich.

Paparodis said the waste is not considered hazardous material.

Paparodis said there is a great need to get the waste out of Pennsylvania.

To bore an affordable, effective disposal well requires a permeable layer of earth that will absorb the waste and an impermeable layer above to trap it, Badie Morsi, director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Petroleum Engineering Program, told the Pittsburgh Tribune Review.

Pennsylvania has that type of rock, but companies are either tapping it for gas or using it for underground gas storage, industry officials told the Tribune Review in July.

Ohio, in contrast, has plenty of unused, permeable, relatively shallow sandstone, Morsi told the Pittsburgh newspaper.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has also asked companies to stop dumping their treated drilling waste in rivers, the paper said.

Council said it would discuss the proposal at upcoming meetings.

D&L has one other disposal well operating, on Ohio Works Drive in Youngstown.

It also has 660 oil and gas wells throughout Ohio and western Pennsylvania, Paparodis said.