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D&L Energy to finance geological study of injection well area



Published: Thu, January 5, 2012 @ 12:01 a.m.

photo

Susie Beiersdorfer, a part-time geology instructor at Youngstown State University and a member of Occupy Youngstown, spoke at Wednesday’s city council meeting about injection wells and earthquakes. Council President Jamael Tito Brown, left, listens.

RELATED: • Ryan calls on EPA, others for answers on quakes

• Liberty plans to study its right to ban drilling

By DAVID SKOLNICK

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

For a brine-injection well on the city’s West Side to resume operating, its owner must “meet a high standard” to show it’s safe, said an Ohio Department of Natural Resources official.

D&L Energy Group and ODNR officials met privately Wednesday to discuss the well on Ohio Works Drive.

Also Wednesday, Youngstown City Council approved a resolution supporting a moratorium on injection wells in the city.

Eleven earthquakes, including Saturday’s 4.0 magnitude quake, were centered close to the Ohio Works Drive well, operated by Northstar Disposal Services LLC, a D&L affiliated company.

Last Friday, D&L agreed to an ODNR request to cease operations at that well.

After the Saturday earthquake, the largest of the 11, the state imposed a moratorium ordering D&L to keep four inactive wells, within a five-mile radius of the Ohio Works well, closed indefinitely.

“We’re not saying we believe for certain there is a direct causation [between the well and the quakes], but, at this point, there has to be a pretty high bar of information provided to move forward with allowing injections at those sites,” Andrew Ware, an ODNR spokesman, told The Vindicator on Wednesday.

At Wednesday’s meeting between D&L and ODNR, company officials said they would pay an independent entity for a geology examination near and around the Ohio Works well.

In a prepared statement, D&L said the study is “appropriate and necessary.”

There is no timetable for starting or completing the study, “but D&L is committed to moving forward in an expeditious manner,” the statement read.

D&L has seven water-holding tanks on site with five more coming soon to store water from the well, and casing pipe will be removed shortly to prepare for testing.

“It’s fair to say, while we’ll review what the company provides, it would need to come with some expert witness testimony with scientific credentials and be highly detailed,” Ware said. “It’s going to have to meet a high standard for our review.”

State Rep. Robert F. Hagan of Youngstown, D-60th, who’s called for a moratorium on the wells for several months, said he’s skeptical that the D&L paid-study will be legitimate.

“We know what happens when people pay for polling in politics; you ask leading questions to get the response you want,” he said. “I don’t expect any difference with this. It’s a study being bought and paid for by D&L. I don’t trust the industry, ODNR and the governor. The industry has no right policing itself. You get exactly what you pay for.”

ODNR’s recent actions to halt D&L from using its wells shows the agency is serious about this issue, Ware said.

Also Wednesday, city council approved a resolution supporting a moratorium on injection wells in the city.

The request for the resolution came from Mayor Charles Sammarone after he spoke Tuesday to Hagan about the issue.

The resolution is nonbinding as it’s up to the state to impose moratoriums, but Sammarone and council members wanted to officially voice their concerns.

The moratorium won’t be lifted until a “deeper, thorough analysis” is done, said Rob Nichols, spokesman for Gov. John Kasich. There is no time frame for the moratorium to be lifted, he said.

Also, Susie Beiersdorfer of Youngstown, a part-time geology instructor at Youngstown State University and a member of the Occupy Youngstown movement, praised city officials at Wednesday’s council meeting for calling for a moratorium, and for ODNR’s decision to get involved with the wells.

About 40 people, mostly Occupy Youngstown members, attended Wednesday’s council meeting to support Beiersdorfer and council’s vote.

When asked about the D&L-paid study, Sammarone said, “I’m not saying D&L would influence the decision, but people would feel more comfortable with an independent study being done. That takes away the thought process of being influenced by the company that hires them.”

A spokesman for D&L declined to comment to The Vindicator about the objectivity of the study or anything else beyond the company’s prepared statement.

The statement reads, in part, that “the cause of those minor earthquakes has not been determined and remains an issue in need of study.”

Hagan, Sammarone and city council’s public utilities committee will have a public meeting at 5 p.m. next Wednesday at the Covelli Centre community room to talk about the injection well and earthquakes. Officials from ODNR are invited, but it isn’t known if any will attend.

The well in question injects brine, a byproduct of fracking, about 9,300 feet into the ground. D&L isn’t fracking at the location.

Fracking is a process in which water, chemicals and sand are blasted into rocks thousands of feet underground to extract natural gas and oil. Injection wells are the opposite — it uses the fluid left over from fracking and injects it deep into the ground for disposal.


Comments

1WilliamSwinger(341 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

"a part-time geology instructor at Youngstown State University and a member of the Occupy Youngstown movement"

Nothing screams "qualified" like being a part-time instructor at a low level state school AND being part of the dirty-hippy anti-business Democrat tool-bag branch of the brainwashed ZERObama-bot propaganda machine. Yeah, the "Occupy" movement is nothing if not objective and scientific.

I'm sure she advises all to continue harvesting natural resources. *BORING*

At the the Vindicator had the honesty to provide full disclosure here.

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2thediffrence(13 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

I really can't beleive that the Governor's people are comparing shutting down injection and fracking wells to shutting down the auto industry? Really? Comparing a used tire fire to earthquakes? You get what you vote for Ohio so vote for the green party, independant, democrat or anyone but a republican.

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3atownreader(34 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

This study is wise. Our YSU profs know of what they speak. Anyone who belittles them does not know what they speak. Go get a degree in geology.

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4UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

The brine water is a by-product of fracking just like waste oil is a by-product of the auto industry. Kasich showed his foolishness with the comparison to a tire fire. You don't dump the waste oil from cars into the ground to destroy our ground water and you should not dump the brine water into the earth either to cause earthquakes. Already the geology and seismic experts not in the Big Gas & Oil Companies pockets are speaking out against it. YSU professors have the same education as anyone in college and are well qualified to speak on the subject. Stop the madness - stop deep well injections before the kill us and destroy our property.

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5Southside_Res(170 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

Exactly, Bob Hagan! Look no farther than the recent Montana Supreme Court's decision in Western Tradition Partnership v. Attorney General. When corporations are behind the money and pushing the envelope, as T & L is doing here, that report won't be worth the paper it's written on! Corporate money begets corruption. I just wonder where all of this is going to lead. Will my home come crumbling down because politicians will be bought out by corrupt corporations and their corrupt corporate policies?!!! How idiotic we have become as a society when we can allow Big Business to destroy our environment as we have today!!!!!! WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!!

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6walter_sobchak(1886 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

Buckwheat Bob is a typical politician. See a mob and rush to get out in front of it to show them just how important they are. Like any govt agency, there are people that work at ODNR that have worked there over many different administrations and to use a broad brush and say that they can't be trusted to do their job is defamatory and disgusting. As an engineer, I know engineers and scientists that work for the Ohio EPA that are good conscientious workers. Don't you think that the ODNR people will insist on an independent geology firm to accurately do their work? THen, ask someone from the USGS to select an independent geologist.

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7Attis(872 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

No known connection between fracking/injecting and the earthquakes, according to the ODNR spokesmen?! Really?! The connection is absolutely known and conclusively determined by objective studies, but those blinded (and prostituted) by wealth do not want to know the truth that sets us free from their direct threats to our safety, health and life. The D&L "study" will be worth as much as the toxic garbage they inject into mother earth.

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8Silence_Dogood(1330 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

Jessiedavid
You asked "How to you feel about STRICKLAND issuing the license for D & L, knowing full well, that D & L had over 120 violations at 32 well sites?"
If you were to look at these violations you would see that they were not huge violations. Yes the number 120 looks like a large number and you must think that this is an out of control company, but do me a favor and google GM AND EPA VIOLATIONS and stand back, for the tidal wave of hits is overwhelming.And now keep in mind that GM is now owned by the Federal Government, so in essence it is the Government that is breaking its own rules.

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9WHATSSHAKIN(42 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

Let's look at the facts. The state mandates that oilfield brine be disposed of by injection. The host formation was specified by the state. The company developed the well to the state's standards. Now the company gets all of the blame. Makes sense.

I predict a chilly winter next year with natural gas prices out of reach of many consumers. Gasoline at the pump could very well double.

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10NilesOhio(701 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

rjbook - You have a very good point. How could the results NOT be tainted to look favorable to D&L since they're paying the bill?

Anybody who thinks these earthquakes are just nature doing its thing is either an idiot, or is someone making money off this drilling.

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11theguins(167 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

177 injection wells in Ohio and the one in Youngstown has all the problems. Go figure.

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12grog8797(21 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

Brine injection is not new, but the earthquake issue clearly deserves study. Injection seems to be the cheapest disposal method for the industry, but other methods can work without killing the industry. So gas will cost just a little more due to disposal costs: well worth it for a safer process. Even though it seems to have worked elsewhere, perhaps the Youngstown area geology is just not suited to this type of disposal. The study should be performed and reviewed to find out. I too was concerned about D&L having influence as they are footing the bill, but whio should foot the bill? The taxpayers?The report will be reviewed and bias, if present, will be very hard if not impossible to hide. regardless of who does the study or who pays, it may be hard to say with much certainty exactly what caused the earthquakes. I'd like to see the report, but it seems far too much of a coincidence for the sudden rash of earthquakes to be unrelated to the well. BTW, I assume the part time geology professor is related to full time YSU professor Ray Beiersdorfer?

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13hellokitty(161 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

Are the people and politicians in this valley so stupid as to believe that the study funded by D&L will not be biased? Here, I'll save you the time and trouble: The results will be inconclusive at best, and more likely will "prove" that the earthquakes are NOT caused by the injection well.

And with the other injection wells, which surround the Mahonky Valley, such as the sites in Hubbard, Girard, Coitsville, and Mineral Ridge, it is only a short matter of time before the entire valley is one large crater.

But, it is all worth it for a handful of "fake" and temporary jobs. How many locals have actually secured employment in this fracking industry? It would be interesting to know, but we never will. We will continue to believe the load of crap that they are shoveling. Very sad indeed...

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14hellokitty(161 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

Forgot to mention that I've attended several of the "informational" meetings that have been held, and I'm pretty sure that the ODNR geologist that conducted the meetings is in the pocket of the energy companies.

Why else would his findings be so vastly different than those of the Columbia geologist, and the Biersdorfer's? Dr. Ray and his wife are top notch in their field, but why would we believe them over the state? Lots of questions, only BS for answers.

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15hellokitty(161 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

Jessiedavid, that is another good question that will NOT be answered. I'm not a geologist, but I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I experienced many small quakes while there. None of them that I remember ever produced an explosive sound first.

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16RustOnMyBelt(113 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

Would D & L be kind enough to please send each of us our own radon test kit? How about paying to have our well water certified as being "safe and methane free" ahead of time?

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17walter_sobchak(1886 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

jessiedavid,
As best I can recall from my seismic studies, I believe it has something to do with the depth of the focus of the quake under the surface and the type of bedrock that our area has under it. In our area, we are in the middle of a tectonic plate and our faults are small and short. When the energy is released from the fault slip, it is smaller as opposed to the ones in So. Cal. where the fault line is the interface of 2 separate tectonic plates. However, two large pieces of solid stones, smacking into one another would sound like an explosion. I actually thought a bolt of lightning had hit in my neighborhood when I felt it. I would bet that when a study is complete they will find that the well extended into the wrong strata. This is the reason that ODNR has been indicating that D&L would seal the bottom 200' or so of this well. How else can it be explained that all of the other wells in Ohio have been operated for decades and no seismic issues have occurred.

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18ytown_kills_me(64 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

so who do i send the bill to, to have 2 of my homes walls fixed, since the cracks were not there prior to the quake? probably wont matter since i'm a 99%er that doesnt matter to society...excuse me while i goto my minimum wage job....and pay over 3 dollars a gallon in gas to get there ...might have to pick up a gallon of 3 dollar plus milk on the way home, and damn chase bank bill collectors calling me now, dont know why i already told them i paid my bill with the raping of a bailout....now i have to get my jar of vasoline and take it with me...since everyday we as people get screwed

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19hellokitty(161 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

My driveway has damage from the quakes. We will send our bills to NOBODY because NOBODY ( State of Ohio / D&L ) will ever be held accountable for the damages.

At the meetings I've attended with the state's geologist, he said in fact, that fracking / injecting NEVER cause earthquakes or well contamination. So there you have it in a nutshell...None of what is happening is really happening!

Incidentally, I do have earthquake insurance. It carries a 7k deductible, and that's only if earthquake damage is proven (which it will not be).

If I sound pessimistic toward this freaking fracking industry, it's because I am.

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20southsidedave(4777 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

The study is necessary, but what will be the final outcome: money or safety?

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21Ytown20(118 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

So I guess the pro-frackers on this forum aren't going to mind this happening to our towns? Oh well, lets just put our fingers in our ears and pretend like this happening:

Quiet PA towns overrun with heavy duty 24/day truck traffic.

50-60 trucks an hour past one man's home.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=...

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22lumper(281 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

the state of ohio collects money on the volume of brine water injected into the ground. the only solution the state will allow is to move all the injection sites to an area of ohio with a different geological makeup. that's why all these wells are in our area in the first place- proximity to I-80 - only traveling 10 to 20 miles outside of Pa. on a major interstate. ease of transportation and disposal.

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23Bigben(1996 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

WHATSSHAKIN -- You have got to be kidding.

".. The state mandates that oilfield brine be disposed of by injection. The host formation was specified by the state. The company developed the well to the state's standards. Now the company gets all of the blame. Makes sense."

- -- The company is the one who sent funding to various government positions right?The guilt lies at the feet of both.You are the guy who called the companies violations "growing pains" and spoke of "trial and error " another post.

I predict a chilly winter next year with natural gas prices out of reach of many consumers. Gasoline at the pump could very well double. - -I predict the gas goes to China and not Ohioans. I predict that natural gas has nothing to do with oil. I predict that the price of both gas and oil are SET artificially not by supply and demand unless you believe in the tooth fairy.

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24Bigben(1996 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

"D&L Energy Group and ODNR officials met privately Wednesday to discuss the well on Ohio Works Drive." - - -- LOL.

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25WilliamSwinger(341 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

@Rocky14

Yeah, I am a real moron. You got me. Hey, take a look at this utter stupidity while you're trolling...

Wow! Talk about the perfect storm. Isn't this Beiersdorfer the wife of the other Beiersdorfer that works in the same department at YSU? I think so. Nepotism anybody? Cronyism anybody? And isn't the $80K that the husband makes in salary alone perilously close to the 1% that the wife is raging against? [With bennies the take away is over $100K and the retirement liability is currently near 1.2 MILLION!] $80K plus the part time wife salary. You would think the Beiersdorfers would have been ashamed to fleece the American public in the cash for clunkers debacle, but no. Yeah, I definitely trust whatever these guys are selling. $24K is what the taxpayers paid for the Beiersdorfer clunker. Integrity defined if you ask me. How do you spell integrity? Beiersdorfer. Now tell us where to drill again.

Sources:

1.) WYTV - "Professor Says Clunker Swap Emotional"

2.) CNN - http://money.cnn.com/2009/10/28/autos...

3.) Buckeye Institute - http://www.buckeyeinstitute.org/highe...

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26walter_sobchak(1886 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

jessiedavid,
From what I know, the underground geology in Ohio is rather uniform; the western and northwestern parts of the state especially. As you move east and southeast toward the mountains, it would be less uniform. My question is: Have they drilled to the porous strata and past it? If they have, it would still seem likely that the brine solution would still make it into that strata. Maybe what is happening is that the amount of solids in this brine is higher than usual and is clogging the fissures. I have read in the past that pumping pressures had to be increased. It is possible that the path of least resistance was underlying rock that includes a fault. At this point, they need an independent geologist to evaluate the area and most likely abandon the well.

As far as water treatment, that would appear to be the best solution. The amount of new technology that has hit the treatment market the last 20 years is staggering, much of it coming from Europe. If Patriot in Warren has demonstrated a competent process that bring the brine down to safe levels, that is the way to go. Unfortunately, with state agencies, they are slow to adapt to these new technologies.

Of course, the state does allow for a third option for waste brine. They can use it to treat the roads during snow periods. Now, in my mind, if you want to screw up the water table, that will do it! As far as D&L and their infractions, any company doing work with natural resources will tell you that it is impossible not to have violations as nature is so variable. If they are minor, no big deal. But, it is the major violations that can make the big problems. It is interesting that I have heard from GM employees for many years about the higher incidence of certain cancers at the Lordstown plant. Benzene maybe?

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27walter_sobchak(1886 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

Jessiedavid,
The best is yet to come! The spin-off will be incredible. At lunch today I saw about a dozen Danieli workers jabbering in Italian. Danieli Co. of Italy is the provider of the pipe mill at V&M. Brier Hill is alive again!

"Knowledge is Good!" - Emil Faber, founder of Faber College.

Sometimes I have to laugh so I won't cry! "Have a happy hahaha!" (Now there's a Y-town quote that dates me!)

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28madvarga(2 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

How many of you whiny liberals own and/or drive a car that you fill with gasoline. Quit crying, stop occupying and get a job, babies!

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29WHATSSHAKIN(42 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

Bigben, If I believed in the tooth fairy then I would believe that your opinions have credibility.

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30Bigben(1996 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

WHATSSHAKIN- -- I think your a full fledged believer in the tooth fairy .

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31Bigben(1996 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

@theguins "177 injection wells in Ohio and the one in Youngstown has all the problems. Go figure." - -- - Are you certain of this?

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32southbelle22(16 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

This would be a good time to remove emotion and look at facts. Fact: chemicals used in fracking are known carcinogens. Fact: cancer clusters among children already exist in areas where injecting frack waste occurs. Fact: concrete cracks. Fact: water in ohio is already contaminated with chemicals as a result of drilling, fracking, and injecting. a Fact for the very misinformed walter sobchak: injection wells have caused seismic activity in ohio before and in many other parts of the country/world. Just because an industry and a government bought by that same industry denies the Facts - doesn't make them any less true. Please do your research and remember: a little common sense goes a long way. BRAVO to Susie Beiersdorfer for stating the FACTS that everyone needs to know. Ytown needs more citizens like Susie to stand up to this industry and Kasich administration that continues to poison our water and our air and now destroy our homes with earthquakes.

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33madvarga(2 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

@ southbelle22... Where are you getting these so called Facts? Quit adding to the problem by regurgitating something you read somewhere and taking it as factual without actually looking into the source. You are way off. Plus, trusting a part time prof at some tiny college that heads an occupy movement is never a good idea. If you really want to be involved, educate yourself before you put your foot in your mouth. Your "facts" sound more like fiction from this master degree'd geologist!

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