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ODNR still unsure of D&L well’s tie to Valley earthquakes

Published: Thu, January 12, 2012 @ 12:08 a.m.

ODNR: quake LINK LIKELY; more DATA to be studied



RELATED: 156 drilling permits granted in 2011

By Karl Henkel



State environmental regulators say they are still trying to determine whether a brine-injection well conclusively triggered 11 Mahoning Valley earthquakes.

At a meeting Wednesday at the Covelli Centre, representatives of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said it is likely D&L Energy’s injection well on Ohio Works Drive caused the quakes, but they stopped short of definitely linking the two.

“The evidence is mounting that this series of events was caused by the well,” said Larry Wickstrom, state geologist.

The ODNR, however, is still awaiting more data from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Cooperative Seismographic Network, owners of four seis- mographs in the Youngs-town area.

That data will allow ODNR officials to take a better look at the depth, magnitude and location of the last quake, a magnitude 4.0 temblor on New Year’s Eve, which was felt from Indiana to Buffalo, N.Y.

But even if the data concludes that the D&L well sparked the seismic activity, Wickstrom said it will be difficult to prove “100 percent” that the well was responsible for the quakes.

“In most instances, it’s not going to be possible to determine that,” he told the crowd of about 500 attending Wednesday night’s meeting of Youngstown City Council’s Public Utilities Committee.

At a press conference afterward at the Youngstown Club, D&L said it will soon move forward with a geologic study of the area surrounding the well.

That study, to be conducted by a third party, could cost as much as $1 million.

Vince Bevacqua, D&L spokesman, said the company will not conduct the study with “any level of secrecy.”

During the meeting, Wickstrom also detailed new guidelines that the state will use if seismic activity occurs near another injection well.

If it is suspected that a well contributed to an earthquake, the ODNR would enforce a “zero-tolerance policy” along the lines of the action it took Dec. 31, when it banned injection wells within a 5-mile radius of the Youngstown well.

The ODNR is the governing authority of injection wells statewide.

The meeting, which included state Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Canfield, D-33rd, and state Rep. Robert F. Hagan of Youngstown, D-60th, also addressed residents’ questions about state and federal environmental regulations and whether D&L could be responsible for damages caused by any of the 11 quakes.

ODNR officials indicated that D&L could be on the hook for those damages, which included, among other things, a broken chimney and cracked concrete at two local residences.

Jack Shaner, deputy director of the Ohio Environmental Council, a nonprofit research and public policy advocacy group, called for law changes pertaining to public notices about injection wells.

Current laws don’t require the state or injection-well companies to notify municipalities of planned wells. The law also states a public notice must appear in a newspaper of general circulation, but only for one day.

Janice Rovnak of Youngs-town agreed with some of the proposals but remained skeptical.

“I learned some things,” she said. “But nothing’s going to change.”


1UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Lawyer talk - unsure, can't prove. D&L is RESPONSIBLE and should pay for all the damage they caused to peoples' properties. What a un-responsible company D&L is. Kick them out of our valley.

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2CantStandYa(222 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

As we comment on this ridiculous story, Exterran Energy Solutions is drawing up plans to build a fracking assistance site on salt springs road where Exal corp was going to expand to. The City of Youngstown was given 4.3 million to buy that land and "improve" it for exal, which has suddenly backed out and now Exterran is beginning construction in February on their new site.

Things that make you go Hmmmmmm

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3thirdthink(11 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Amen. P.S. What happened at the Vindy? Yall started off strong but now it's clear there's no investigative journalism going on. I sure hope big oil and gas isn't coming down hard on the ownership (rich and powerful types stick together like that). The Valley needs a critical voice on this toxic wasteland they want to create. Hagan can't win them all. What happens when nobody can live in Youngstown anymore and it's one big injection well? Maybe PA folks will buy a copy of the Vindy for a laugh. Those McKees Rocks types..

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4Bigben(1996 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

What a joke.

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5up4thejob(1 comment)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

This drilling could pump millions and millions of dollars into The Valley's economy which needs all the help it can get. Are we willing to give this up for the speculation that it caused a broken chemney and some cracked concrete?

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6skytopbruster(9 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

It seems like they (ODNR) keep pointing to the fact that there are many other injection wells in OHIO, with no past earthquake history. I would think that the underground strata would be much different in Youngstown than it would be in the other 3 quadrants of the state.

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7Tigerlily(509 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

The state government officials at the ODNR and the Oil and Gas companies are working hand in hand. They'll tear this town up and when they're done with it, they'll leave, laughing with their fists full of dollars, while the citizens of the valley suffer an even greater loss since the steel industry raped the place.

Wake up, people. Industry is truly not your friend. They are only their own friend. Me, me, me. My pocket, more money. To heck with anyone I step on to get it.

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8XL(18 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

What they aren't telling you.


Natural gas, in its original state, contains radon and benzene, chemicals "known to the State of California to cause cancer." It also contains toluene, a chemical "known to the State of California to cause reproductive harm." Radon does not burn but is released with the combustion by-products. Radon and natural gas combustion by-products can generally be removed through appliance vents and other exhaust systems.

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9Bigben(1996 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago


This is just my opinion as I can't climb into their minds but it seems as if they do not care. The rich have screwed the poor since the beginning. The robber barons are still with us.

When money flows as funding to people it can have an effect on their judgement and morality. It would seem that they do not understand that we are different. That is why they blow all the smoke up our rear ends about money and jobs.What would you expect ? Do they even pay taxes here? I am just asking.

Whatever the case it is difficult for a moral and rational person to understand how a greedy immoral person thinks.

Just my opinion but I think most folks know the truth .

I believe there is a heaven and a hell.I don't want to see any one go to the latter but unless there is repentance and change... as the bible says it is not impossible but very very difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom .Now you have an idea why that is the case.

As my Lord says you can not serve two masters God and mammon (money) (paraphrasing) you'll end up serving the one and hating the other. The love of money is the root of all evil -not the use of - the LOVE .

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10farmforfun(15 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Again, The tree-hugging fruit cakes are all warning the "sky is falling" leaving us with toxic waistland, poison water, killing children, crumbling houses and streets. All in the name of corporate greed. Evil people wanting to ruin anyone in their path. The last I checked Corporations hire people, Corporations provide pay checks, Corporations purchase goods and materials from other companies, so that they can hire people and provide paychecks to their workers. People just like you and me. (Well at least like me.)
My wife and I both have cars. We use these cars to visit family and friends. We also use these cars to go to work each day and earn a paycheck. We also pay taxes. The taxes provide services and welfare for people just like you and me. (Well at least like you.) We also use these cars to go to the grocery store and purchase food grown by farmers. However, I can't drive my car and farmers can't grow the food we eat with-out the Evil Corporations providing gas and oil.
These tree-huggers are probly the first to call the evil power company and complain when their electric fails.

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11XL(18 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

At some point in the future the private ownership of land will be but a distant memory. The land has been decimated by deforestation for many purposes. It must be restored. Strides in birth control will lessen the need to sustain a growing out of control population. We will become a much healthier nation with pollution from fossil fuels being stopped. The new stewards of the land will be more in tune with nature.

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12Bigben(1996 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

farmforfun- - -A person who wants clean water and their house left standing isn't evil contrary to what you may think. For you to ignore the plight of juanita's children and those of her neighborhood while mocking the poor shows the type of person you are.Anyone who dislikes innocent kids is well I won't stoop that low.

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13Bigben(1996 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

farmforfun - - -I gotten to know a few farmers in my time and I never heard one speak about the big corporations the way that you do. They are usually hard working folks who want clean water like almost everyone else. Most of them receive government assistance not unlike the poor kids possibly in juanita's neighborhood.I smell a phony.

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14cmullen(2 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

For excellent information on the hazards of fracking, read the May 2011 issue of Discover magazine. The point of most concern that overshadows even the earthquakes is the fact that the Marcellus shale contains uranium. The release of radioactivity into the environment by the fracking and disposal process has frightening consequences that seem to be overlooked.

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15JoeFromHubbard(1817 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

The earth quakes in Youngstown can, at this point, only be circumstantially related to the D&L injection well. It will take months if not years of tests to positively correlate the two.

Previous posts mentioned toxic elements "known to the state of California to cause cancer," associated with natural gas extraction. The Moen faucet in my kitchen carries the same warning but I love the water it carries. The dose makes the poison. There is no reason to over react.

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