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Ground quiet so far near proposed Weathersfield injection well

Published: Fri, January 31, 2014 @ 12:09 a.m.

Company poised to begin injecting brine from drilling



By Ed Runyan



The ground near the proposed American Water Management Services Inc. brine-injection well along state Route 169 just north of Niles has been quiet since November.

If it remains that way over the next couple of months, the company will be ready to start commercial injection of the brine that comes from gas and oil drilling, including the newer horizontal wells that use hydraulic fracturing.

Mark Bruce, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, said Thursday that seismometers in the ground at the site have picked up “no seismic activity [ground movement] at all” since the monitoring began in November.

That monitoring has established what Bruce called a “baseline,” meaning a base against which later measurements can be compared.

American Water Management will carry out tests in the coming weeks that its president, Ron Klingle, believes will lead to ODNR approval to begin commercial brine injection in six to eight weeks.

Over that time, construction of a building and other above-ground facilities also will continue, Klingle said.

Bruce noted that the seismic monitoring the state has done in recent months in other parts of the state have picked up small earthquakes too mild to be felt by humans.

The equipment has detected seismic events occurring many miles away. In the case of the Weathersfield site, only “noise signals,” possibly from quarrying work, were picked up, Bruce said.

Klingle said he believes the noise signals detected were the result of trucks on cement pads at the site.

In the coming weeks, the Howland-based company and ODNR will monitor tests the company will carry out at the well, which was drilled last fall.

American Water Management will inject brine into the well to test the “integrity,” or soundness, of the well and to check for seismic activity in relation to water being pumped into the well under pressure, Bruce said.

The seismic monitoring done so far and the monitoring that will continue for 12 months after commercial injection begins are part of changes in Ohio law approved in the summer of 2012, in response to the 4.0-magnitude Dec. 31, 2011, earthquake near the Northstar 1 injection well in Youngstown. Many smaller earthquakes also occurred in the months before that.

Ohio law requires seismic monitoring for any injection well — such as the Weathersfield well — that propose to dispose of gas and oil drilling wastes in the Mount Simon and Knox geological formations.

The Weathersfield well, which is four-tenths of a mile northwest of the North Road-North Main Street intersection in Niles, will inject brine 9,100 feet deep.

Scientists believe the Youngstown earthquakes occurred because injection pressure caused slippage of existing geological faults in the Precambrian formation, which is just below the Mount Simon and Knox formations.

American Water Management also plans to inject oil and gas wastes into a second well at the same site that will be 4,700 feet deep, which will inject brine into the Newburg formation, which was not implicated in the earthquakes.

Klingle said both wells are expected to provide the company with a place where brine can be injected for many years to come because the geological formations involved are an “ideal place” to put the fluids.

The site has a lined earthen “impoundment” area designed to hold any brine that would escape from holding tanks. Bruce referred to the impoundment area at the Weathersfield site as a “dike,” saying it has to be large enough to hold 110 percent of the fluid in the tanks.

Klingle said critics of the oil and gas industry sometimes describe pondlike structures being used to hold brine, but that is not what the impoundment area at the Weathersfield well is.

“You’ll never see water in it,” Klingle said. “It’s only if the tank fails.”

A Jan. 8 news release by the group Frackfree Mahoning Valley mentions the Weathersfield injection well, saying the proposed well’s “close proximity to the epicenter of the 2011 Youngstown 4.0 magnitude quake shows inadequate concern by ODNR for public health and safety.”

It quoted geologist Suzie Beiersdorfer, a member of Frackfree Mahoning Valley, saying, “Our position is that the injection wells must stop now as a measure to protect the public’s health, safety and well-being.”

Klingle said there won’t be earthquakes or groundwater contamination associated with the Weathersfield injection well.

“We wouldn’t be putting the amount of money into this if there was any chance of that happening,” Klingle said. “It’s going to be 100 percent safe. We wouldn’t do it any other way.”

Klingle said the creation of injection wells in the Mahoning Valley is important to helping the gas and oil industry grow here.

“It has to go someplace,” he said of the waste fluids from gas and oil drilling. “This is the absolute best way to dispose of it. We have to be able to do this or the gas and oil companies ... are not going to drill. They’ll go someplace else where they can.”


1polhack(129 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Let's begin at the end of this story, let the oil and gas companies go somewhere else. They are just like overpaid CEOs who threaten to take their "talents" elsewhere. Go ahead, try being unemployed for a while. In this case, when no community tolerates brine wells, the industry will find a better way to proceed in order to protect their profits. Also, does ODNR have any idea what will be pumped into the ground? Do they have any idea in what direction and to what extent formations around the well will give way once operations begin? Aren't these the same folks who cited lack of knowledge about subsurface formations (by anyone) as a reason to drop objections to fracking and it's associated disposal wells? Looks like another case of inept hacks, supported by our tax dollars, standing around watching a boom industry make a mess and leave.

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2mouse(112 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

doesn't sound to convincing to me when they say "so far". they will tell you what ever it takes to accomplish what they came for.

also ask them where this gas is going? because i heard it goes over seas. so how does it benefit any one in this area?

they think we are dumber than a bunch of rocks

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3lbf(220 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Syllabification: brine
Pronunciation: /brīn /
1water saturated or strongly impregnated with salt.

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4billdog1(5784 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Unnecessary to attack each other here. Although Mr. Klingle is just trying to ease peoples fears, he cannot say with 100% certainty that this is 100% safe. Nothing is 100% safe. I'm for the progress, but also believe in accountability. Any company doing this type of risky (and it is risky) business, should not be allowed to fall under a LLC company or corporation. No ability to run, declare bankruptcy or shun their responsibility if an accident should occur. If they are willing to take the risk to gain gross wealth, take the risk of loosing it if there is an accident that effects others.

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5walter_sobchak(2672 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

This is such a Chicken Little argument that Dorf on Geology keeps spouting that it is ridiculous. Injection wells have been in use for decades in Ohio for the disposal of fluid waste from a variety of industries and manufacturers. Some of these are the steel companies (such as AK Steel) and agricultural products (such as Scotts). Where does Dorf believe we should put these wastes? The salts in the waste water come from where? The shale underground! So, we are pumping them back into the ground into sandstone at a lower level under more confining layers of impermeable rock. This brine also contains some of the chemicals added for the fracking process but in small amounts. This is a common sense approach for the US to achieve energy independence from the overseas markets. Ohio has the proper geology for extraction and injection.

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676Ytown(1344 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Walter: "the brine also contains some of the chemicals added for the fracking process but in small amounts.

Brine is not innocent salt water. Keep in mind, acceptable levels of chemicals are measured in PPM (parts per million) so don't try to downplay their safety by saying it's just a small amount. Tons of chemicals do not constitute "small" in anyone's imagination.


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7polhack(129 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

UticaShale - it's INCOGNITO as in "he made 723 grunt-like comments while incognito"
Lbf - good one! Now, can you say SALT THE EARTH SO NOTHING WILL GROW?

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8dontbeafool(2065 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

If they are going to strip our lands, at least most of their employees should be from Ohio, which they are not. Also, Ohio should be getting a higher cut. I believe we are getting close to 2%, while the next lowest state is getting a 7%. They will get what they want, leave a mess for us to clean up, or file bankruptcy before they are forced to. Of course Eivo will come on here and say that you can't get enough Ohioans to come out of their house to work, but I beg to differ.

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976Ytown(1344 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

Ohio, the dumping ground for surrounding states and Portage County is the capital. .


In 2012, 58% of fracking liquid injected into Ohio wells came from other states. Radiation risks in fracking liquid are not monitored.


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10billdog1(5784 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

The reality is they will pay whatever we make them pay. This isn't like it is everywhere. They may leave for a while, but they will be back sooner or later. The states and its people can write the rules here.

Ohioan's aren't being hired because they are not trained. They are being hired for labor type jobs and some specialized jobs. They have drilled a couple of these (although producing not injecting) down the road from me. Not as much an issue of going outside as it is not being able to pass a drug test.

As far as energy Independence, there is no such thing. They sell to the highest bidder. China, USSR, Pakistan, Mexico, etc... they aren't thinking of you, just their own deep pockets.

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