50 Reasons To Stop Injecting Toxic Waste
Support Senate Bill 50 to Stop Waste and Protect Our Communities
1. No New Job Creation
While it seems new jobs may be created to handle and oversee the highly toxic and radioactive chemicals that are injected deep underground, there are not. An injection well sites look relatively harmless. Some piping sticking out of the ground and occasionally there are containment tanks nearby. Not much different than the unsupervised oil wells you pass on a daily basis. These are not job creators as it’s not profitable to oversee the disposal of toxic waste. Industry uses injection wells because it’s the cheapest method of disposal with least amount of oversight. The same guy who hauls the waste away, takes it to the injection site. tion site.
2. Chemical Waste Not Monitored
There is no regulatory authority that monitors the chemicals being disposed of in the ground. We have no idea how much radioactive material is present, nor which toxic chemicals. The industry is not required to disclose the toxic chemical cocktail they’re injecting deep into the ground. When the chemicals make their way to the groundwater supply, it will be complicated, if not impossible to determine what chemicals are making people sick and how to best treat them.
3. Dangerous Cumulative Effects
In 2016 alone Ohio injected 30,227,235 barrels of toxic radioactive waste into 160 injection wells. In 2015, Ohio injected 31,608,767 barrels (42 gallons per barrel) of toxic, radioactive waste into 180 wells. What we do know about oil/gas wastewater is that it contains known carcinogens and radioactive materials: levels which are not actively monitored.
4. Potential For Groundwater Contamination, Not If: When
When chemicals are injected deep underground, they don’t just stay still. There’s no containment in these underground injection sites. The industry wants you to think that if they shoot the waste down deep enough it will just stay put. Science and history have proven that chemicals move through an area of least resistance and can find their way to our groundwater, which ultimately contaminates the drinking water supply.
5. No Groundwater Monitoring
The industry nor the state monitor groundwater near injection well facilities. Without monitoring, if contamination occurs, there is no way to prove that it hadn’t occurred prior to injection. And contaminated water may be used and drunk for years without users knowing it has been contaminated if no odors, color, or taste signal that something is wrong.
6. Unknown Levels of Radon/Radiation
It is unfortunate enough that there is no chemical monitoring, it is especially dangerous due to the levels of radon. Radon is a naturally occurring gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium, typically found in igneous rock and soil and sometimes well water. Human health problems do not usually stem from the radon itself, but rather the breakdown (radioactive decay) of radon. Radon gas is a known carcinogen and the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Studies conducted over the last several years have found radon in the air and well water at increased levels near fracking sites. By fracturing the ground, it makes it easier for radon and other gasses to leak up to the soil. It also means that it comes back up with fracking waste – that’s then transported to an injection well, where it will find it’s way back in the ground (and to nearby soil/water).
7. Ohio Has Over 200 Injection Wells Already
As of October 2017, Ohio has 217 injection wells, with more permitted (on the way). Check out Ohio’s Shale Gas Waste Disposal Map here.
8. Lower Property Value
Injection wells are dangerous and dangerous don’t translate to easy home sales.
9. Injection Wells Cause Earthquakes
It’s no secret that injection wells have been scientifically linked to earthquakes. It’s one of the reasons they get shut down (and seemingly the fastest way to get them shut down).
10. No Tracking
Sometimes there are hundreds of trucks from several different companies that make their way to a single injection well. There is no sort of chemical or disposal tracking to know where the toxins being injected underground are going. It’s not like there is a deep storage locker where the waste is safely stored. Basically these companies just shoot it down and hope for the best. So should the chemicals find their way to a waterway, not only will it be difficult to track: it will be even more disastrous to hold anyone accountable.
11. Industry Accidents Are Covered By Your Taxes
Who bails out oil and gas? Tax payers. Sure, companies get slapped with fines, but when it comes to the cost of cleanup: that’s on you.
12. No Air Monitoring
Gasses release from the ground and from daily operations/trips to the injection site. How does the industry know residents are safe if there is no active monitoring that proves it?
13. There's No Contained Storage Underground
Where will this wastewater go over time? There’s no contained storage, and these companies are injecting highly toxic waste that does not break down rapidly. Many of the chemicals found in fracking chemicals linger for decades and can negatively impact health in small amounts.
14. Emissions Released Contribute To Climate Change
The emissions from the well, traveling, and injecting it all back in the ground: this all contributes to climate change. There are cleaner sources of energy available that have a lesser impact on our climate.
15. Mechanical Failure
Is just what it sounds like — and more common than you may think:
“A ProPublica review of well records, case histories and government summaries of more than 220,000 well inspections found that structural failures inside injection wells are routine. From late 2007 to late 2010, one well integrity violation was issued for every six deep injection wells examined — more than 17,000 violations nationally. More than 7,000 wells showed signs that their walls were leaking. Records also show wells are frequently operated in violation of safety regulations and under conditions that greatly increase the risk of fluid leakage and the threat of water contamination.”
16. Water Contamination
Whether it is a pond, lake, river, or stream you enjoy (or drink from): once a water source is contaminated, it can spread to other sources (everything is downstream). Chemicals making their way into their water find their way back to our bodies.
17. Disproportionately Impact Poor, Rural Areas
The oil and gas industry loves to prey on the poor with limited resources under the guise of providing a helping (economic) hand. Many communities are left in worse shape than they were before drilling: environmental degradation that leads to decreased property values. It’s hard (if not impossible) to attract businesses where people don’t want to live due to what’s been done to the communities by this industry. So the vicious cycle continues. First, there were coal mines, then oil wells, and now those old wells that aren’t producing are being converted to injection wells.
18. Old Production Wells Converted To Injection Wells
Production wells are not engineered to take in waste – at least not the old ones. But that doesn’t stop the industry from converting them to injection well sites. It’s a common (and economical) solution for the industry.
19. Concrete Doesn't Last Forever
While we all know concrete is durable, we also all know that it can only take heavy activity for so long before it begins to degrade. So the concrete barrier so far down the well is prone to leaking – especially if it’s an active well. When the concrete starts breaking down underground and absent regular monitoring: how is the industry supposed to know where their chemicals are going?
20. Ohio Is Beautiful: It Shouldn't Be A Dumping Ground
Our state needs to respect itself more and stop taking what crumbs industry throws at us. Ohio should not be a toxic dump! We have the power and potential to create a strong local economy that is environmentally responsible.
21. Increased Driving Risks
The increased truck traffic as a result of fracking– and the waste it creates – has also lead to a rise in accidents. The large trucks are operating 24/7 running all kinds of chemicals to and from pads to injection well sites. Furthermore, with many of these trucks containing toxic chemicals… Those accidents aren’t easy to clean (or contain).
22. No Monitoring = No Proof
Absent regulations that require regular monitoring, there’s no way to prove that an injection well made you sick. Sure, there could be chemicals found in your water, but for all the industry knows: your water was that way before they got there. Who pays for your medical bills then?
23. They Use Acid To Clean Their Pipes
To clear debris from the well after it’s drilled, industry dumps hydrochloric acid down the well, followed sometime later by water. The water is to flush the hydrochloric acid out of the steel casing because the acid can eat away at the steel casing. Hydrochloric acid is known to have damaging impacts on human health. And the industry continues periodically to dump acid down the well to keep the well from slowing down.
24. Injection Wells Can Explode
Yes, storage tanks at injection wells can explode. The tanks can contain leftover hydrocarbons that can be released into the air. If the tanks get struck by lightning or some other source of ignition, they can explode. In urban areas industry are required to have lightning arrestors, but in rural areas, they are not.
25. Oil and Gas Industry Operates for Profit, Not You
The industry is in it for the money, and this particular industry has a long, rich history of tricking landowners out of their rights, polluting entire communities (and leaving taxpayers to clean it up), working with the government to take away rights of the people, and so much more. Enough is enough. It is possible to earn a decent living AND respect the community you operate your business in. If a business doesn’t leave a community in better shape than it entered, it should not be welcome!
26. Who's Got Your Mineral Rights?
Many homeowners do not own the minerals beneath the ground. Thanks to the industry’s cozy relationship with our state, this means that they can put an injection well on your property if it works for them (assuming they own or have purchased your mineral rights). Already have a well on your property that’s stopped producing? That too could be converted to an injection well.
27. No Federal Law To Disclose Chemicals
There’s no federal law that requires fracking companies to disclose their chemicals. This makes it extremely difficult for doctors and first responders to do their jobs. This also means that ODNR (Ohio Department of Natural Resources) has no basis for regulations surrounding chemicals.
28. Concentration Of Power
The Ohio legislature gave ODNR ultimate authority over oil and gas operations, including injection wells. Communities have very little say in what happens while the folks in Columbus permit the environmental degradation of our communities.
29. No Incident Reporting
Leak occurring nearby? Neither the ODNR nor the company is required to tell you anything. Cases of leaking are sometimes documented, but unless you regularly look up violations on a well near you, there’s no real way to know what’s going on– unless something BIG happens.
30. No Public Input For Injection Wells
The public has no effective means to object to an injection well. Even those who are OK with injection wells have no say over their location.
31. Industry Pays The Regulators
Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. Many in positions of authority at the ODNR have strong ties with oil and gas. The ODNR’s oil and gas division also derives most of its budget from oil and gas operations. It’s in the interest of both the O&G division and industry to permit away.
32. What About The Next Generation?
Generations to come will definitely feel the impacts of these injection wells. Will Ohio even be a habitable state at that point?
33. What do some former EPA officials say?
“In 10 to 100 years we are going to find out that most of our groundwater is polluted,” said Mario Salazar, an engineer who worked for 25 years as a technical expert with the EPA’s underground injection program in Washington. “A lot of people are going to get sick, and a lot of people may die.”
34. U.S. Department of Energy on injection wells
“Class 2 wells constitute a serious problem,” said John Apps, a leading geoscientist and injection expert who works with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. “The risk to water? I think it’s high, partially because of the enormous number of these wells and the fact that they are not regulated with the same degree of conscientiousness.”
35. Does your community have a Safety Plan?
According to a WKBN story, Trumbull County does not have a safety plan for injection wells in the county. So if a fire or explosion would occur, how would the local first responders fight a fire at any of the many, many injection wells in the county?
36. No limit on waste.
Ohio has no law on the amount of waste that can be injected into a well a day, a month, a year. Also long as the well is under their injection pressure, the well owner can inject as much and as often as they want.
Spills at an injection facility are not reportable if they are under the 210-gallons (approximately 5 barrels) threshold limit. released to the environment unless the release is over the 210-gal (or approximately 5 barrels) reporting threshold for unrefined crude spills on the land. If the there is a release into the secondary containment, it is not reportable. Many of the old injection wells in Ohio do not have secondary containment protection. However, oil spills of any amount that creates a “sheen” or discoloration on the surface navigable waters must be reported.
38. Permit never expires
Once an injection well starts to operate the permit never expires.
39. Oldest well
The oldest well in operation is in Morrow County and began operating in 1966.
40. Storage tanks at injection well are not permitted
Almost every other industry that has storage tanks are required to have permits for their tanks. Storage tanks at injection wells are not required to be permitted.
41. Emergency Planning Community Right to Know (EPCRA)
The oil/gas industry is not required to report chemicals they have on site for 60 days after the bring them on site. This means that the chemicals are used to frack, and the flowback goes to an injection well before the chemicals are reported.
42. No minimum acres required
Industry can put an injection well anywhere in Ohio. Even in your neighborhood.
43. Distance to homes, churches, roads, public buildings
A distance of 150 feet is all that is required for an injection well.
44. Citizens access to information on injection wells
ODNR inspection reports are only accessible if you have the correct software.
45. Plugging injection well
While most injection well permits have a requirement that says “Upon discontinuance of injection operations, the owner/operator must apply for a permit to plug and abandon the well. The well must be plugged and abandoned within 60 days after discontinuance of operations.” ODNR does not enforce this operational condition.
46. Pressure buildup
There is no requirement in Ohio law that those proposing to drill an injection well must prove that there will not be a pressure buildup or that the chemical mixture would not reach an aquifer recharge area.
47. How is the waste confined?
In Ohio, there is no requirement that Injection and confining formations are free of vertically transmissive fissures or faults. ODNR admits it knows less about the ground beneath us then they know about the surface of the moon.
48. Eyes closed
Oil & Gas Commission denial in American Water Management vs Division of Oil & Gas.
“Although the Division is aggressively seeking improvements in its regulatory program, specific regulations addressing seismic impacts from injection do not yet exist. Add to this scenario the fact that this industry operates underground, and outside of our direct observation.
While science may aid us in understanding the geophysics and lithostratigraphies associated with injection operations, to a certain extent both the industry and the Division are “working with their eyes closed.”
“We cannot directly visualize the “terrain” that exists thousands of feet below the Earth’s surface. And, it is possible that geologic connections exist at these great depths that we cannot readily anticipate. There simply are many unknowns regarding the complexities of deep geology in eastern Ohio.”
49. Annulus pressure
An injection well permit does not contain an allowable annulus pressure even though it is this pressure that would indicate loss of mechanical integrity. Or show possible leaking outside the casing.
50. Operation hours
There is no limit on the number of hours a well can operate. Some older wells do not even have attendant watching the wells.