Ohio Department of Natural Resources

October 30, 2013

ODNR confirms hydraulic fracturing in Ohio has not contaminated groundwater; plans to propose rules authorizing impoundments

Source: http://www.lexology.com, October 22, 2013
By: Anne C. Foster, Baker & Hostetler LLP

A recent article published in the Akron Beacon Journal indicates (click here) that of the 183 water-well complaints received by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) between 2010 and mid-October 2013, “only six water supplies were impacted by drilling over the nearly four-year period.” By phone, Mark Bruce, a spokesman from the Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management of ODNR, mentioned that ODNR thoroughly investigates each complaint it receives, and in some cases, investigations may still be ongoing. Nonetheless, he also confirmed that neither hydraulic fracturing nor horizontal drilling were to blame for the issues ODNR found at the six-impacted sites. Rather, the fact that these sites were generally decades old and abandoned led to the adverse findings.

As the article specifies, ODNR’s findings were not surprising, as “older wells and abandoned wells are more likely to create water-well problems with neighbors than horizontal wells.” With that said, however, ODNR continues to examine best practices from industry players, other states, and concerned citizens to minimize risks to human health and the environment. By way of example, ODNR is currently drafting rules which will outline a permitting process for flowback water impoundments applicable to companies choosing to use such pools in connection with horizontal drilling. Bruce also mentioned that companies may use the impoundments for the purpose of storing freshwater to be used in the fracturing process or storing (and perhaps reusing) the flowback fluids in future fracturing projects.

For further information regarding the flowback water rules and rulemaking, please refer to the following sources:

http://ohiocitizen.org/ohio-will-soon-authorize-fracking-wastewater-pools/

http://www.shalemarkets.com/odnr-writing-new-rules-for-lagoons-on-fracking/

http://oilandgas.ohiodnr.gov/

 …

October 9, 2013

Ohio will soon authorize fracking wastewater pools

Source: Vindicator (Youngstown, OH), October 7, 2013
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

Ohio regulators will soon approve and permit large, exposed centralized impoundments that hold fracking flowback water.

These are used widely by oil and gas companies in other states to recycle the waste and serve multiple wells near one another .

The impoundments, or pits, which sometimes exceed the size of a football field and can hold millions of gallons of water, are now banned in Ohio.

But they’ve proved a useful asset to companies operating in other states such as Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The impoundments serve as water-transfer stations for multiple wells nearby, greatly reducing the amount of truck traffic and the water necessary to drill and frack those wells.

Existing Ohio regulations permit use of lined impoundments that hold freshwater for drilling. Flowback, or fracking wastewater, however, must be stored above ground in covered steel tanks before disposal or reuse.

But effective Jan. 1, the centralized impoundment pools will be authorized by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources as part of a regulatory change state legislators made in the biennial budget bill signed in June.

Changes to the law likely came after input from the industry. Operators consider centralized impoundments a key to further developing the Utica Shale play.…

September 25, 2013

Sites sought for region's fracking residue

Source: The Columbus Dispatch, September 23, 2013
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

Battelle scientists are leading a search for sites where companies can pump fracking waste underground in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

The two-year project, funded by a $1.8 million U.S. Department of Energy grant, is a response to the growing amount of polluted wastewater that bubbles out of fracked shale wells. Millions of barrels of the waste are pumped into disposal wells, many of which are in Ohio.

With more drilling and fracking expected, oil and gas companies will need to find the best locations to safely inject more waste, said Neeraj Gupta, senior research leader for Battelle’s subsurface-resources group.

“That’s one of our objectives. Where is the injection capacity?” Gupta said.

Right now, it’s in Ohio, where more than 14.2 million barrels of fracking fluids and related waste from oil and gas wells were pumped into 190 disposal wells last year. That was a 12 percent increase over 2011.

Much of the waste — 8.16 million barrels last year — came from Pennsylvania, which has seven active disposal wells. West Virginia has 63 disposal wells.

The fracking process pumps millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals underground to shatter shale and free its trapped oil and gas. Some of the fluid bubbles back up, along with ancient saltwater that contains toxic metals and radium.

Environmental advocates say they worry that old, poorly maintained disposal wells will leak pollutants to groundwater.…

September 3, 2013

Fracking: 98 more quakes linked to well

Source: Columbus Dispatch (OH), September 1, 2013
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

A fracking waste disposal well linked to 11 earthquakes that rocked the Youngstown area was the likely source of at least 98 additional temblors that were too weak for people to notice, according to new research.

They were discovered by Columbia University researchers who analyzed data collected by Ohio’s regional network of seismometers. The first was a magnitude 1.1 quake that occurred on Jan. 11, 2011, two weeks after the Northstar No. 1 well started injecting fracking waste underground.

The earthquakes were so weak they didn’t trigger alarms until March 17, 2011, when a magnitude 2.1 earthquake was followed minutes later by a magnitude 2.6 earthquake.

Nine additional earthquakes were detected in the following months. They culminated in a magnitude 4.0 earthquake on Dec. 31 that drew national attention and led to new government safety standards for Ohio’s growing fracking-waste-disposal industry.The well shut down the day before that earthquake.

The study, recently published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, offers the most-compelling evidence yet that the Northstar well repeatedly triggered some unknown fault line beneath Youngstown. Among other things, the epicenters of the earthquakes moved west over time, conceivably as the injected wastes spread underground.…

August 7, 2013

Gas leaks from shale wells rare

Source: The Columbus Dispatch, August 5, 2013
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

Minutes after Debby Kline flicked a lighter near a bathroom sink in her Portage County house in northeastern Ohio, she called the fire department.

A sink-to-ceiling flare erupted when she tried to light a candle on Dec. 21, she told a TV news show. State oil and gas regulators are still investigating what caused natural gas to bubble out of the faucet.

Kline’s Nelson Township house is within a half-mile of two Utica shale wells that state records show were drilled and fracked in October and November.

Videos of burning water in Ohio and Pennsylvania households have helped bring attention to shale drilling and fracking, but such incidents are rare. Most complaints associated with oil and gas drilling are about drinking-water wells that run dry or produce water that’s discolored, smelly or clogged with sediment.

But in some cases, natural gas from poorly cased and cemented wells can seep into drinking-water wells, making faucets spit fizzy water that some homeowners can ignite.

“We encourage people not to do that, because there is an explosive risk,” said Kevin Sunday, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

Ohio Department of Natural Resources officials said they could not discuss Kline’s case while it is being investigated. Kline also declined to comment.

Oil- and gas-industry advocates say shallow pockets of natural gas can leak into groundwater. They say drilling gets blamed for something that has been going on, unnoticed, for years.…

July 2, 2013

OH Fracking Waste Disposal Increasing

Read here about the increase of fracking waste in Ohio resulting from the shale gas and oil drilling process.…

February 18, 2013

Ohio EPA official: Lupo dumped at least six times

Source: Vindicator (Youngstown, OH), February 12, 2013
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

Ben W. Lupo, owner of D&L Energy and Hardrock Excavating, admitted he ordered employees to dump drilling waste into a city storm drain at least five times before being caught Jan. 31, an Ohio Environmental Protection Agency official said.

Each time, starting in September 2012, Lupo had workers empty two 21,000-gallon tanks of brine material and oil-based mud, Kurt Kollar, on-scene coordinator for the OEPA’s Division of Emergency and Remedial Response, said Monday.

That totals 252,000 gallons of waste dumped.

“That’s what he’s indicating,” Kollar said about what Lupo told him.

Kollar made the first public statements, during a Monday meeting with city officials and the media, about a pattern of dumping by Lupo. The meeting was called by Mayor Charles Sammarone.

The revelation was made public more than a week after an anonymous tip led state investigators to discover the Jan. 31 dumping.

The OEPA’s special investigation unit is reviewing the matter as a “potential criminal case,” Kollar said.

The U.S. EPA’s criminal-investigation division is also on site at the D&L/Hardrock location on Salt Springs Road, investigating Hardrock and Lupo.

Sammarone is calling for Lupo to be prosecuted and said the city could file criminal charges.

Cleanup, which could take another week or two, shows evidence of previous dumping, Kollar said.…

June 30, 2011

Water contamination is concern in oil and gas drilling

Source: Vindicator (Youngstown, OH), June 29, 2011
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

Water contamination seems to be the main opposition to oil and gas drilling throughout shale regions in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Many Mahoning Valley residents, specifically in Columbiana County, signed leases with Oklahoma-based Chesapeake Energy Corp. in April. But until drilling picks up, landowners have been urged to take the necessary steps to ensure water remains safe to drink.

“You inevitably will have accidents or spills,” said Christopher Baronzzi, an attorney at the Youngstown law firm of Harrington, Hoppe & Mitchell Ltd., who spoke Tuesday to nearly 250 landowners at a seminar at Das Dutch Haus Village Inn on state Route 14. “If you have hundreds of thousands of gallons of chemicals spilled, there could be groundwater contamination.”

Baronzzi urged landowners who use wells for drinking water to seek comprehensive water tests before oil and gas companies begin drilling. Water from public utilities must meet National Primary Drinking Water Standards, but well water is a landowner’s responsibility.…