Two New PA Injection Wells Will Accept Fracking Wastewater Starting this Fall

Drillers in Pennsylvania who do not recycle 100 percent of the wastewater from hydraulic fracturing for reuse must dispose of that wastewater somewhere. The options are to haul the wastewater, which is mostly salt water but contains a small amount of chemicals, to certified treatment plants that are specially fitted to treat it and release it into waterways, or haul it to an underground injection well. Most of the injection wells PA drillers have been using are located in Ohio. However, two new injections wells are due to come online in Columbus Township (Warren County), PA this fall, giving drillers in PA a new option.

Karl Kimmich, president of Bear Lake Properties LLC, said he is happy the Environmental Protection Agency has granted the permits to operate two injection wells in Columbus Township and hopes to begin operations in the early fall.

There are still more steps to be taken, however.

"We are happy, because we think its a good project for us," he said. "Contrary to what some people believe in the area, I think its going to eventually be a good economic project for the township as well."

Before Bittinger Well No. 1 and No. 4 can become fully operational, Bear Lake Properties will have to file emergency procedure permits and procedures with the Department of Environmental Protection pertaining to surface issues such as the protection of wildlife, and health and safety issues.

After that, Bear Lake Properties will have to conduct a mechanical integrity test to demonstrate to EPA officials the wells will be able to withstand the permitted injection pressure, plus a safety margin, Kimmich said.*

*Warren Times Observer (Jun 27, 2011) – Injection well plans still have hurdles

  • Julieann Wozniak

    Thankfully they aren’t going to use another abandoned coal mine around here, inasmuch as that worked so well the last time. Dunkard Creek is still dead.

  • Tom Roughneck

    Dunkard creek had a fish kill due to MINE RUN OFF nothing to do with oil and gas drilling!

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  • Candy

    i thought injection wells for the poison fluid is not allowed in pennsylvania. we dont want fracking as it hurts the water wells for drinking.

  • Anonymous

      injection wells are permitted by FEDERAL law, the EPA has stringent regulations regarding their placement and operation. Have you any data regarding injection wells poisoning aquifers? There are over 28,000 in operation in the US. Show me that an EPA approved UIW is poisoning water.

  • Anonymous

    I am on your side wyoroughneck; but actually ( there are over 175,000 class II injection wells in 31 states and over 300,000 class IV in the US. My company (RROC, Inc) constructs such facilities and I am aware of several “approved”; by either EPA or the state regulating entity, injection wells that have contaminated conventional drinking water wells. The states were given the choice of self governance or federal in relation to this matter. Pennsylvania and Arkansas are examples of  EPA governed states. Texas, Oklahoma and North Dakota are state or self governed. The facilities which caused the above mentioned contamination were owned by “outlaw” operators who lived only by the almighty dollar. They ignored the safeguards and/or rules that were put in place for groundwater protection. They are the exception to the rule. We build injection facilities for many of the major E&P companies and trucking companies. They go to extreme lengths to monitor and safeguard all sources of drinking water. Many of them enact additional measures (beyond what is required) to accomplish just that.
    Candy….you need to do some research on fracking and water wells before making such a statement.

  • Anonymous

    What happens on these injection wells is that the casing and cement in the well is designed to be at the right depth and strength according the the DEP.  Then the injection casing which is cemented in place across a certain zone to be injected into, usually a deep sandstone or other type of permeable strata, is perforated or otherwise opened up to the injection string and an injection rate and pressure is established. Once this design is approved by the state DEP then water can be injected at a pressure that will not exceed the design criteria of the well, thereby preventing any contamination of any zones above or below the injection zone.  This water is injected much deeper (1000s of feet) than any freshwater zone, which is normally around 100′ to 200′.  So if the DEP certifies these wells as suitable, then there should be no risk of any contamination of freshwater zones.   

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