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