Columbus Twp, PA Ban on Injection Wells Rescinded

Under threat of a lawsuit, supervisors in Columbus Township (Warren County, PA) reversed their previous ban on the disposal of fracking fluids in two injection wells in the township (see this previous MDN story about the lawsuit).

Injection wells are deep wells used to dispose of fracking fluid from those drillers who do not recycle all of the fracking fluid used in their drilling operations. The fluid is pumped into the wells under high pressure, forcing it deep into the ground. Ohio has hundreds of such injection wells due to a better underground geography. However, PA currently has only a relative handful of injection wells (less than a dozen?), including the two in Columbus Township.

Approval by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is all that stands between Bear Lake Properties’ operation of two liquid disposal wells in Columbus Township.

Bear Lake Properties President Karl Kimmich on Tuesday said casing on the first disposal well has been replaced and the mechanical integrity test was approved by the federal Environmental Protection Agency on Sept. 28.

The same casing will be replaced in the second well to "give us an extra layer of confidence," according to Kimmich. The EPA will have to conduct a mechanical integrity test on that well, too.

The final erosion and sediment control plan, which Kimmich said details the construction and shows where the equipment will be set, will have to be approved by DEP.

Kimmich estimated that in three to five years, there would be "dozens of this type of well across the state."

"I can assure you there are other people working on the same thing," he said.*

*Warren, PA The Times Observer (Oct 12, 2011) – Columbus repeats repeal of well rule