‘Father of Marcellus’ Weighs in on Proposed Plum, PA Injection Well

As MDN reported in July, the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the agency in charge of approving oil and gas wastewater injection wells, is currently reviewing an application and plan from Penneco Environmental Solutions (division of Penneco Oil Co.) to convert a plugged gas well into a brine (wastewater) injection well in Plum, PA–near Pittsburgh (see New Frack Wastewater Well on the Way in Allegheny County, PA). PA has just a handful of wastewater injection wells–less than 10 of them. The most recent two such projects were vigorously opposed by the municipalities where they are located–Highland Township in Elk County, and Grant Township in Indiana County. The towns eventually backed down when they were sued by the PA DEP over their illegal actions (see PA DEP Issues 2 Wastewater Injection Well Permits, Sues 2 Towns). We expect the project in Plum will also encounter stiff opposition. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review asked Terry Engelder, the now-retired Penn State University professor and geologist who first discovered the potential of the Marcellus (called “the Father of the Marcellus Shale”) to offer his opinion on the injection well proposal for Plum. Engelder’s advice to Penneco? “[B]e a little bit cautious because [you] don’t really know how the rock will respond to this foreign fluid”…

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