OH Judge Orders ODNR to Allow Shuttered Injection Well to Reopen

American Water Management Services (AWMS) owns a wastewater injection well in Trumbull County that supposedly caused a low-level earthquake (that nobody could feel) in 2014. Two wells located at the site, both operated by AWMS, were “temporarily” shut down by the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources following the quake (see ODNR Temporarily Shuts Down Injection Wells After Low-Level Quake). One of the two injection wells was allowed to re-open, but not the other (see ODNR Clears Trumbull Co. Injection Well in August Quake). However, AWMS can’t open just the one well. They need to open both and operate both. The ODNR is supposedly crafting new regulations that will govern the offending well that may or may not have caused the low-level quake and a year-and-a-half later the ODNR has not released those new regs. Meanwhile, everyone at that operation is out of a job. AWMS appealed the closure and in December 2015, a county judge threw out the appeal (see Judge Tosses Appeal to Re-Open Trumbull, OH Injection Well). So AWMS appealed it to the next level up–the 10th District Court of Appeals–in January 2016 (see AWMS Appeals Decision Upholding Trumbull Injection Well Closure). We’re not sure where the Appeals Court case sits, but a county judge has just ordered ODNR and AWMS to submit paperwork that will allow the well to reopen. Soon. The judge is telling the ODNR, no more foot-dragging. Get it done, now…
Continue reading

AWMS Appeals Decision Upholding Trumbull Injection Well Closure

American Water Management Services (AWMS) owns a wastewater injection well in Trumbull County that supposedly caused a low-level earthquake (that nobody could feel) in 2014. Two wells located at the site, both operated by AWMS, were “temporarily” shut down by the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources following the quake (see ODNR Temporarily Shuts Down Injection Wells After Low-Level Quake). One of the two injection wells was allowed to re-open, but not the other (see ODNR Clears Trumbull Co. Injection Well in August Quake). However, AWMS can’t open just the one well. They need to open both and operate both. The ODNR is supposedly crafting new regulations that will govern the offending well that may or may not have caused the low-level quake and a year-and-a-half later the ODNR has not released those new regs. Meanwhile, everyone at that operation is out of a job. AWMS appealed the closure and last month a county judge threw out the appeal (see Judge Tosses Appeal to Re-Open Trumbull, OH Injection Well). So AWMS has appealed it to the next level up–the 10th District Court of Appeals…
Continue reading

Judge Tosses Appeal to Re-Open Trumbull, OH Injection Well

It appears that in Ohio it’s A.O.K. for regulatory bodies to write laws–something the legislature is supposed to do–and not only can they write laws, they can take their sweet time doing it, denying a legally permitted business the right to conduct operations in the meantime. And if the legally permitted business seeks justice in the court system? Yeah, even the judge sides with the all-powerful state to prevent that business from operating. That about sums up the situation in Ohio for American Water Management Services (AWMS). AWMS owns a wastewater injection well in Trumbull County that supposedly caused a low-level earthquake (that nobody could feel) in 2014. Two wells located at the site, both operated by AWMS, were “temporarily” shut down by the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources following the quake (see ODNR Temporarily Shuts Down Injection Wells After Low-Level Quake). One of the two injection wells was allowed to re-open, but not the other (see ODNR Clears Trumbull Co. Injection Well in August Quake). Why was one well allowed to re-open but not the other? Because the ODNR is supposedly crafting new regulations that will govern the offending well that may or may not have caused the low-level quake. When will we see those new regs? Who knows! AWMS appealed ODNR’s decision to keep the second well shut down to the Ohio Oil and Gas Commission, a body that works for (yes) the ODNR. Unsurprisingly the Commission found ODNR is within its right to keep the second well shut down while it takes its time writing new regulations. AWMS appealed the Commission’s decision to a court, and the judge threw out the case because of a filing deadline legal hoop AWMS didn’t jump through properly…
Continue reading

OH Commission Sides with ODNR Boss to Keep Injection Well Closed

yes manUPDATE: This is slightly old news–from August. The article we quoted from was run yesterday, but the events actually happened in August. We understand that the case has now been appealed to Common Pleas Court.

The Ohio Oil and Gas Commission, the five-member advisory council that’s part of the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) set up to hear appeals from any person claiming to be aggrieved or adversely affected by an order issued by the ODNR’s oil & gas division, upheld a decision by the ODNR to suspend operations at a Trumbull County injection well. The injection well is owned by American Water Management Services and following low-level earthquake a year ago, the ODNR’s Rick Simmers shut two injection wells down (see ODNR Temporarily Shuts Down Injection Wells After Low-Level Quake). Since that time, the ODNR allowed one of the two to reopen, but not the other (see ODNR Clears Trumbull Co. Injection Well in August Quake). The ODNR continues to “investigate” (i.e. drag its feet) so finally AWMS got tired and appealed the decision to the body that hears such appeals. Although supposedly independent, the Oil and Gas Commission works for the ODNR, so it’s no surprise they supported the ODNR in their decision to keep the second well closed…
Continue reading

OH Minority Report: Shut Down Wells Before They Cause Earthquakes

Minority ReportThe Chief of the Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management for the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (currently Rick Simmers) is a man with a lot of power. He has the power, according to a ruling just handed down on August 12, to make his own decisions about suspending permits to operate in the absence of specific violations of a law or regulation. In September 2014 Simmers suspended permits for two wastewater injection wells in Trumbull County, OH after a very low level earthquake was detected close to those wells (an earthquake that couldn’t be felt at the surface and caused no damage of any kind). American Water Management Services sued saying they hadn’t violated any laws or regulations on the books and their permits could not just be arbitrarily revoked like that. But the Ohio Oil and Gas Commission said nope–Tom Cruise, er, a, Mr. Simmers can arbitrarily do what he wants when there is no specific rule or guideline or law–because he has the best interests of the people at heart…
Continue reading

Decision on Restarting Trumbull County, OH Injection Well Coming Soon

How long does it take the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources to investigate whether or not an injection well is causing low-level earthquakes? Apparently a long time–6 months at least. Last September two wastewater injection wells were ordered to suspend operations in Trumbull County, OH following an earthquake on August 31st that was so minor nobody felt it (see ODNR Temporarily Shuts Down Injection Wells After Low-Level Quake). Even though nobody felt it, the seismographs at the U.S. Geological Survey picked it up–and that was enough for ODNR. It only took about two weeks for ODNR to clear one of the two wells, the shallower well (see ODNR Clears Trumbull Co. Injection Well in August Quake). ODNR let American Water Management Services (AWMS) restart their AWMS #1 injection well. But so far ODNR won’t let them restart AWMS #2. AWMS is losing big money every day the well is closed, so they filed an appeal with the Ohio Oil & Gas Commission in October. The hearing was (finally) held on March 11…
Continue reading

ODNR Clears Trumbull Co. Injection Well in August Quake

An earthquake nobody felt on August 31 caused the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) to shut two frack wastewater injection wells in Weathersfield (Trumbull County), OH operated by American Water Management Services (see ODNR Temporarily Shuts Down Injection Wells After Low-Level Quake). ODNR has been hard at work trying to determine whether or not either of the wells may have caused the low-level (nobody could feel) quake. Last Thursday they gave the shallower of the two wells, the AWMS #1, the all-clear sign. American Water can restart that well at any time (and likely already has). However, they’re not quite ready to restart the deeper AWMS #2…
Continue reading

ODNR Temporarily Shuts Down Injection Wells After Low-Level Quake

earthquakeOn Sunday, August 31 at 5:45 pm, there was an earthquake in the vicinity of Weathersfield (Trumbull County), OH. However, no one felt it. The only way anyone knew there was a quake was because of monitoring by the U.S. Geological Survey. The Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) is investigating whether or not two wastewater injection wells, operated by American Water Management Services (AWMS), was the cause of that low-level quake that no one felt. According to the ODNR, from an “abundance of caution” they asked AWMS to shut down operations at those two wells while they investigate, which has now been done…
Continue reading

OH Earthquakes May Delay Opening of New Niles Injection Well

Although Niles (Trumbull County), Ohio is about 18 miles from Poland (Mahoning County), Ohio by car, it’s only about 8-9 miles “as the crow flies.” And that proximity may be a problem for a new Class II frack wastewater injection well set to open in just a few weeks in Niles. Why? Because nearby Poland is where there was a recent series of earthquakes (see # of Youngstown Earthquakes go from 2 to 11 – Fracking to Blame?).

American Water Management Services Inc. say they are about two weeks away from opening their new injection well in Niles–or could open if they get the necessary permits. The Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) says it’s too early to say whether or not the new injection well will be allowed to open in the next few weeks because of the ongoing earthquake investigation…
Continue reading

Drilling Begins on Wastewater Injection Well in Trumbull County

The first of what may end up being three new frack wastewater injection wells is now being drilled in Trumbull County, OH. American Water Management Services is right now drilling one of two planned injection wells in Weatherfield, OH. A second company, Kleese Development, has made application to drill a third injection well in the area.

The details:
Continue reading

New OH Injection Well to be Drilled <8 Miles from Earthquake Site

American Water Management Services (of Howland, OH) is certainly braver than we are. In the “new couple months” the company plans to drill a new frack wastewater injection well in Weathersfield, OH. Where is Weathersfield? Close to (under 8 miles away from) the now shuttered injection well operated by D&L Energy–the well that caused earthquakes in the Youngstown, OH area in December 2011 (see ODNR Finds Youngstown Injection Well Caused Earthquakes).

Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) says the new injection well targets a different rock formation than the D&L well that caused the earthquakes around Youngstown. The ODNR has installed seismic monitoring equipment and is watching this new well very closely to ensure there are no tremors being caused. Still, you KNOW if there’s the least little tremor around Youngstown from now until eternity, everyone will blame this new well even if it’s not the cause…
Continue reading