New Ohio Injection Well Launches in Tuscarawas County

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Glenn O. Hawbaker, Inc., long known for providing stone quarries and asphalt plants in Pennsylvania and Ohio, provides civil construction services for shale well sites. The company is also involved in water withdrawal and treatment, logistics of supplies and the creation of specialized aggregate products for the shale industry. Hawbaker recently held an open house to launch the startup of its very first shale wastewater injection well–in Newcomerstown (Tuscarawas County), Ohio. Hawbaker held a Grand Opening Open House for their injection well last week. What’s that? You don’t think injecting wastewater in the ground is a good thing? We’d like a chance to change your mind about that…
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EPA Public Mtg Examines Disposing O&G Wastewater in Lakes, Rivers

In May the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched a study looking into the possibility of treating oil and gas wastewater and (gasp) releasing the cleaned-up wastewater into lakes and rivers, instead of injecting it back down holes in the ground. Earlier this week the EPA held a public meeting to discuss preliminary findings and to elicit more input from the industry and from Big Green on their study, which is called “Study of Oil and Gas Extraction Wastewater Management” (due to be released early next year). Below is an update on the meeting with a slide deck used by EPA.
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Nuverra Buys Clearwater Solutions w/Guernsey, OH Injection Wells

Nuverra Environmental Solutions (formerly Heckmann) is one of the largest companies in the United States that handles transportation and disposal of shale drilling wastewater and leftover rock and dirt from drilling. The company has major operations in the Marcellus/Utica region. Those operations are expanding. Nuverra announced last Friday it has purchased, lock, stock and barrel, ClearWater Solutions, an Ohio injection well operator. Purchase price was $41.9 million. Looks like Nuverra has fully recovered from bankruptcy just one year ago.
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Reliable Buys Athens, OH Injection Well, Plans to Drill 2nd Well

Reliable One Resources, a wastewater treatment company headquartered in Texas, has just purchased an existing/functioning wastewater injection well in Athens, OH. Reliable does not say in their announcement who sold them the well. They do say they intend to drill a second well next to the first one (which is the big news for us), and that they (Reliable) is in the process of buying “multiple trucking companies” that will hauling wastewater from Marcellus/Utica drillers to their facility.
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Plum Injection Well Hearing Draws Solid Opposition

Earlier this year the federal EPA approved a new injection well for Plum Borough in Allegheny County, PA (see Federal EPA Approves Permit for Plum, PA Wastewater Injection Well). Although federal approval is necessary, so too is state approval. The PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) held a public hearing Monday night to elicit input. Around 60 people showed up. All 17 who spoke at the hearing were against the proposed injection well.
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Hubbard Twp, OH Still Trying to Block Injection Well

Two weeks ago MDN told you that liberal Democrat State Rep. Glenn Holmes (from Girard, Trumbull County, OH) is attempting to use a hammer to kill a fly (see Ohio Democrats Float Bill to Cap Injection Wells at 23 per County). Holmes is sponsoring House Bill 723 to cap the number of injection wells at 23 per county, in an attempt to block a single new injection well from getting built in Hubbard Township. Currently Trumbull County has 17 live and functioning wastewater injection wells. Five more are currently under construction. If the bill passes, it would prevent a newly-proposed well in Hubbard from getting built. Holmes has some company in his opposition. Hubbard township officials are “bitterly opposed” to the injection well and raising their own fuss to try and stop it. The preferred solution for Hubbard officials is for the state to allow local towns to write their own oil and gas zoning laws–a prescription for NIMBY disaster. No town would allow it, which is why the review and authorization of injection wells is a joint process between the federal EPA and the state. But that well-thought-out solution of federal/state review doesn’t stop the locals from kicking up a fuss…
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Dartmouth: How Water & Shale Combine to Produce Radioactive Waste

A pair of newly published research papers from Dartmouth College may shed new light on radioactivity in shale waste water. We previously highlighted research from Dartmouth in 2015 and again in 2016 dealing with Marcellus Shale and water (see Dartmouth Study: Fracking Causes Toxic Metal Wastewater and Dartmouth Study Finds Barium Leaches Directly from Marcellus Shale). We said at the time, “…we don’t detect an agenda on the part of the researchers. This appears to us to be legitimate research that helps us better understand the chemical reactions happening a mile or more below the ground when we shoot water down there.” And so we continue to feel about these latest Dartmouth studies. Reportedly for the first time we now understand how “slick water” (water and chemicals used during fracking) can combine with shale rock, transferring some of the naturally occurring radiation from the rock to the water. That is, we better understand the science of it. Which means we can develop better ways to handle and treat water that may have low levels of radioactivity…
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New WV Facility Opens to Handle Radioactive M-U Waste

SECUR, a privately owned company headquartered in Pittsburgh that (among other things) cleans up radioactive waste from shale drilling, has just opened a new 10-acre branch facility in Tyler County, WV to do just that–to clean up NORM (naturally occurring radioactive materials) and TENORM (technically-enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material). The facility cleans up both liquids (wastewater) and solids (drill cuttings) that contain a tiny bit of radiation in them, making them suitable for safe disposal. No, there is no permanent storage at the facility–the site, located in Friendly, WV, is only used to clean up the stuff coming in. SECUR then repackages the material and sends it back out to licensed disposal facilities. And did we mention…SECUR is a woman-owned, small business? Nice. Here’s the good news of yet more jobs and an essential service have come to the WV part of the Marcellus/Utica…
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PA Court Upholds $1.1M Fine on EQT re Wastewater Impoundment

Yesterday Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court upheld a PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) fine levied on EQT for $1.1 million related to a leaky wastewater impoundment in 2012. The case dates back to 2014 when the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) slapped EQT with a $4.53 million fine for a leaky wastewater impoundment in Tioga County, something that happened two years earlier (see PA DEP Levies Biggest Fine Ever, $4.5M Against EQT). EQT never said there wasn’t a problem with leaks at the site, but they did say the way the DEP calculated the fine was unreasonable and arbitrary. EQT appealed the fine and the case all the way to the PA Supreme Court, and in April of this year, the Supremes ruled in favor of EQT, saying that the DEP’s levied fine was excessive and that the DEP misinterpreted language in the 1937 Clean Streams Law (see PA Supreme Court Axes DEP $4.5M Fine in EQT Tioga Wastewater Leak). We thought that was the end of the case. But it wasn’t. The Supremes ruled on “water to water” contamination in the case, but not on “ground to water” contamination. PA law allows for companies to be on the hook for each day a contaminant enters the water table. In May the court heard oral arguments over how to prove whether contaminants in the soil have moved into groundwater (see EQT Continues to Fight PA DEP Fine re Wastewater Impoundment). What lawyers argued was whether or not, and how, the DEP can prove contaminants in the ground, there because of EQT’s leak, can be proven to have leached into the water on any given day. DEP claimed to have a formula and calculated a revised $1.1 million fine based on assumptions about how many days the contaminants leaked out of the ground. Yesterday, Commonwealth Court agreed with DEP and upheld the fine…
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Ohio Democrats Float Bill to Cap Injection Wells at 23 per County

Liberal Democrat State Rep. Glenn Holmes (from Girard, Trumbull County, OH) is attempting to use a hammer to kill a fly. That is, he’s floating House Bill 723 to cap the number of injection wells at 23 per county, in an attempt to block a new injection well from getting built in Hubbard Township. Currently Trumbull County has 17 live and functioning wastewater injection wells. Five more are currently under construction. If the bill passes, it would prevent a newly-proposed well in Hubbard from getting built. Come here fly, see this hammer? Instead of debating the merits (or lack thereof) of the single well in Hubbard, how many wells are too many in Trumbull County, Holmes wants to limit injection wells everywhere in the state as his preferred solution. Right now Trumbull and Ashtabula counties are tied for the top spot with 17 active injection wells each. Nearby Portgage and Stark counties both have 16 injection wells. Meigs County, in southeast Ohio, has 14 active injection wells. Here’s the latest Democrat shenanigan aimed at stifling the Utica (and Marcellus) industry in Ohio…
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6 Charged with Bypassing Emissions Controls on Marcellus Trucks

We may not always agree with certain rules and regulations, but skirting or ignoring them is not an option. Especially not in the Marcellus industry. A small group of men (six so far) in Williamsport (Lycoming County), PA are accused of conspiring to illegally alter emission systems on 30+ trucks with heavy-duty diesel engines. The trucks belong to Rockwater Northeast of Canonsburg, a subsidiary of Rockwater Energy Solutions Inc. of Houston, Texas, used to haul fresh water and wastewater to/from Marcellus Shale wells being drilled. The men “tampered with and removed emission monitoring devices on trucks to reduce repair costs and maintenance down time.” Five of the six have already plead guilty, and a sixth was recently charged in the scheme. They all face jail time and stiff fines. Folks, this is not acceptable behavior for our industry…
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Duke Study Can’t Hide Fact Water Use for M-U Fracking is Small

We find the latest “bash fracking” so-called study just published by Duke University to be, well, rather amusing. This is not Duke “researcher” Avner Vengosh’s first bash fracking study (see Duke Hit Piece on Shale Water Usage from Same Park-Sponsored Prof and Latest Case of Duke U Bought & Paid “Research” by Park Foundation). This newest “research” study is amusing because the findings appear to be solid and positive news for the industry, but the researchers and mainstream media are going out of their way to spin the findings into something negative. In “The intensification of the water footprint of hydraulic fracturing” (full copy below), researchers imply and infer that fracking is using too much water, and producing too much wastewater (brine and flowback). Yet here in the Marcellus/Utica region, fracking’s use of our regional (very abundant) water supplies is minimal, only growing 20% from 2011 to 2016. Although they do their best to spin it negatively, you can’t ignore the facts. Fracking isn’t a drain on freshwater supplies, using a small fraction compared to other uses, including golf courses. The amount of wastewater that must be disposed is not a burden either. Most brine (i.e. produced water) and flowback is recycled and reused, with a small amount disposed via injection wells…
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OH Antis Attack Loudonville for Selling Water to Cabot for Drilling

Little red dot indicates where Loudonville, OH is located

At the Loudonville Village Council meeting on Monday, a dozen anti-drilling kooks “assailed” Mayor Steve Stricklen and council members over selling water to Cabot Oil & Gas to use in drilling (not fracking) several test wells in the area. Cabot is exploring north central Ohio as a potential spot for “what’s next” after their wildly successful Marcellus drilling program in Susquehanna County, PA. In typical fashion, lies and fearmongering were used in an attempt to shame Loudonville officials over water sales to Cabot. Loudonville sits on the border of Ashland and Homles counties. The village sells water to anyone who wants to buy, for 0.65 cents per gallon (a little over half a cent per gallon). So far Cabot has purchased 650,000 gallons from the village ($4,358). One of the antis said she’s fearful Cabot will dump the used fracking wastewater “contaminated by chemicals” in nearby Charles Mill Lake. It’s an outrageous and scurrilous allegation. We’ve personally seen Cabot’s first-rate wastewater recycling center in Susquehanna County. They recycle 100% of the wastewater coming out of the ground. But antis don’t bother to check on the facts–not when any old lying allegation will do…
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Antis Fight Plan to Convert 2 Class II Injection Wells in OH to Class I

In 2013, Buckeye Brine, a relatively young Ohio-based company, added a second shale wastewater injection well in Coshocton County (see Buckeye Brine Adds Second Injection Well, Business Expands Rapidly). Buckeye later added a third injection well. After an oil or gas well is drilled and fracked, wastewater from fracking flows back out for a week or two. After that, over time (years in most cases) naturally occurring water from deep underground continues to flow. That naturally occurring water contains a lot of dissolved minerals in it, making it much “saltier” than even ocean water–hence the term brine. Buckeye Brine has operated their three Class II (as they are known) injection wells “flawlessly” for the past five years. No earthquakes. No spills. No leaks back to the surface. Nothing. Buckeye now wants to re-designate two of the three wells as Class I wells, which would allow them to accept non-shale wastewater–from industrial equipment operators, soap manufacturers, food processors, power plants, and municipal wastewater treatment plants. The new wastewater sources for a Class I well are considered “nonhazardous.” However, so-called environmental groups are opposing the change from Class II to Class I…
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WV DEP Holds Hearing on Proposed Injection Well in Upshur Co.

Mountain V Oil and Gas owns a Marcellus Shale well drilled in 2014 in Upshur County, WV that was a bust. You don’t often hear about Marcellus wells that don’t produce. Because their Marcellus well is a non-producer, Mountain V wants to convert it into a wastewater injection well. The neighbors are not happy about it. The WV Dept. of Environmental Protection held a public hearing last week about the proposal. Twelve local residents spoke at the hearing–every one of them against the project. No one spoke in favor. Is that really a surprise? The comments made at the hearing referred to the potential for earthquakes and pollution of the water table. Here’s what the good (but misinformed) residents of Upshur don’t understand about injection wells: (1) There are hundreds of thousands of them across the country, and have been for decades. (2) The wastewater (brine) going down the proposed injection well first came up from the same deep sources–we’re just putting it back where it came from. (3) If the well is properly cased, and rest assured these wells are heavily regulated and regularly checked, there is no way for the wastewater to seep back up to the surface. The water was down there for millennia and didn’t make its way to the surface, so why would it now? (4) Earthquakes can happen, but only when massive amounts of fluids are injected into an existing fault, or crack, in the rock layers. Earthquakes from injection wells, at least in the northeast, are as rare as hen’s teeth. Look, in all honesty, we wouldn’t be overly thrilled with an injection well locating near us either. However, if you’re going to object, as a first step you need to get your facts straight. Here’s more about last week’s hearing and the lack of facts (and wild statements) that circulated at that meeting…
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Clearfield County Still Looking for Way to Stop Injection Well

It’s been seven long years since Windfall Oil and Gas first floated a plan to drill a shale wastewater injection well near Dubois, in Brady Township (Clearfield County), PA. After all that time, the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) finally approved the project in March of this year (see PA DEP Approves Wastewater Injection Well in Clearfield Count). Residents who live near the proposed injection well have opposed the plan from the beginning. The Clearfield County Board of Commissioners is also opposed. In April, several residents filed an appeal of the DEP decision to approve the project to the Environmental Hearing Board, a special court set up to hear appeals of DEP decisions (see Clearfield County, PA Residents to Appeal Injection Well Approval). The appeal may take up to two years. In the meantime, the well is likely to get built anyway. Recognizing the well is coming, Clearfield Commissioners held a public hearing yesterday to strategize how they might still block the project, and barring that, how they will live with it if the project becomes reality…
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