Plum Injection Well Back On – Boro Ends Legal Fight

In April of this year, MDN told you that the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) had finally, after more than two years of evaluation, granted a permit to build a shale wastewater injection well in Plum Boro in Allegheny County (see Miracle! PA DEP Approves Plum (Pittsburgh) Injection Well Permit). The Boro’s mayor and other Boro officials are opposed and have tried their best to stop the project. However, they’ve just thrown in the towel and have admitted the well is going to get built.
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WV Marcellus/Utica Waste Processor SECUR Files for Bankruptcy

SECUR O&G, LLC is headquartered in Sewickley, PA, but its main operation, a Marcellus/Utica waste processing center, is located in the Bens Run Industrial Park in Friendly (Tyler County), WV. SECUR processes both liquid and solid drilling waste and handles TENORM (technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material) at its Bens Run facility. Last Friday SECUR filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of WV.
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Barging Shale Wastewater on Ohio River Back on the Radar

In a piece of stellar investigative journalism and reporting, MDN friend Bob Downing (at Kallanish Energy) has broken a story that barging Marcellus and Utica Shale wastewater (brine) on the Ohio River is once again under active consideration. Downing discovered applications recently filed with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build three barge terminals in Ohio, all of them located near injection wells to handle barged shale wastewater.
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Plum, PA Injection Well Questionable Even with Final Permit

Yesterday MDN told you that miracle of miracles, the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) has finally, after more than two years of evaluation, granted a permit to build a wastewater injection well in Plum Boro in Allegheny County, near Pittsburgh (see Miracle! PA DEP Approves Plum (Pittsburgh) Injection Well Permit). Penneco Environmental Solutions, the company that received the permit, now says with the collapse of oil prices and Marcellus/Utica production being questionable, “all bets are off” with respect to the injection well project.
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Miracle! PA DEP Approves Plum (Pittsburgh) Injection Well Permit

In early 2018, the federal EPA approved a new Marcellus wastewater injection well for the Pittsburgh suburb of Plum Boro (see Federal EPA Approves Permit for Plum, PA Wastewater Injection Well). The PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) also needs to approve it. They held a public hearing in October 2018 to elicit input, a hearing where every single person who spoke was against the project (see Plum Injection Well Hearing Draws Solid Opposition). Following that hearing a lawsuit challenging the project was filed in March 2019 (see Court Challenge to Plum Zoning Against Injection Well Proceeds). Now, more than two years after the federal EPA approved it, the PA DEP has also given its blessing. It’s a miracle!
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PA DEP Revising Regs for Recycled Wastewater Use in Fracking

The PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) published a notice in Saturday’s Pennsylvania Bulletin that the agency is proposing changes to the Residual Waste General Permit WMGR123, which governs the processing, transfer and beneficial use of oil and gas liquid waste to develop or frack an oil and gas well. Some of the changes include defining certain terms, including “processing,” “transfer,” and “storage”; changing the application from a registration to a determination of applicability; revising sampling and analysis requirements; and revising the frequency of inspections.
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Pitt Researchers Remove Radioactivity from Marcellus Wastewater

We spotted a new scientific study published in an upcoming edition of the journal Water Research. The study is called: “Sulfate precipitation in produced water from Marcellus Shale for the control of naturally occurring radioactive material.” Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh have found a way to strip out radioactivity from produced water coming from Marcellus wells so the water can be boiled to produce clean water and usable minerals/salts.
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Hearing Delayed for 2 New Injection Wells in Belmont County, OH

Last year MDN told you about New Jersey-based Omni Energy Group and their application to build two new injection wells in Belmont County, OH near St. Clairsville (see Belmont County Injection Well Plan Stirs Opposition from Coal Co.). The proposal set off a firestorm of opposition, including opposition from Robert Murray and the Murray Energy Corporation–a coal miner who doesn’t like fair competition from natural gas. The Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) was going to hold a virtual public meeting last Friday on Omni’s proposal–virtual because of the coronavirus. But at the last minute enemies of the injection well project, including Murray, convinced a Belmont County judge to put a temporary restraining order on the virtual meeting.
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Earthworks Accuses PA DEP of Ignoring Complaints Due to COVID-19

The radical organization Earthworks has been exposed for making a false accusation against the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP), claiming the DEP ignored complaints of potential environmental violations in the shale patch due to distractions over the coronavirus pandemic. Earthworks claimed a frack wastewater treatment plant in Potter County is leaking onto the ground. DEP said it did investigate and no, there is no leak.
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PA DEP Caves to Radicals, Revokes PGE Injection Well Permit

This is truly disappointing. A few weeks ago we told you that Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled a long-running lawsuit involving Grant Township (Indiana County, PA) will continue on through the court system (see Grant Lawsuit Using ERA Threatens PA Injection Wells & Fracking). Grant, a town that passed an ordinance cooked up by the extreme radical Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) to try and block a state-approved injection well, is attempting to use the state’s so-called Environmental Rights Act to justify its illegal ordinance. The court gave its blessing to that effort. And because the court is sending the signal it’s OK to invoke the ERA to justify just about anything, the state Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) is now going along by revoking a permit issued to Pennsylvania General Energy (PGE) to build an injection well in Grant.
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Grant Lawsuit Using ERA Threatens PA Injection Wells & Fracking

In a disappointing decision, Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court recently ruled a long-running lawsuit filed against Grant Township (Indiana County, PA) will continue on through the court system. For the past several years we’ve reported on the case of Grant Township, a town that passed an ordinance cooked up by the radical Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) to try and block a state-approved injection well. Part of the ordinance was tossed. However, Commonwealth Court has decided the town can continue to try and make a case that it should be able to override state law with its home-cooked regulations because by doing so they will somehow protect citizens’ health, which the town says is allowed under PA’s poorly-written Environmental Rights Amendment (ERA).
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Shale Water Management in the M-U, Coming to Pittsburgh Mar 24-25

Water is the lifeblood of shale drilling. Water must get to the pad for use in drilling and fracking. But then, after the drilling is done and the well is connected, produced water continues to flow from the borehole for years to come. All that water must be managed. In the early days of Marcellus/Utica drilling every spare gallon of produced water got recycled for reuse drilling the next well. With a slowdown in new M-U drilling, produced water is piling up. What can be done to manage it? The 10th Annual Cost-Effective Shale Water Management Marcellus and Utica 2020 event, coming March 24-25 in Pittsburgh, has the answers.
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Company Asks to Build 2 New Injection Wells in Belmont County, OH

Kirkwood Twp, Belmont County, OH

Tri-State Environmental has filed for permits to build two new brine (i.e. shale wastewater) injection wells in Kirkwood Township, Belmont County, Ohio. Meanwhile, another new injection well planned for Belmont (Omni Energy), which we told you about last summer (see Belmont County Injection Well Plan Stirs Opposition from Coal Co.), continues to make progress.
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Studies Show How Much Shale Wastewater Produced, Recycled in M-U

University of Texas at Austin researchers have just published two new wastewater studies in two different peer-reviewed journals. One study quantifies, for the first time, how much water is produced from oil and natural gas operations in major shale plays (including the Marcellus) compared with how much is needed for fracking. In some plays, there is so much water coming out of the ground from oil and gas wells (after fracking, called produced water) that the volume coming out is more than enough to drill and frack all of the new wells in those plays. No freshwater sources required. In the Marcellus, we use more water than could be provided by recycling produced water from our wells. The second study looks at the potential for using produced water in other sectors, like agriculture, for those plays where there is an abundance of extra produced water.
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Range Recycles ALL its Wastewater + Water from 14 Other Drillers

A number of Marcellus/Utica drillers recycle most, if not all of, the flowback and produced water from the wells they drill. Produced water (from the depths) continues to pour out of wells for years after they’re drilled. Produced water is super salty, filled with minerals. If a driller can’t reuse the water, they must dispose of it–typically via an injection well (in Ohio). Range Resources not only recycles all of its own produced water but also accepts and reuses produced water from 14 other drillers!
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