Response to reader’s comment/question about the injection well on the east side of Fort Worth.
This is from an article, City has sharp eye on water disposal, by Star-Telegram’s Mike Lee, the only reporter I’ve seen who is presenting some of the negatives of drilling. You can access that article in a doc file by clicking on the title here.
Chesapeake Energy got its permit from the state Railroad Commission before the moratorium. Even with the permit, city ordinances allow Chesapeake to dispose only waste from wells on the same lease, which is near East First Street and Oakland Boulevard.
“If they start bringing saltwater in from other wells, we shut them down,” City Environmental Director Brian Boerner said.
Boerner wants regulation requiring operators to recycle the waste water and he should be commended for this. The technology exists to recycle the water using reverse osmosis but operators don’t want the added expense and bother. The amount of water they are using and polluting is not sustainable.
Boerner realized the danger in injection wells despite industry claims that there is little danger.
Julie Wilson, a Chesapeake spokeswoman, said “those fears are largely unfounded” if the wells are properly managed
Once the well is operational, residents have no rights to monitor the operation and must remain vigilant to protect themselves.
Here are pictures of an injection well near me.
They call these wells saltwater disposal wells and refer to the “water” that goes into these well. Saltwater may sound relatively harmless but remember that we can’t drink saltwater so just a little can ruin our drinking water. However, it’s deceptive to refer to production waste water as saltwater. It’s drilling waste and drilling waste is what it should be called. I don’t think saltwater ever catches fire.
Please look at this Form W-14 that is filed with an injection well permit and notice the dangerous, toxic chemicals permitted for disposal down an injection well.
When I posted this on my blog previously, Stop The Lies: Read This Injection Well Permit, operators and their lawyers were all over my little blog. They don’t want you to have this information and you won’t find it on the Barnett Shale Energy
Education EdUkAsHuN Council website.
Injection well failure is not a rare occurrence and when it does happen the offending operators are either not fined or the fine is very low.
From Mike Lee’s article:
The Railroad Commission has documented a series of incidents involving injection wells in North Texas over the past few years, including:
In 2004, inspectors found a 30-foot by 80-foot pit of oil and production water at an injection well site in Parker County. “Usable groundwater in the area is likely to be contaminated by migrations or discharges of saltwater and other oil and gas wastes from the subject well,” the order says.
In 2005, a well accident forced saltwater to bubble out of the ground near Chico, in Wise County. No fines were issued.
In 2006, the Railroad Commission fined another Wise County injection well operator $4,000. Investigators said the operator dumped water from a firefighting operation and “25 barrels of an unknown chemical” into an injection well.
In January, the Railroad Commission shut down an injection well near Boyd after high pressure was detected in four natural gas wells nearby, an indication that the well could be leaking underground, a commission spokeswoman said.
Recently a waster hauler was caught dumping hazardous waste in a Panola County injection well. The driver admitted to repeated offenses over the years. Rather than fining the company and cleaning up the site, the permit was changed to permit hazardous waste in a class II well! Feeling safer?
Remember that the oil and gas industry is exempt from the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts (thanks to George Bush and Dick Cheney) so we have no authority to monitor what goes into those wells. No one tests the waste before it is injected. No one watches. This happens more often than we know.
Ways we can protect ourselves:
- Demand legislation to remove the exemptions from the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts.
- Demand industry regulation.
- Demand an investigation into Texas Railroad Commission Malpractice.
- Demand legislation requiring operators to recycle production water.
- Don’t forget that there is a political solution. Check the way your elected officials vote. HINT: Kay Granger received a score of ZERO for environmentally friendly votes and her office has not yet responded to my request for proof that she has ever voted for environmental protection. Granger is dancing with the ones who
broughtBOUGHT her (She is dancing to the tune of $473,307 from the oil and gas industry.)
Yesterday I visited the injection well near me to see if there have been any improvements since the violations were reported. While I was there, a truck came and dumped it’s toxic contents into the well. The well is still out of compliance as it has been for YEARS, and I’ll be posting pictures soon.