While you were sleeping there was a 3.1M earthquake in North Texas very near Burleson, which is not far from Fort Worth.
I’ll try to pull a map off the Texas Railroad Commission of the wells in that area and update.
What a mess!
Let me add that Arkansas and Oklahoma have experienced quite a few quakes in the past two weeks. None were over 3.0M but in area where homes are not built to earthquake codes there will be foundation damage from even small quakes. In Texas you can’t get earthquake insurance so be sure to save up some of that royalty money to repair your foundation.
About Sharon Wilson
Sharon Wilson is considered a leading citizen expert on the impacts of shale oil and gas extraction. She is the go-to person whether it’s top EPA officials from D.C., national and international news networks, or residents facing the shock of eminent domain and the devastating environmental effects of natural gas development in their backyards.
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Surf n' Perf says
My biggest fear is that I might disappear one day into a giant sinkhole…. Won’t they appear along with the quakes?
kim Feil says
I see that Arlington is entertaining join other cities to study if the water deparments are screening for the right things now that fracking is here. They are also looking to “Evaluate the ability of treatment facilities to address flowback and produced waters.” Does this mean that if injection wells are oulawed due to seismic activity that plan B is to treat it?
Makes sense that Arlington would be A-OK with experimenting with water treatment of drilling and fracking waste. Sounds reasonable based on that other experiment with building out the entire city with gas wells.
Andy Mechling says
I think you raise a vital question. What IS plan “B”?
We have seen some jurisdictions ban fracking outright in recent months, all over the globe, and surely we will see more of this. By the same token, it seems highly unlikely that hydraulic fracturing will be completely outlawed by EPA or that the widespread use of this process, in some form, will be discontinued any time soon in this country.
Kim, I mention this because I think it is probably more realistic to expect EPA to ban hydraulic fracturing, than to make any kind of move to discontinue – or even slow down – the UIC well program at this point.
If EPA were to even hint that they were now going to reconsider their current position on Class II injection wells, for example, Industry would raise holy hell. Rick Perry would probably threaten to succeed again. It simply isn’t going to happen anytime soon.
I am not saying I think this is a good thing. I’m saying that the oil and gas industry is very much committed to the overall notion of disposing of their very nastiest wastes in these deep injection wells, and that EPA has been right there quietly encouraging them to do exactly this for the past few decades.
Now that flaring acid gas is not OK, and if venting acid gas is not OK; injection wells are often presented as the only other realistic disposal option for these exceedingly hazardous waste streams.
Personally, I really don’t have any idea as to what large-scale treatment of these waste streams might look like, if flaring and venting and subsurface injection of the most toxic components are not allowed.
But I think you are right on the money for asking this question, as I really don’t think most folks are aware of the sheer volumes of the waste streams involved. According to EPA;
“In the 30 years of the SDWA Class II injection wells have injected 30 trillion gallons of brine. Which would fill enough 55 gallon oil drums to stretch from Earth to Mars 10 times.”
And now it’s not just the brine mixtures, and it’s not just the fracking fluids, and its not just the produced waters. Now we are seeing permits for injection of highly concentrated acid gas streams as well, and these are also being permitted as Class II wells, at least in Texas.
Is there a plan B? Are there any realistic treatment options? Are there any unrealistic wild-eyed crazy-ass ideas? It seems like somebody out there ought to be thinking and talking about contingency plans at this point, and include the general public in those discussions.
Somebody besides Kim and me, I mean.