Ohio is becoming the dumping ground for toxic out-of-state fracking wastewater. Meanwhile, there are mounting concerns about the Class II injection wells that are taking this waste.

Call or email the following officials to alert them to the ProPublica study discussed below. Demand a moratorium on Class II injection wells until an independent, scientific environmental impact study is conducted.

ODNR Director, James Zehringer: James Zehringer; 614.265.6879
Chief of Ohio Division of Oil and Gas, Rick Simmers: Rick Simmers; 614.265.6608
Head of Ohio’s Injection Well Program, Tom Tomastic: Tom Tomastic; 614.265.1032

A ProPublica review of well records, case histories and government summaries of more than 220,000 well inspections found that structural failures inside injection wells are routine. From late 2007 to late 2010, one well integrity violation was issued for every six deep injection wells examined — more than 17,000 violations nationally. More than 7,000 wells showed signs that their walls were leaking. EPA data shows that in the three years analyzed by ProPublica, more than 7,500 well test failures involved what federal water protection regulations describe as "fluid migration" and "significant leaks." According to data provided by states to the EPA, deep well operators have been caught exceeding injection pressure limits more than 1,100 times since 2008.

Oil and gas wastewater, or “brine,” is highly toxic and typically contains dangerous heavy metals and radioactive elements like strontium and radium. For example, samples of brine from the Marcellus Shale analyzed by the State of New York were reported to contain levels of highly radioactive radium 226, a derivative of uranium, as high as 267 times the safe disposal limit and thousands of times the safe drinking limit. In Ohio, brine is not tested for contaminant levels before being injected into Class II wells, nor before it is sprayed on public roadways for dust and ice control – a common practice in Ohio. Contrary to popular understanding, Class II injection wells are not contained or closed systems. Brine is injected directly into porous geologic formations where it may, in the long-run, spread to drinking water supplies.

Read the eye-opening ProPublica article, “Injection Wells: The Poison Beneath Us,” if you haven’t yet done so.


Check out the excellent letter to the Marietta Times written by Paul Tescher, longtime BFC member and volunteer.

Marietta Times