Tag Archives: fracking brine

Ohio gas driller indicted, accused of dumping fracking waste into river

By James F. McCarty, February 28, 2013. Source: Cleveland.com

Benedict Lupo is the owner of Hardrock Excavating and D&L Energy, which operates numerous fracking wells in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. Photo: AP

Benedict Lupo is the owner of Hardrock Excavating and D&L Energy, which operates numerous fracking wells in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. Photo: AP

A federal grand jury returned an indictment against the owner of an oil and gas drilling company on Thursday, charging him with violating the Clean Water Act by dumping more than 20,000 gallons of fracking waste into a river in Youngstown.

In addition to the charges against Benedict Lupo, 62, of Poland, Ohio, the grand jury also returned Clean Water Act indictments against Lupo’s company, Hardrock Excavating, and an employee of the company, Michael Guesman, 34, of Cortland.

Guesman previously told federal agents that on Jan. 31 he dumped a toxic stew of drilling mud containing salt-water, crude oil and several hazardous pollutants, including benzene and toluene, into a storm drain that emptied into a tributary of the Mahoning River, according to a court document. The employee said he was acting on Lupo’s orders.
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Filed under Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Hydrofracking, Oil, Pollution, Waste, Water

Pennsylvania drilling wastes might overwhelm Ohio injection wells

Note: The conclusion of the article below – that industry just needs to learn how to better treat fracking wastewater – misses the point.  We don’t need to accept that boosting domestic energy production will create environmental costs; instead, we must accept that a drastic reduction in consumption of energy in the US (and globally) is needed.  Shipping wastewater to the Gulf Coast will put communities at risk in a region where environmental racism runs rampant.  The only solution to avoid water contamination is to stop fracking, and keep all remaining gas reserves in the ground.

-The GJEP Team

By Bob Downing, January 22, 2013.  Source: Akron Beacon Journal

Photo: Mladen Antonov  /  AFP - Getty Images

Photo: Mladen Antonov / AFP – Getty Images

The volume of drilling wastes from Pennsylvania’s Marcellus shale is growing and threatening to overwhelm existing waste-handling infrastructure in Ohio and other states, according to a study released Tuesday.

Ohio’s 179 injection wells for disposing of briny waste might not be sufficient for the Pennsylvania waste, plus wastes from Ohio’s developing Utica shale, said Brian Lutz, assistant professor of biogeochemistry at Kent State University, who led the analysis while he was a postdoctoral research associate at Duke University.

The volume of Marcellus wastewater has grown 570 percent from 2004 to 2011 due to increased shale gas production in Pennsylvania, Lutz said.

“The overall volume of water that now has to be transported and treated is immense,” he said. “It threatens to overwhelm the region’s wastewater-disposal infrastructure capacity.”
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Filed under Climate Change, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Hydrofracking, Waste, Water

Ohio: Fracking brine gas-well waste full of radium

Spencer Hunt, September 3, 2012. Source: The Columbus Dispatch

Photo: Inhabitat

Study suggests water trucked to Ohio from Pa. might be radioactive

Millions of barrels of wastewater trucked into Ohio from shale-gas wells in Pennsylvania might be highly radioactive, according to a government study.

Radium in one sample of Marcellus shale wastewater, also called brine, that Pennsylvania officials collected in 2009 was 3,609 times more radioactive than a federal safety limit for drinking water. It was 300 times higher than a Nuclear Regulatory Commission limit for industrial discharges to water.

The December 2011 study, compiled by the U.S. Geological Survey, also found that the median levels of radium in brine from Marcellus shale wells was more than three times higher than brine collected from conventional oil and gas wells.

“These are very, very high concentrations of radium compared to other oil and gas brines,” said Mark Engle, a U.S. Geological Survey research geologist and co-author of the report.

State law bans radioactive shale-well sand and sludge from Ohio landfills. However, brine can be sent down any of Ohio’s 171 active disposal wells regardless of how much radium it contains. Michael Snee, the Ohio Department of Health’s radiation-protection chief, said that’s the safest place for brine.“Injection wells are almost the perfect solution for that disposal issue,” Snee said.

However, environmental advocates say the Geological Survey’s report intensifies their fears of surface spills and leaks to groundwater.

“It’s an alarm bell in the night that we better get serious about testing the material in the Utica shale right here in Ohio,” said Jack Shaner, an Ohio Environmental Council lobbyist.

Shaner and others said the study shows that state officials should look at what’s bubbling out of Ohio’s shale wells.

Radiation is yet another wrinkle in the ongoing debate over “fracking,” a process that sends millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals down wells to shatter shale and free trapped oil and gas. Thousands of Marcellus shale wells have been drilled in Pennsylvania. Of the 12.2 million barrels of brine injected into Ohio disposal wells last year, 53 percent came from Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Continue reading

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Filed under Climate Change, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Hydrofracking