Ohio Regulators Close Wells After Minor Earthquakes

Jan. 4, 2012

Closures could spark political debate over wells used for hydraulic fracturing

Ohio is the latest state to close injection wells used to dispose of wastewater after the state experienced several minor earthquakes near Youngstown last weekend, according to an article by Daniel Gilbert for the Wall Street Journal.

The wells accommodate a growing amount of wastewater left over from hydraulic fracturing, and the decision to close the wells could spark political debate about the practice.

Ohio regulators ordered the closure of the Youngstown well, D&L Energy Inc., to stop injecting wastewater after the state was hit with a 2.7-magnitute earthquake on Dec. 24. When a 4.0-magnitude earthquake struck again that evening, the state declared a moratorium on all injections within a five-mile radius of the well.

Northeast Ohio has no known history of seismic activity, and 2011 was the first year that a majority of the waste injected underground was from out of state. The natural-gas industry, however, has no evidence these activities are causing earthquakes.

Source: Wall Street Journal