Jul 02, 2019

Ohio County to Inject Industrial Waste Fluids in OIl Drilling Wells

Ohio EPA grants permission to inject fluids into oilfield wells for waste management

Ohio EPA grants permission to inject fluids of oilfield brine into oil drilling wells for waste management

EDITOR'S NOTE:This article originally had an image of a water well as its photo. It has been changed to correctly reflect the content of the article, which also has been adjusted for clarity. WWD regrets the error. 

Ohio U.S. EPA granted permission to Buckeye Brine, a Coshocton County company, to inject industrial waste fluids in its oil drilling wells for waste management. According to The Columbus Dispatch, Buckeye Brine’s waste management strategy included injecting oilfield brine into its oil wells. However, for several years, the company has aimed to inject nonhazardous industrial waste fluids into those oil wells instead for better waste management. This announcement is the first time operators of Class II injection wells have received permission to operate as Class I injection wells. 

According to The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio EPA approval will include increased monitoring. The process will not be quick because requirements need to be met before the industrial waste injections can begin. 

“The company is pleased with the permitting decision and is looking forward to starting operations,” said Steve Mobley, Buckeye Brine president in an email statement, according to the Dispatch. “We’ll quickly make a valuable contribution to Ohio’s surface water quality, including upriver from Coshocton. The permits granted today are technically and legally sound, and we expect to begin operations after completing a list of preliminary requirements, which should take about three months.”

Buckeye Brine officials also said they have been pumping oilfield fluids—industrial waste produced as a result of fracking—into rock formations deep underground for years without incident, whereas this injection would be part of the company's waste management strategy, according to the Dispatch.

Opponents can appeal the permits. Coshocton Environmental and Community Awareness voiced opposition to the waste management change by posting signs near the facility. Group members plan to talk about the next step following the Ohio EPA decision Tuesday, June 25, member Nick Teti said.

“Right now, nothing’s off the table,” Teti told the Dispatch. “We haven’t really made any decisions yet... We know that this fight isn’t over for us.”

According to the Dispatch, two of Buckeye Brine’s oil drilling wells could accept nonhazardous industrial waste fluids from operators, manufacturers, food processors, power plants, wastewater treatment plants and others, assuming they have a permit for that kind of industrial waste injection.