Pro Publica (propublica.org), an online investigative journalist organization, recently published a piece called, "Injection Wells: The Poison Beneath Us." It's an indepth examination of these wells and concludes that injection wells are not all that safe.
The main concern is that these injected fluids migrate laterally and vertically through cracks in the rock deep in the earth and can seep into aquifers. These class 2 injection wells are not designed to handle toxic material. They are mostly old gas wells. Yet the ODNR says they're safe.
There have been innumerable claims of safety by government, which have subsequently proved to be quite the opposite. Once, I saw an ad from the '50s, touting Kent cigarette's "New Miracle Asbestos Filters."
Benzene is just one of many toxic chemicals contained in fracking waste fluids. Benzene is a known carcinogen. In 1988, the EPA, under Reagan, handed the oil and gas industry an exception describing benzene derived from that industry as "Non Hazardous," while stating that benzene from the fertilizer industry is hazardous to health and underground water supplies.
Officials in Pennsylvania analyzed fracking water taken from 37 different samples '09 to '11 and found that radium levels were 240 times beyond what's considered safe by the EPA. See the Columbus Dispatch piece from Sept. 3, "Fracking Brine/Gas Well Waste Full of Radium."
Stark County Concerned Citizens, an anti-fracking group, asked Ohio regulators why radioactive materials such as radium weren't identified or disclosed when injected into class 2 wells. Tom Tomastic, a geologist for the ODNR and a "nationally recognized expert on injection wells" said, "The law allows it. It doesn't matter what is in it. As long as it comes from the oil and gas field it can be injected."* quoted from the Pro Publica Lax Rules for Driller piece.
Of the 12.2 million barrels (40 gallons each) of "brine" injected into Ohio disposal wells last year, 53 percent came from Pennsylvania and West Virginia, which don't allow injection wells.
Many laws are legislated to protect citizens; stop lights, for example. Here's a law that "green lights" an extractive industry while placing citizens in jeopardy. Does it seem there's something awry here?
Pro Publica was just awarded its 2nd certificate of excellence in journalism. It released a further study on injection wells last week, called "Lax Rules for Drillers Who Inject Pollutants into the Earth." This and the one mentioned above are very well written and pretty lengthly. I encourage everyone reading this to educate yourselves on this crucial issue by reading both of these articles.