Ohio State House Reps. Bob Hagan and Denise Driehaus introduced HB 148 in April 2013 to ban Class II injection wells, which have been used to store the toxic, radioactive wastewater from fracking. We are in support of this bill; we cannot just assume that we can dump fracking waste into injection wells and that it would take care of the problem of dealing with the waste.
In 2011, the use of a Class II injection well caused earthquakes in Youngstown. ODNR reported on this in a March 2012 report, “Preliminary Report on the Northstar 1 Class II Injection Well and the Seismic Events in the Youngstown, Ohio, Area.”
Not only are such injection wells a concern because of earthquakes, but there are many other reasons:
- Transport of such material to the wells is a cause for concern lest there be spills into the environment.
- Transport is not only a concern for spills, but also for trucker safety. Best to minimize risk to exposure to radiation. Fracking wastewater has been found to be 3609 times more radioactive than the federal limit for drinking water and 300 times more radioactive than NRC limits for nuclear plant discharges.
- Ohio has been accepting frack waste from out of state, an unfair situation for the health of the environment and people in the State of Ohio.
- There might be the possibility of frack waste migration into groundwater (and drinking water) out of such injection wells, a health and liability concern.
We of course do not wish for frack waste to be generated at all–there are so many risks associated with the practice. It is best to have a wide safety margin and do things correctly, which means focusing on renewable energy development from wind and solar. We cannot frack solely with the thought that it would help the economy in the short run because it would not help in the long run, and our health and the health of our environment is not something to be disposed of for short term gain economically.
For your reference, here are some articles and reports that affirm the concerns:
July 2013: “Worker Killed in Bridgeport Tanker Truck Explosion” (Texas)
January 2013: “Under the radar: Fracking wastewater radioactive” (About a man who suffered radiation sickness from trucking fracking waste)
September 2011: “Radium Content of Oil- and Gas-Field Produced Waters in the Northern Appalachian Basin (USA): Summary and Discussion of Data” (About the radioactivity of fracking wastewater)
June 2012: “Injection Wells: The Poison Beneath Us” (structural failures inside injection wells have been routine, which could cause migration into water supplies)