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Environment


Portage County named No. 1 in Ohio for fracking waste wells
Waste went up from 2011 to 2012, but is down so far this year
Story by LYNDSEY SCHLEY


 
Fracking wells, such as this one in Carroll County, produce waste water which is often disposed using injection wells.
Courtesy of Tim Ruddel
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Ohio is continuing to debate where to put the millions of barrels of waste fluids that come from oil and gas fracking.

State reports show Ohio injected nearly 20 percent more waste into deep wells in 2012 than 2011. And Portage County accepted more of the waste than any other county in the state.

Melanie Houston of the Ohio Environmental Council says most of the waste is coming from other states and the wells could cause earthquakes or leaks.

LISTEN: HOUSTON ON WELLS

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“There’s a study, a report I believe, that is cited by the Center for Health, Environment and Justice that one out of every six wells will have some integrity problems, some contamination issues," Houston says. "So this is a real safety concern for Ohio citizens and Ohio environmental organization such as ours.”

But Mark Bruce of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources says Ohio’s injection-well program includes some of the strongest regulations in the country. He says the wells are inspected every three months and have a 30-year history of safety.

LISTEN: BRUCE ON WELLS

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(0:16)


“The Department of Natural Resources is watching the industry, is regulating the industry and doing everything within our power to make sure that people are protected, that people are healthy, that their groundwater is safe and that the environment is being protected as well,” Bruce says.

Bruce also says use of injection wells is down so far this year, due to decreased drilling in Pennsylvania and increased recycling of drilling fluids.

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