Pennsylvania

Energy. Environment. Economy.

New Deep Injection Wells Planned for Elk and Clearfield Counties

Susan Phillips / StateImpact Pennsylvania

A stick marks the spot for a planned frack water disposal site in Brady Township, Clearfield County.

The Environmental Protection Agency has issued draft permits for fracking wastewater disposal wells in both Elk and Clearfield counties. The state has only five permitted and operating underground injection disposal wells that take wastewater from oil and gas production.  The EPA has issued final permits for two injection wells in Warren County, but they’re under appeal by residents. With the Marcellus Shale drilling boom, the gas industry needs more options to dispose of their waste water. But plans for the wells in Warren, and Clearfield counties have met substantial opposition from residents.

Seneca Resources has also applied to construct a well in Highland Township, Elk County. 

Neighborhood residents in Brady Township, Clearfield County, where the proposed well would be constructed, have organized to oppose the well, which would be operated by Windfall Oil and Gas, a company located in Falls Creek. It will sit on a piece of property that borders the home of Rick and Marianne Atkinson. The Atkinsons worry the well will bring additional traffic to a quiet neighborhood, and pollute their ground water.

To read the draft permit and related documents, continue to the end of this article.

Rick Atkinson told StateImpact there may not be anything he can do to stop the well from getting built in his neighborhood. But he says a recent incident at a nearby underground injection well makes him nervous. The well, operated by Exco Resources developed a leak and the company didn’t inform the EPA for several months. The EPA temporarily shut down the operation, known as the Irvin well, and fined the Exco Resources.

“It may not pollute our water if everything works according to design,” said Rick Atkinson.  ”When you listen to them talk it sounds like they have it all figured out. But after that Irving well had the failure, they basically did three things, they exceded injection pressure, created a leak, and they didn’t notify the EPA, and they kept injecting. That’s a little worrisome because before that happened I thought the EPA had it pretty well regulated.”

The Atkinsons say they have had certified water tests done, at a cost of $500 dollars. But they wonder how often they need to spend that money in order to make sure their water is safe to drink.

The EPA has opened up the Brady Township and the Highland Township permits to public comment and plans to hold public hearings.

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