Environmental Regulators to Meet With Residents Over Proposed Deep Injection Well

  • Susan Phillips

Susan Phillips / StateImpact Pennsylvania

This former gas well in Warren County was permitted by the EPA to be converted to a disposal well. Local residents are fighting it.

Officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the federal Environmental Protection Agency, have agreed to answer questions from residents on a proposed deep injection well near the Tamarack Swamp, in Warren County. The wells would take drilling waste, and dispose of it deep within the earth. The DEP announced the public meeting for next week, December 12, in Columbus Township:

“The two proposed wells in Columbus Township would be authorized to inject fluids produced in association with oil- and gas-production activities. These fluids may be made up mostly of fresh water or could contain elevated levels of chlorides called “brine.”
The fluids would be pumped back into geologic formations that are able to handle such fluids. There is no discharge from a UIC well onto the land surface or into nearby surface waterways.”

The EPA has already approved the applications for the deep injection wells. But some residents, and those who use the area to hunt, fish and trap, challenged the permit. StateImpact wrote about their challenge earlier this year. Leading the charge against the injection well is hunter and angler Bill Peiffer.
“I mean it’s like handing a couple little kindergarteners a gallon of gasoline and a bunch of matches; you know something bad is going to happen,” Peiffer told StateImpact.
He’s worried that nearby abandoned wells could serve as conduits, and send the frack water into the swamp. He’s also concerned about surface spills.
In July, the federal Environmental Appeals Board agreed with Peiffer on one appeal issue, and told EPA Region 3 to revisit an assessment of the area’s drinking water wells.

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