The federal Environmental Protection Agency has approved an application by Seneca Resources to operate a deep injection disposal well in Elk County.
The oil and gas industry uses these deep injection wells to dispose of wastewater, which has a high salt content, as well as chemicals, heavy metals, and naturally occurring radioactive material.
The EPA has permitted 30,000 Class II injection wells for drilling brine and wastewater disposal nationally — about a third of those in Texas — but the Seneca disposal well is just the ninth such well approved in Pennsylvania.
[Karen Johnson, chief of the EPA Region III groundwater and enforcement branch]
said more are in the offing for the state, including three more new disposal wells that could receive federal permits as early as this summer.
“We continue to have frequent meetings with [gas well] operators and a number of additional permits are under review,” she said. “Independent companies and big operators are all saying they are going to need more capacity for disposal.”