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States Don't Want to Be Dumping Ground for Fracking Fluids

Ohio has become 'dumping ground for contaminated brine'

Common Dreams staff

More environmental concerns have arisen lately in relation to hydraulic fracking. Millions of gallons of toxic wastewater have been produced by the noxious procedure, creating problems of wastewater management. Where to dump this unwanted substance?  Ohio lawmakers have recently raised concerns about the proliferating amount of wastewater that is sent to Ohio 'disposal wells', which are then filled with excess fracking liquid from around the country.

Ohio has fewer fracking wells than most US states but receives the most fracking waste from high volume states such as Pennsylvania and Texas. This import of wastewater has increased steadily as Ohio approved 29 permits for wells last year compared to four per year for the past 20 years.

Given the alarming rate of earthquakes in Ohio in the past year, and an increasing awareness of the hazards of fracking, many are now attempting to curb the import of this wastewater.

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Bloomberg reports:

Ohio Tries to Escape Fate as a Dumping Ground for Fracking Fluid

...The oil and natural-gas drilling boom spurred more permits for disposal wells [in Ohio] during the past two years than during the previous decade combined. The volume injected into them was on a near-record pace last year, according to the Department of Natural Resources, and more than half was from out of state. That included 92.6 percent of the water sent to a Youngstown well closed last year after 11 nearby earthquakes.

“We have become in Ohio the dumping ground for contaminated brine,” state Representative Armond Budish, the House Democratic leader, said at a Jan. 26 forum in Columbus. “We didn’t prepare adequately for the potential for earthquakes and other environmental problems.”

Now, Ohio is considering tightening regulations governing wells in response to the temblors and seeking to stem out-of-state fluid shipments. It’s an example of the challenges U.S. states face as they try to enjoy hydraulic fracturing’s economic boost while avoiding its side effects. [...]

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