WARREN, Ohio (WYTV) – Growing concerns over the number of brine injection wells in Trumbull County sparked a community meeting in Warren on Wednesday.
It was a packed house in the Commissioners hearing room for the first of two public meetings on oil and gas drilling, which were organized by the Trumbull County Engineer’s Office.
“What we could do to protect the roads. That is our job, to protect the roads and bridges, but then again, we are getting a lot of water from out of state,” said Jack Simon, RUMA coordinator for the Trumbull County Engineer’s Office.
Trumbull County has the most injection wells in the state, with 17. That is more than the entire state of Pennsylvania.
According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Trumbull County leads the state in accepting waste to be injected into their wells. About 2.3 million barrels were dumped in 2013 and 16 million in the first three quarters of 2014. Almost half of that came from Pennsylvania, the ODNR said.
According to a presentation given at Wednesday’s meeting, Class II disposal wells are used to inject brine, associated with the extraction of oil and natural gas, deep underground. More than 144,000 Class II wells are in operation in the United States and inject more than 2 billion gallons of brine every day.
A lawyer familiar with oil and gas law, Atty. Thomas Carey, spoke about homeowners’ rights. Valid objections are the only thing looked at by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources when they issue a permit and most refusals are done for safety issues.
Mary Swift of Vienna said she is concerned about truck traffic in the area of Mathews School.
“Local control is not there for our community. It is not even there on a county level. So now I am wondering what is next for us? Where do we look for answers,” Swift said.
Many people at the meeting said they are worried about water contamination and earthquakes. David Hill, who is not only the president of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, but also owns both injection and oil and gas wells, said he hears the same concerns all over the state.
“Many of those people that had those concerns, we gave them the information and probably what they are going to do is go onto the Internet and research it and see if that guy is right. But we planted the seed and now they have some good information to work off of,” Hill said.
A letter sent to Trumbull County Engineer Randy Smith from Miami University of Ohio seismology professor Dr. Mike Brudzinski on Monday said a 2.0-magnitude earthquake near the American Water Management Services injection well in Weathersfield was caused by fracking.
A second public meeting is set for Thursday at 6 p.m. at the commissioners hearing room.