Friday, August 12, 2016

Three Fracking Waste Injection Wells in Mahoning Valley, Ohio: Shut Them Down Immediately! (August 12, 2016)

Frackfree Mahoning Valley                                             News Release
For Immediate Release:  August 11, 2016
Contact: Jane Spies:  Phone: 330-619-0730 or 234-201-0402 or email:
Frackfree Mahoning Valley (FMV) is calling for Ohio Governor John Kasich and ODNR Chief Simmers to immediately halt three fracking waste injection well sites near family homes, a “high hazard” dam, an airport, businesses, or schools.  FMV says the injection wells are too close to areas of known seismic activity where man-made earthquakes have already occurred.

FMV will hold a press conference on Friday, August 12, 2016, at 1:15 PM Eastern time, in Youngstown, Ohio, on the public sidewalk in front of Youngstown, Ohio City Hall at Boardman and Phelps Streets.

Geology Professor, Dr. Ray Beiersdorfer, will speak about man-made earthquakes (induced seismicity) and fracking waste injection wells and answer any media questions.
All media are invited to attend.

This injection well site is way too near a family home and an airport in Vienna, Ohio. This site is too close to areas of known, man-made injection well–related and fracking earthquakes in the region. Frackfree Mahoning Valley is calling for Ohio Governor John Kasich and ODNR Chief Simmers to protect the public health and safety of the Vienna and surrounding communities by immediately halting plans to allow what FMV believes to be ultrahazardous, heavy industrial injection well operations in this community that already has experienced an injection well-related spill in 2015.[1] FMV says permitting injection at this site will increase the risk of induced seismicity. Earthquakes cannot be regulated, says FMV.
Youngstown, Ohio, August 11, 2016  Frackfree Mahoning Valley (FMV) is calling for Ohio Governor John Kasich and Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Chief Simmers to immediately halt three local injection well sites in order to protect public health, safety, and well-being and to decrease the risk of more man-made earthquakes and risks to drinking water that can result from injection well operations. 

        FMV will hold a press conference on Friday, August 12, 2016 at 1:15 PM in front of Youngstown, Ohio City Hall on the public sidewalk at Boardman and Phelps streets. Geologist Ray Beiersdorfer, Ph.D., Professor of Geology at Youngstown State University, will speak about updated information regarding injection wells, fracking, and man-made earthquakes (induced seismicity).  He will address any media questions.  All media are invited to attend.

       Based upon scientific studies and past experience with the Youngstown magnitude 4.0 earthquake episode and other nearby induced seismicity,  FMV believes that potentially damaging man-made earthquakes could occur if fluid waste injection proceeds at the three injection well sites since we are in an area of known seismic activity.

       Although Frackfree Mahoning Valley wants all waste injection to stop,  the group’s current focus is on the following  three northeastern Ohio injection well sites where injection could occur if permitted by ODNR Chief Simmers:   Vienna, Ohio; Weathersfield/ Niles, Ohio; and Coitsville, Ohio.

       Especially concerning is the Weathersfield/Niles AWMS injection well site, as American Water Management Services (AWMS) has apparently appealed ODNR’s closing of the deeper well due to ODNR’s concerns about public health and safety of the local community.  
       ODNR had stopped operations at the deeper of two wells there due to earthquakes that scientists linked to the deeper injection well.[2] This was the correct and moral decision by ODNR.[3]  FMV is urging ODNR to stand their ground in court by upholding their correct and just decision and keep the AWMS well closed down to protect the public health and safety of the community and region.  
        A shallower AWMS well is still permitted to operate, but is not operational at this time as far as FMV knows. FMV urges ODNR to close both wells due to an unacceptable level of seismic risk.
       There is a federally listed “high hazard” dam a few miles away (about 2.73 miles) from the AWMS injection well site that already has been linked to man-made earthquakes (induced seismicity). FMV says the injection well operation should remain closed, partly because more potential induced earthquakes could be an unacceptable risk to the dam.
       According to the Vindicator regarding Meander Dam, "The federal government lists the dam as ‘high hazard’ – not because of any flaws in the structure that undergoes daily safety inspections.  It is so listed because of the likely massive loss of human life that could occur should it ever face a catastrophic collapse. “[4]  
       FMV recently discovered an article linking to a study by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers that recommended, in relation to the Joe Pool Dam, in Texas, that injection be prevented within five miles of the dam.  According to the “Memorandum for Record,” attached to the study contracted by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, “… As a result, USACE has adopted a 4,000 – foot exclusion zone at Joe Pool Dam within which no drilling will be allowed, regardless of depth.  Additionally, in order to protect the project from induced seismicity, USACE will work to limit injection wells within five miles of the Joe Pool project.  These recommendations are more conservative than the subject study recommends; however, they are considered necessary to ensure that public safety is not reduced as a result of minerals related activities at Joe Pool.” [5]
       FMV intends to attend a public informational meeting in Lowellville, Ohio next week to present their concerns in person to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers’ Pittsburgh District.

       In Vienna the well is very near a family home and way too close to the airport.   ODNR’s suggestion that they will take action if seismic activity is detected by monitors is not good enough to protect the community.  Any potential quakes must be prevented in the first place. Once the fault is destabilized, the harm cannot be undone.   Does the current operation have lightning protection?  Even if it does, it still must be stopped due to being located close to an area of known seismic activity.

       The Coitsville injection well is being plugged back presumably to be put into operation in the future.  It is also too close to the Khalil injection well for which ODNR set a precedent by denying a permit to inject since it is too close to areas of known seismic activity, including the site of the New Year’s Eve 2011 magnitude 4.0 quake.  A Frackfree Mahoning Valley July 11, 2016 news release contains many links to background information on the Coitsville and local injection well situations and can be found here:

       FMV respectfully urges Governor Kasich and ODNR Chief Simmers to please review the latter link and this press release. The only effective solution to protect the public interest is to stop the injection operations at Vienna, Coitsville, and Weathersfield/Niles. 
        FMV urges ODNR to:  deny the injection permit for the Vienna well owned by the Oklahoma company, or revoke it if it is already issued; revoke the Coitsville injection well permit;  and we hope ODNR stands their ground and continues to do the right thing by refusing the permit to inject at the Weathersfield/Niles AWMS site.  It is the right thing to do.

       There is no good solution to the problem of the constant creation of millions of gallons of waste fluid.  Where will it all go? Ohio, or any area, cannot be used as a dumping ground for fracking waste or any kind of waste. We are not a sacrifice zone.   The public health, safety, and well-being must be protected.
       Thank you to Teresa Mills of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ) for her research and concepts used in this release.

       For more information, please see:
Frackfree Mahoning Valley:
       For media inquiries or more information, please contact Frackfree Mahoning Valley at: 
234-201-0402   or  e-mail:


[1] Photographs of the 2015 Vienna, Ohio spill and links to news reports and information can be found at:
[2] Ed Runyan, “Study says Weathersfield earthquake and injection well are linked,” The Vindicator, February 17, 2015, ; Also see:  Aaron Marshall, “Youngstown earthquakes raise issues on oilfield wastes from shale exploration,”  The Plain Dealer, updated January 16, 2012,
[3] PDF uploaded document: “Before the Oil & Gas Commission,” American Water Management Services, LLC  vs Division of Oil & Gas Resources Management; Appeal Nos. 889 & 890, Review of Chief’s Orders 2014-372 & 2014 – 374 (AWMS #2 Well); FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS AND ORDER OF THE COMMISSION, Date Issued: August 12, 2015:
[4] “Meander Dam safety must trump windfalls for cities,” The Vindicator,, April 13, 2016:
[5] Christian McPhate, “Corps of Engineers Wants Gas Drillers to Move Farther Away from Joe Pool Dam,” March 17, 2016, Dallas Observer:
The quoted passage is from  the study referenced in the latter article, page one,” Memorandum for Record,” stamped 17 Feb 2016 by Calvin C. Hudson II, Colonel, EN Commanding :
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