Injection well planned for site in Brookfield

BROOKFIELD – A local company is seeking a permit to drill and operate a saltwater injection well on five acres near the intersection of McMullen Street and state Route 7 here.

American Energy Inc., a small Cortland-based company, filed the application last month with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources seeking permission to drill the deep well, which will be used to permanently dispose of brine and other oilfield waste generated in the natural gas and oil drilling industry.

Robert G. Barnett, president of the company, said Friday there still is much to do in the approval process, but stressed, if approved, the company would operate the well in strict adherence to state regulations.

“It’s all above board, and once we do do it, the state scrutinizes everything. We have to account for everything we do, every drop of water,” Barnett said.

The controversial process has raised the ire of environmental groups throughout Ohio that oppose the wells.

Well aware of the opposition, Barnett said his company selected this location because it is in a rural area away from neighbors.

“We are not about trying to ram anything down people’s throats. We are not going to encroach or infringe upon anybody,” he said.

The application, dated Dec. 5, and released last week by ODNR, indicates the proposed well would be drilled to a depth of 8,500 feet. It will be located on five acres of leased land. According to state law, the company soon will publish a legal notice to spell out the plans and directly contact neighbors. He also expects to meet with trustees soon, he said.

Barnett said the family-run business already operates about 80 shallow natural gas production wells, most located in Ashtabula County, and two injection wells, one in Green Township in northern Trumbull County and one in Pierpont, Ashtabula County.

Concerns raised by environmental groups opposed to the natural gas and oil drilling process include environmental problems stemming from injection wells.

Those problems included brine being intentionally dumped in late 2012 and early 2013 by an employee on the Youngstown property of D&L Energy and another injection well located on a fault line, also operated by D&L Energy, triggered a series of earthquakes in 2011.

“It’s really very, very safe if you follow the rules,” Barnett said. “There is a need for it (injection wells). This market wasn’t here five years ago.”