Dec. 25 deadline set to comment on injection wells

BROOKFIELD — The clock has started ticking for anyone wanting to submit comments to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources about three injection wells a Pittsburgh-based company wants to drill in the township.

Highland Field Service LLC, a subsidiary of Houston-based Seneca Resources, is seeking ODNR approval to place the wells near two others the company recently drilled on state Route 7 just north of Wyngate Mobile Home Park.

ODNR regulates class II injection wells, which are used to dispose of oilfield wastewater. Highland, as required by the state, advertised its plan for each well in a local publication for five consecutive days.

The company’s ads for each of the three proposed wells were published in the Tribune Chronicle starting Wednesday and ending Sunday. The public has 15 calendar days from Sunday to file comments or objections in writing with ODNR, Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management, in Columbus, making Dec. 25 the submission deadline.

Against local and county officials’ objections, ODNR in June gave Highland the go-ahead to drill the initial two saltwater injection wells and build a surface facility in the township.

Trustee Gary Lees said Tuesday he would like as many township residents as possible to contact ODNR.

“It’s important to get it on record, for the public to let them know what they think, how they feel about this,” said Lees, who added he believes the way real change can happen is through legislation.

“But I still think it’s important to speak out,” he said.

ODNR and Highland leaders met Nov. 20 with several elected officials.

“But nothing was accomplished,” Lees said. “They are going to do what they plan to do.”

But Seneca Resources / Highland representative Rob Boulware said the company’s goal for that meeting was to provide officials with background and information.

“We made ourselves available to answer any questions they might have,” he said.

Boulware said Highland is permitting wells in Brookfield as a “comprehensive and responsible” way to dispose of and manage brine disposal as a necessary part of oil and gas operations. The process is a well-established practice that poses fewer environmental or public health risks than alternative methods, Boulware said.

There are 21 injection wells in Trumbull County, including the two already in Brookfield. The three new ones Highland is proposing would each be between 7,600 and 8,750 feet deep. About 5,000 barrels of waste, on average, would be injected into each well per day, according to the company.

Meanwhile, township officials continue to push for a moratorium on injection wells in Trumbull County and are counting on state officials to pass legislation that would restrict the number of wells in the county.

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