Township residents gathered in the administration meeting hall Dec. 13 to hear from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Oil and Gas regarding a proposed brine injection well on Masury Road.
ODNR geologist Tom Tomastik gave a presentation on oil and gas drilling history in Ohio, the drilling and injection process, as well as Ohio laws regarding the practice.
Nearly 30 residents discussed the safety, chemical contamination, land rights and interstate commerce laws regarding the process.
"We can't stop it coming in, but obviously we want to properly dispose of it," Tomastik said.
The brine water currently being disposed of in Ohio comes largely from Pennsylvania, where disposing or recycling at wastewater treatment plants has been banned.
Tomastik and two other ODNR Oil and Gas representatives explained that interstate commerce laws allow Pennsylvania to send the brine water over state lines, and that deep-well injection remains the safest means of disposing of the water. He also insisted multiple times that the saltwater is not "hazardous."
He said 98 percent of all brine water is injected deep into geologically formed pockets below the earth's crust, while two percent is used by city and state governments for dust and ice control on roads.
Tomastik also said that unless the permit application or the drilling or injection site violates the Ohio Revised Code, then ODNR is required to grant the permit.
Tomastik said that while local citizens cannot appeal the permits, they should take comfort that Ohio's laws are far more stringent than federal standards.
Township Trustee Fred Hanley urged all residents present to begin calling their legislators and demanding control be restored to citizens.
Tomastik said the state earns $.05 per gallon injected within the designated injection well districts and $.20 for each gallon outside those districts.
"It's not about the jobs - god knows we need the jobs," Hanley said. "This is toxic waste coming from Pennsylvania. This is why we objected. The state is the only one making any money off this."
Hanley also claimed the state did not inform the township properly. He said the county engineer handed the trustees a copy of a road bond D&L Energy was required to file because the drilling rig weighs more than 90,000 pounds and will likely damage the roads.
According to Hanley, township officials filed a formal objection with ODNR on Oct. 19. On Nov. 14, they filed an appeal with the governor's office requesting a moratorium on the well. The governor sent a reply that the matter would be turned over to ODNR. Hanley said no moratorium has been issued. When appeals are filed on a permit, ODNR will hold meetings with residents.
All three trustees spoke against the well, and Hanley said the greatest concern was the well's proximity to Little Yankee Run Creek.
Hanley said it will sit less than 100 meters from the creek and that the well will be drilled through an aquifer that provides well water for 7,500 or more township residents.
Tomastik said that in 2010 more than 8.5 million barrels of brine were injected into 194 wells across Ohio, at 42 gallons per barrel. He said some of the higher volume wells can inject from 1,000 to 2,000 barrels per day.
Hanley said 3,500 gallons per day are already coming in from Pennsylvania and he is worried that the damage to the Interstate-80 interchange will be too much to handle if the heavy truck traffic continues to increase.