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American Water files another injection appeal

WEATHERSFIELD – American Water Management Services is fighting a judge’s dismissal of its appeal of a state commission’s ruling that has kept operations at the company’s local injection well idle since it was linked to seismic activity more than a year ago.

AWMS is appealing the court’s Dec. 18 dismissal of its appeal of a state Oil and Gas Commission ruling that upholds the Division of Oil and Gas Resources’ decision to stop operations at the injection well along state Route 169 in Weathersfield. The company filed its latest appeal Monday with Franklin County Common Pleas Court.

Last month, Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge Kimberly Cocroft concluded that AWMS had not complied with Ohio Revised Code when it filed its appeal with the commission Oct. 20, calling it “untimely.” As a result, all pending motions in the case were rendered moot, according to the judge’s ruling.

The commission, which asked the court for the dismissal on Oct. 16, argued in its motion that although AWMS filed its Sept. 8 notice of appeal with the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, it did not file the notice with the commission as mandated by state code.

In August, the commission denied an appeal from AWMS, affirming an order by division Chief Rick Simmers to stop operations at the company’s deep brine injection well.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, which regulates class II injection wells, ordered the company to shut down its two wells at the site within weeks of an Aug. 31, 2014, 2.1 magnitude earthquake. At the time, a shallow well at the site also was shut down but was later was allowed to resume operations.

AWMS, a subsidiary of Avalon Holdings Inc. of Howland, wanted to restart operations at its deeper injection well and asked for Simmers’ order to be lifted. A hearing on the matter was held March 11 in Columbus.

The commission determined the chief’s move to close the class II well was lawful and refused to lift his order to shut it down. AWMS then appealed the decision to the Franklin County court.

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