Fracked waste spews from unused gas well in Ohio entering waterways and harming fish

"We have been exposing Ohio as a radioactive dumping ground that accepts oil and gas waste from all over the region for more than ten years."

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Credit: Sarah Craig/Faces of Fracking, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

On Thursday, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources confirmed a fracked gas well in Noble County, Ohio had spilled toxic radioactive oil and gas for more than a week. The fluid, referred to as “produced brine” entered waterways contaminating ground water and harming fish in the Crooked Tree area near Dexter City.

The EPA categorized brine as a salty byproduct of gas and oil production that can contain toxic metals and radioactive substances. According to official, “the chloride counts are really high” in the spewed production brine “that’s why the fish kill happened.”

“For too long, Ohioans have shouldered the risks of the fracked gas industry while polluting corporations reaped all the rewards,” Shelly Corbin, campaign representative in Ohio for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Dirty Fuels Campaign, said. “Enough is enough; Gov. DeWine should immediately issue a moratorium on fracked gas projects and the disposal of oil and gas waste in Ohio while strengthening commonsense protections for the health of our air, water, climate, and communities.”

The fracked gas well, which hasn’t been in production for a few years, is owned by Genesis Resources LLC of Parkersburg. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) was notified on Jan. 24 of the spill, but the states wasn’t able to contain the spewing fluid until Jan. 27.

“Ohio is like swiss cheese, there are an estimated 150,000 or more abandoned wells in Ohio that ODNR doesn’t even know the location of,” Teresa Mills, executive director of Buckeye Environmental Network, said. “As evidenced by the recent blowout, this is a ticking time bomb waiting to happen. We have been exposing Ohio as a radioactive dumping ground that accepts oil and gas waste from all over the region for more than ten years.”

While the cause is still unknown, ODNR said production brine continues to leak from the wellhead, but an ongoing attempt by the Department to collect the emerging liquid has resulted in the disposal of more than 30,000 barrels of fluid.

“If Gov. DeWine can’t protect the people of his own state from dirty, dangerous fracked gas projects, then the U.S. EPA should step in and use every power at its disposal to do so,” Corbin said.

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