Trumbull Co. asks Kasich to freeze injection well permits

Trumbull County has the most injection wells in the state, with 17

WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Wednesday, Trumbull County Commissioners voted to send a request to Ohio Gov. John Kasich to freeze injection well permits in the county.

The freeze would stop new wells from popping up but would not affect existing wells.

Commissioners want Kasich to stop new wells from being built until 11 issues are resolved:

  • Notice of an application for a permit also should be sent to all governmental entities, landowners and school districts within the area of review. Currently, notice of an application is only sent to well owners and well operators within the area of review.
  • Current law states that the area of review for small wells is 0.25 miles and the area of review for larger wells is 0.5 miles. The proposal wants to include in the area of review landowners within 0.5 miles for all wells regardless of size, and government entities and school districts within 6 miles.
  • Permit applications should include a traffic impact study conducted by the county engineer with a fee established by the State Engineer Association. Currently, no traffic impact study is required.
  • Under current law, comments and objections to proposed applications must be filed within 15 days. Trumbull County Commissioners want to expand that comment period to 28 days.
  • Require a Road Use Maintenance Agreement (RUMA) for all well drilling activity, whether existing or proposed. There currently is no requirement for RUMAs.
  • Move permit objection hearings from Columbus to the nearest Ohio Department of Natural Resources district office.
  • Limit hours of operation from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays for injection wells not located within industrial zones. Currently, there is no limit on hours of operation.
  • Require a landscaping plan consisting of a buffer zone within a minimum of 100 feet from well consisting of earthen berms, fencing, walls, trees or shrubbery. Currently, there is no requirement for noise abatement or visual sight barriers.
  • New injection wells should adhere to the same setback requirements currently in place for shallow wells. There is no setback requirement currently.
  • Injection well sites are required to have water testing wells drilled on the site and provide testing results to the ODNR at least quarterly. The proposal suggests a groundwater monitoring system similar to that proposed for landfill facilities under OAC 3745-27-10. Currently, there is no requirement for water testing. As a result, the department is only notified after a spill has reached adjoining properties.
  • Injection well sites must monitor the escape of noxious vapors into the air and to provide such data on a quarterly basis to the ODNR. There are currently no requirements for air quality monitoring.

Liberty Township Trustee Jodi Stoyak said Trumbull County has 19 saltwater injection wells and now is the time to act.

“We are ready to go, and these other counties are also ready to go right now and they are waiting to hear from us as to what our commissioners are doing, but I think it is great that Trumbull County is going to lead the charge on this,” Stoyak said. “We just want to stop all new injection wells until some of these safeguards have been put into place to safeguard our residents.”

County commissioners don’t think they will be able to vote on asking for a moratorium at Wednesday’s meeting, but said they could be able to move forward with it as soon as next week.

“People are afraid, especially the people in Vienna. You had that spill, they are worried about their kids, how it is going to affect their lives when we had the earthquake that was affecting the whole area,” Commissioner Frank Fuda said.

Injection wells are used to put liquid into the soil deep underground for various purposes, including disposing of waste water created by the fracking process.

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