State regulators are saying that a dozen earthquakes that hit in northeastern Ohio were almost certainly induced by injection of gas-drilling wastewater – AKA – fracking. The state regulators announced a new series of rules for the drillers to follow.
The new rules were put in place based on “a number of coincidental circumstances.” One major fact being that the well operations began just three months ahead of the first earthquake. The state also has noted that seismic activity was around the well bore and a fault has been identified in the Precambrian basement rock – where water was being injected.
“Geologists believe it is very difficult for all conditions to be met to induce seismic events,” the report states. “In fact, all the evidence indicates that properly located … injection wells will not cause earthquakes.”
But the British Geological Survey reports contradicting data and states that fluid injection can induce small earthquakes.
Kevin Sunday, a spokesman for Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection said, “We have never seen an earthquake as the result of an ejection well or with any activity associated with gas drilling.”
There is conflicting data within the United States. But, fracking has been associated with earthquakes in England. A drilling company stopped fracking operations last July after two earthquakes were registered within 500 meters of the drilling site.
Below are some presented changes for the area:
- Future injection into Precambrian rock will be banned, and existing wells penetrating the formation will be plugged.
- State-of-the-art pressure and volume monitoring will be required, including automatic shut-off systems.
- Electronic tracking systems will be required that identify the makeup of all drilling wastewater fluids entering the state.
Ohio’s overall standards have made the area more safe and environmentally friendly.