Federal study: Fracking wastewater wells cause quakes

9:54 AM, Jun 16, 2012   |    comments
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A study by the National Research Council concluded in a report released Friday that the injection of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing can induce earthquakes.            

The news has people living near injection wells concerned.

"This is our family farm.  And I'd like it to stay safe," says Lisa Urban, who owns a beef cattle farm in Mantua.

"I don't think anyone really knows if it's safe," said Urban.            

Her concerns about the unknown lie right up Allyn Road, where there's a wastewater injection well.  

Neighbors already don't like what they see. "2-3 trucks an hour. That's a lot. Big trucks," explained neighbor Greg Reid. 

He says they're almost all semis from Pennsylvania, which banned the wells, so the wastewater is shipped to Ohio.            

 "You gotta think, they're not letting them, why are we letting them?"               

The federal study found the injection of wastewater left over from fracturing shale for gas and oil can trigger earthquakes, like the dozen in Youngstown last year. 

Meanwhile, the investigation found fracking itself had low risk for inducing earthquakes.            

Seismologists say the water affects a fault, the same way air does an air hockey puck.

When you turn on the air -- it floats, allowing it to move side to side. The high pressure water affects the fault the same way -- thus, causing a quake.

The latest study gives environmental groups more reason to fight fracking. "To me that makes it unsafe. 

 To me we need to make sure that this industry is run safely," said Pat McKenna of the Sierra Club's Northeast Ohio chapter.  

While neighbors in Mantua don't believe they're near a fault line, the news makes them wonder, what other concerns may be over the horizon.

"I don't know what's going come 5, 10, 15, 20 years down the road," said Urban.

WKYC-TV

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