Pennsylvania Learns from Oklahoma’s Earthquakes and Disposal Wells

The state of Pennsylvania’s taking a cue from Oklahoma when it comes to disposal wells and earthquakes.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection gave approval recently to two new disposal wells to handle oil and gas production wastewater. But—-there’s always a but—-the operators have to install seismic monitors and operate the wells at lower pressure.

The new state requirements come after scientists linked wastewater disposal wells to earthquakes in Oklahoma, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

There was opposition to the two new wells, but the acting DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell said the department took necessary precautions to make sure the operations are safe.

“After a thorough review, DEP determined that both applications meet all regulations,” he told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Meanwhile, the DEP also went to court against two small townships that banned shale-gas wastewater disposal wells. Suits were filed this week against Hiland Township in Elk County and Grant Township in Indiana County. The suits seek to invalidate home-rule charters that voters in the two towns approved to ban the wastewater wells.




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