Ohio permanently revoked the operating permits of Hardrock Excavating and D&L Energy after oilfield waste was reportedly dumped into a storm sewer. The storm sewer emptied into the Mahoning River Watershed.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and the Ohio EPA were alerted to the alleged illegal dumping after citizens reported witnessing employees dumping the waste. An excerpt from a release by ODNR Director James Zehringer reads:
“Ohio has enacted some of the most comprehensive oil and gas regulations in the nation to safeguard the public and the environment. ODNR treats all allegations of wrongdoing involving oilfield waste very seriously and will continue to aggressively investigate each of these cases to ensure violators are held accountable.”
Once ODNR officials were made aware of the allegations about oilfield waste dumping into the storm sewer, they immediately began working with the state EPA branch to stop and contain the oilfield waste in the stream. Beginning last Friday, Ohio agency officials had contractors cleaning up and discharging of the waste properly.
The contractors are reportedly using absorbent pads, containment booms, and vacuum trucks to continue cleaning out the storm sewer and the waterway tributary. Both civil and criminal investigations into the illegal oil field dumping claims are ongoing, the Youngstown Vindicator notes.
Ohio EPA Director Scott Nally had this to say about the companies accused of illegally dumping oilfield waste:
“We are working as fast as possible to complete this clean up because a warming trend into the weekend could make the work more challenging as things thaw.”
The Ohio EPA and ODNR revocation actions mean that D&L Energy will no longer be able to operate injection wells in the state. The energy company will also cease temporary storage operations at the Salt Springs Road facility in Youngstown. Hardrock Excavating brine haulers will no longer be allowed to transport oilfield waste to the facility from its drilling rigs.
The fracking related companies face up to one year in prison and a $25,000 fine if convicted on illegal dumping charges in Ohio. Federal statutes for knowingly discharging pollutants into navigable waterways include up to a $50,000 per day of violation fine and a three year prison sentence.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has been a hotly debated topic in shale-rich states over the past several years. Some feel that the procedure could harm drinking water. Although fracking has only become a household word recently, the process has been commonplace in America since the 1950s.
What do you think about fracking and waste disposal practices?
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