ODNR investigating brine water in production well

Found in gas well in Washington County
Published: Sep. 4, 2020 at 5:12 PM EDT
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DUNHAM TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WTAP) - The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is monitoring a high amount of brine in production wells in Washington County’s Dunham Township.

The increase in salt water in the well was reported in late 2019.

The production well’s owners believe the brine came from a nearby injection well.

An investigation concluded disposed oil and gas wastewater was the source of the large amount of brine.

The ODNR’s Division of Oil and Gas Resource Management has not had any reports of adverse health and safety effects from the wells.

”At no point do we have any evidence of any environmental impact or groundwater impacts,” says the division’s chief, Eric Vendel. “We would encourage people to call us if there is any suspicion of their water being impacted. We will investigate it immediately.”

Any residents who have questions should contact the ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management at (614) 265-6608 or oilandgas@dnr.state.oh.us.

The Department of Natural Resources is also working to plug an orphan well-an existing well that is no longer in use-and is working to locate other orphan wells in the area.

Ohio has more than 200 injection wells, and the department does not believe there are similar problems with any of them.

An industry group responded with this statement:

“The Ohio Oil And Gas Association is still in the process of reviewing the full findings of the report issued this afternoon by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

It is clear that the report limits this situation to one specific zone in a ten mile radius—a formation not commonly used for disposal of saltwater. We believe a solution to the issues cited in the report is to drill to deeper formations that are geologically best-suited to receive, isolate and contain produced waters from oil and gas operation, as has been the practice in Ohio for over 40 years under guidance from the U.S. EPA. In fact, the operator highlighted in the report has already voluntarily stopped injecting into the identified formation.

We firmly believe UIC wells can continue to operate safely and responsibly to protect public health and the environment. The current regulations governing Ohio’s long-time UIC program have recently received positive reports from peer reviews and audits from nationally known and well-respected organizations, including the U.S. EPA and Groundwater Protection Council.

As always, OOGA is ready and willing to work collaboratively with the DeWine administration, Ohio Department of Natural Resources and all stakeholders to ensure the continued proper regulatory structure and guidelines are in place to solve this situation in a safe and responsible manner.”

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