Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Fossil Fuels

Fracking Caused Ohio Earthquakes: It’s (Almost) Official

Ohio DNR confirms Columbia seismology report on earthquakes and frackingRemember those earthquakes in Ohio seismologists from Columbia University thought could be caused by activities related to natural gas fracking? Well it looks like the experts were on the right track. Last week the Ohio Department of Natural Resources issued the strictest set of fracking-related rules in the country, based on a preliminary report linking last December’s seismological events around Youngstown to the injection of fracking wastewater into a fracking brine disposal well.

Strict new rules for fracking wastewater

The Ohio DNR did not mince any words in its announcement, which was issued last Friday. Among other permitting, testing and monitoring requirements, the new rules:

“…prohibit any new wells to be drilled into the Precambrian basement rock formation; mandate operators submit extensive geological data before drilling; and implement state-of-the-art pressure and volume monitoring devices including automatic shut-off switches and electronic data recorders. In addition, ODNR will require that brine haulers install electronic transponders to ensure “cradle to grave” monitoring of all shipments.”

Out of sight, out of fracking mind

According to the U.S. EPA, there are about 144,000 brine disposal wells in the U.S., into which about two billion gallons of fracking brine are injected daily. Ironically, wells were deemed a better alternative to the old method, internment in lagoons, due to concerns over potential surface water contamination. In addition to the earthquake hazard, though, well injection is emerging as a contamination issue for wells and aquifers.

Brine well fingered as earthquake culprit

DNR cautioned that is actions were based on a preliminary report, but the evidence all pointed to the Northstar 1 Class II fracking brine disposal well as the cause of twelve quakes that shook the Youngstown area. Northstar is a 200-foot deep well that had been in use for a little over two years, and apparently, fluid from the well got into an unmapped fault line that was already under stress.

Whole lotta fracking going on…or not

As President Obama is fond of reminding us, oil and gas drilling are up under his administration, despite the risks. On the other hand, the President is also pushing hard for the development of renewable sources of natural gas, so it’s possible that the fracking frenzy may die down sooner rather than later. The California based company HyperSolar, for example, has come up with a method for squeezing natural gas and hydrogen from municipal wastewater, and  a company in New Jersey called Primus Green Energy is churning out natural gas from wood pellets. The Obama Administration is also pushing renewable sources through its ramped-up AgStar manure to biogas program.

Image: License Attribution Some rights reserved by moofyboof.

Follow Tina Casey on Twitter: @TinaMCasey.





Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

Tina specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.


You May Also Like


New research has shown that fracking in Pennsylvania has contaminated the drinking water where pregnant women live. Dr. Sandra Steingraber shared a thread on...


Driven primarily by projected electric vehicle (EV) demand, the global lithium-ion battery industry and its associated supply chain have committed more than $600 billion...


Intel has announced that it will invest more than $20 billion to build two new factories while also establishing an epicenter for advanced chipmaking...

Clean Power

In 2022, we expect 46.1 gigawatts (GW) of new utility-scale electric generating capacity to be added to the U.S. power grid, according to our...

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.