Earthjustice (“EJ”) filed the following document on October 11th:
Rule Determines Ohio’s Class II Injection Well Permit Program No Longer Represents an Effective Program to Prevent Underground Injection that Endangers Drinking Water Sources and Fails to Comply with Safe Drinking Water Act Requirements Petition for (“Petition”)
of petition Filed on behalf of many other organizations.
Class II wells are used to inject fluids associated with oil and natural gas production. Such fluids consist primarily of salt water (brine) and are brought to the surface during oil and gas production.
The Federal Safe Drinking Water Act established minimum requirements for an effective state underground injection control program. Regulations must consider various measures to ensure that injection wells do not endanger groundwater sources for drinking water. They established specific performance standards for each class of wells (including Class II), and by injecting underground liquids common to the specific category, determined that actual and potential drinking water sources were as such. make it unsuitable for heavy use.
EJ argues in that petition The EPA should initiate the cancellation process, alleging that Ohio’s Class II injection well program is seriously flawed. The flaws it claims are:
- Ohio has failed to implement an effective enforcement program because:
- Lacking unilateral punitive powers
- consistently refuses to enforce violations
- Permanent suspension of operations is not permitted for material violations of other state law provisions
- disallow public participation in enforcement actions
- Ohio’s permit process lacks regulatory requirements to prevent drinking water hazards and comply with Sections 125 and 1421 of the Safe Drinking Water Act.
- Apply enough review areas to address overpressure and understand potential migration paths
- Characterization of injected waste
- Identify the extent of groundwater sources for drinking water and adequately characterize the local geology
- Prohibit injection into geological formations known to be unsuitable for waste disposal
- Sufficient mechanical integrity testing required
- The Ohio program places an undue burden on low-income Appalachian communities by locating Class II disposal wells almost exclusively in Appalachian Ohio. Failure to provide meaningful participation in operational and enforcement decisions.
A copy of the petition can be downloaded here.