From Columbus Dispatch:

The long line of tanker trucks waiting to unload at the Devco No. 1 injection well shows that business is good at the underground-disposal site.

When energy companies need to get rid of the millions of barrels of brine — the salty, chemical-laced wastewater that comes out of shale-gas wells — they bring most of it to places like this.

At the Devco well, the brine is injected 8,900 feet below ground, where it is expected to stay forever.

The process has been used for decades in Ohio to dispose of wastewater from fractured and traditional gas and oil wells.

These days, more than half of the brine coming to Ohio injection wells is from the shale-gas fields in Pennsylvania, where drilling has been under way for several years. The disposal industry is expected to grow as Ohio’s shale is exploited.

After rejecting proposals to pass brine through city sewage-treatment plants and dump the wastewater into streams, Ohio officials decided that the state’s 170 injection wells should be the primary disposal method.

“We think they got it right,” said Tom Stewart, vice president of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association. “Put it back where it came from, or deeper.”

It’s a solution that doesn’t sit well with environmental advocates, who say there are too many questions about the chemicals in the wastewater and the amount that will be pumped underground.

Teresa Mills, director of the Buckeye Environmental Network, said she fears that brine will contaminate groundwater, if it doesn’t already.

“First of all, we don’t know all the chemicals that are going down there,” Mills said. “It’s out-of-sight, out-of-mind, and nobody follows it once it’s down.”

More.

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