Athens County Commissioners request seismic study before ODNR proceeds any further with K&H2 permit process

Athens County Commissioners sent a letter to ODNR on Wed., Nov. 27, requesting a moratorium on the K&H2 injection well permitting process. The letter calls for a complete seismic study and review of the area. It states that the Nov. 20 3.5M Athens County earthquake, “felt in Little Hocking near the K&H site raises substantive concerns relevant to health, safety, and environmental conservation.” Among these concerns, the letter states, are the peer-reviewed science documenting associations between injection and quakes and “the incompleteness of the data on the Athens 2013 quake [that] point to the lack of seismic data for the region,” according to USGS.  The letter states that the study should include determining “whether citing an injection well in an active earthquake zone is proper.”

Athens City Council also voted unanimously Monday evening (12-2-13) to oppose permitting of the K&H2 injection well based on health and safety concerns, especially given recent seismic activity in the area and the inability of concrete to guarantee well integrity in an earthquake.

report from Perry County indicates that the Sherrif’s office entrance, damaged in the Nov. 20 Athens County quake, is now a danger to people entering the building.

ACFAN NOTE: The Athens News, in printing a “correction” of its discussion of the earthquake, omitted a vital error in ODNR information provided recently to the News: The map of area injection wells provided by ODNR and purporting to include abandoned and plugged wells, which appeared on the front page of the Athens News last month, OMITS the abandoned well a mile from the Nov. 20 Athens quake epicenter, although this well was described in an e-mail from ODNR as follows:

Athens County, Permit #3036 was converted to a saltwater injection well in late 1985 and started injection operations into the “Newburg” Dolomite at depths of 2912 to 3242 feet in 1986. The injection well was used exclusively by Hocking Technical College to dispose of the production brine from the Clinton oil and gas wells Hocking Technical College drilled on their property back in the 1980s. This well stopped injecting in 1994 and was plugged and abandoned on March 9, 2001. Below is the injection volumes per year in barrels.[note: a barrel is 42 gallons]:
1986 – 4615 bbls.
1987 – 5654 bbls.
1988 – 5338 bbls.
1989 – 6770 bbls.
1990 – 7745 bbls.
1991 – 5260 bbls.
1992 – 5062 bbls.
1993 – 8590 bbls.
1994 – 0
1995 – 0
1996 – 0
1997 – 0
1998 – 0
1999 – 0
2000- 0
2001- 0
Tom Tomastik, Geologist 4, Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management 2045 Morse Road, F-2, Columbus, Ohio 43229-6693, (614) 265-1032

Note the following information on the lack of accurate reporting prevalent with small earthquakes in the U.S. noted by William L. Ellsworth in his review, Injection-Induced Earthquakes, in the peer-reviewed journal, SCIENCE 12 JULY 2013 VOL 341:

“…seismic monitoring capabilities in many of the areas in which wastewater injection activities have increased are not capable of detecting small earthquake activity that may presage larger seismic events.

“… smaller [than 3.0M] earthquakes are not routinely reported in the central and eastern United States. So it is possible that smaller earthquakes could be more common in the vicinity of these wells…

“At present, with the use of seismological methods, it is not possible to discriminate between man-made and natural tectonic earthquakes. Induced earthquakes sometimes occur at the source of the stress or pressure perturbation; at other times, these events take place deep below and kilometers away from the source.
“… routine earthquake reporting in the region is incomplete for events of M < 3…”
“The RMA earthquakes demonstrate how the diffusion of pore pressure within an ancient fault system can initiate earthquakes many kilometers from the injection point, delayed by months or even years after injection ceased…”
Stay tuned.

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