Columbus citizens’ group tours county injection wells


Rusty pipes and poor maintenance at 13 injection well sites in Morrow County is a concern for Columbus citizens. The Columbus Community Bill of Rights (CCBR) group led a tour to six of those wells in Morrow County recently.

In those injection wells, waste water which is toxic and radioactive brine from the fracking industry is forced under pressure into the ground in these wells that were formerly active oil and gas wells. Some of the waste comes in from Pennsylvania and other states with stricter regulations.

One particular well that concerned tour organizer, Greg Pace was the unused injection well on Mosher Road east of Cardington. Regulations state that such an abandoned well should be plugged within 60 days of when operations are discontinued. As of Aug. 12, 2017, there is no indication that it was plugged 16 months after the April 7, 2016 plug order.

Several in the group asked if local Morrow County people were active in concerns for clean water since their water may also be affected. Pace answered that he knew of only a couple.

Columbus resident, Megan Mast said she has an idea why Morrow County residents aren’t more upset. She pointed out that the injection wells look very much like the oil and gas wells that dot the countryside. People in the county are used to seeing wells and very likely suppose these injection wells aren’t so different.

One local resident driving by stopped to inquire what the group was doing. He asked to remain anonymous and said that he is certain his family was very affected by the wells and frack waste on his road. Four members of his family have had cancer over the past few years. He also pointed out that the wells on the road were just ½ mile from two creeks that feed into Alum Creek.

This is the fifth time the CCBR group invited people to see several of the 13 injection wells in Morrow County. It is the third visit they have made to the wells in 2017. Pace said that these wells which were previously active oil and gas wells are now receiving frack waste water that is highly toxic and poses a threat of contamination to the Columbus watershed and its drinking water.

The group’s references state that the frack waste water being injected is radioactive with radium 226 up to 5,000 times the EPA safe drinking water limit. The frack waste water injection wells spill, leak and fail, and the frack waste water contains carcinogens, neurotoxins and hormone disruptors.

Columbus citizen Sandy Bolzemus noted that local citizens don’t have a voice at the present time in whether frack waste is dumped into the Columbus area watershed. Both she and Pace said that the regulatory system is grossly inadequate in monitoring these wells. The Ohio EPA passed along authority to ODNR to regulate. At present the interests and rights of the big oil and gas business have precedence, they contend.

“Corporations from outside Columbus have been given more rights than citizens,” Bolzemus said. “They are being permitted to dump in our city and impact our water and the state’s lawmakers and ODNR are not protecting people in Columbus. This waste is toxic and radioactive.”

The CCBR is working toward having 25,000 signatures to get an ordinance on the ballot in November 2018. The proposed ordinance asserts citizens’ rights to safeguard their water, air and soil. Once passed, the measure will provide the City of Columbus and its officials the authority to protect local residents and their natural environment from fracking and its harmful waste products.

“We want to educate the public by getting this issue out there on peoples’ radar,” Pace said.

Additional information about the proposed local legislation and Ohio injection wells and landfills is available at the CCBR website: www.ColumbusBillofRights.org. Members of the CCBR are available to speak to groups.

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Some of the group from Columbus that toured six of the 13 injection wells in Morrow County are near the well on Mosher Road that has not been plugged to date.
http://www.morrowcountysentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/29/2017/08/web1_DSCN1903-2-.jpgSome of the group from Columbus that toured six of the 13 injection wells in Morrow County are near the well on Mosher Road that has not been plugged to date.

Wells on Benedict Road in southern Morrow County are just 1/2-mile from two creeks that flow into Alum Creek.
http://www.morrowcountysentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/29/2017/08/web1_DSCN1912-2-.jpgWells on Benedict Road in southern Morrow County are just 1/2-mile from two creeks that flow into Alum Creek.

By Alberta Stojkovic

The Sentinel