BREAKING: Residents Blockade Injection Well One Week After 1,000 Gallon Fracking Waste Spill

Tragic well-blowout kills 1 in Bolivar. 

(Follow us on Twitter @OhioFracktion for updates)

Vienna, OH – Concerned residents blocked access to an injection well in Trumbull County this morning, protesting the failure of Ohio regulators to adequately test and monitor dumping of toxic fracking waste.  One supporter locked himself to the gate to prevent all trucks carrying fracking waste from entering the site.  Two activists were detained by police, and the supporter locked to the gate was eventually and safely removed by authorities and placed under arrest.  The supporter and detained activists were all released by police without bail a few hours later.

Trumbull County residents, along with supporters from Frack Free Mahoning and Ohio Fracktion, gathered at the well site on Sodom Hutchings Road in Vienna Township, to express concerns about the contents of the 1,000 gallons of fracking wastewater that spilled along five miles of road in Fowler Township, a nearby residential area on July 7.  They are demanding that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) begin systematically testing out-of-state frack waste that is injected into over 170 wells throughout Ohio.

According to spokesperson Mike Settles, emergency responders from Ohio’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted only a simple pH test of the spilled frack waste lining the roads of Fowler Township.  As far as further testing for radiation, heavy metals, and other chemicals, Settles explained that EPA doesn’t “have the resources” to perform testing unless there is a “legitimate concern” of environmental damage.  Thick, rust colored residue was still visible on the road over a week after the spill.

Photo from courtesy of Nathan Mutschelknaus

Concerns over safety will only rise as another serious and deadly accident killed 1 in Bolivar just as the injection well blockade began.  Protesters and activists express their deep sympathy with the families and friends.  These accidents are an inevitable part of the process of fracking

Liberty Township Trustee Jodi Stoyak expressed her frustration with EPA’s response in a July 12 letter to Mr. Settles, noting “many of the chemicals used in [fracking] and contained in the waste are officially classified individually as hazardous….  This, in my opinion, is a huge environmental concern.”

ODNR officials have ignored numerous written and oral requests from Ohio residents to order testing of the countless gallons of out-of-state frack waste injected underground into Ohio each year.  In response to a recent public records request asking ODNR to release all testing relevant to fracking waste, ODNR Geologist Tom Tomastik provided no results taken after 1989.

A 2011 New York Times report revealed a widespread, massive presence of radioactive materials in fracking wastewater, including levels over 1,000 times federal drinking water standards.  A recent independently tested sample of frack waste from Athens County revealed elevated levels of barium, arsenic, toluene, alpha particles, and diesel particles nearly 300,000 times the federal standard for drinking water.[1]  State Representative Bob Hagan contacted ODNR with a copy of these results[2] on June 27 and requested that ODNR begin testing frack waste, citing his “serious concern that the safety and health of Ohio citizens is in jeopardy from the chemical contents of fracking waste-water.”  As of July 16, he has received no reply.

This blockade comes just weeks after Madeline ffitch of Athens County chained herself to two barrels, blocking access to an injection well in her community.  A statewide call-in day to demand that ODNR initiate a statewide brine-testing program is scheduled for Tuesday.

“How can the ODNR possibly allow fracking companies to dump untold volumes of fracking waste in our communities if they won’t even test it? How can they reassure us that a 1,000 gallon spill of waste is safe if they don’t even know what was in the fluid that was spilled?” asks Reverend Monica Beasley-Martin, who led fellow Trumbull County residents in prayer at the site.  “We have been asking too long, and we have had enough. We need safe water, and clean air.  Ohio is not a sacrifice zone, and Ohio is not a dumping ground. ODNR: test the fracking waste now!”


10 thoughts on “BREAKING: Residents Blockade Injection Well One Week After 1,000 Gallon Fracking Waste Spill

  1. If anyone reading this remembers the Love Canal and Ms. Brockavitch(sp) or the book by Rachel Carson – “Silent Spring”, the chemicals used in fracking will turn the ground water into something equally bad and toxic.
    If this process is allowed to proliferate all over the country, we can look forward to far more cancers, birth defects and more. But then, I guess I would be classified as a “hysterical environmentalist or tree hugger”. I’m neither – I suffer – SUFFER – from Multiple Chemical Sensitivity having been poisoned by household chemicals, hair dye, refinishing of antiques and finally – overspraying of my home in Myrtle Beach, SC, by a pesticide company in 1993. Wake up people.

  2. every drop of water at this vienna facility is monitored and filtered and every tanker is tested when it arrives before it can be dumped this facility in vienna is the only site in ohio to receive an a+ rating and exceed every protocal and regulation that odnr has put in place it is because of the system at this site that the state is asking other wells to put in similar monitoring systems at all the other wells in the state this facility is on the cutting edge of technology and does things above and beyond the call of duty. p.s. this site has nothing to do with the site or truck in fowler that spilled between 100 and 150 gallons of brine . get your facts straight!

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  4. Puck – You say that every drop of water is monitored an filtered? Every tanker is tested? How do you know that? And who does the testing and monitoring? What is in the water and the trucks? These companies have been cheating and lying to the people for years. All they cae about is the bottom line. You claim the site and truck has nothing to do with the ones in Fowler. Do you have the facts to prove that. It seems to me that if anyone needs to wake up, it’s you. You believe the corporations and the government, both of whom have been lying for decades, and both of whom put profits before people. Show your proof.

    • i know that because the family that owns it is friends with me . and i was a contractor on there site and helped design it you can look up the companies that own sites on odnr’s website and see that the fowler site has been there for quite sometime and is owned by a completely different company and is not affiliated with the vienna company in any way they are not a huge corporation but a small family business and this well is on there family farm which still grows crops and if you did any fact checking at all you would have looked up the log that the state keeps exclaiming any violations that the wells have and you would relize this site is not in violation of anything not even once.

  5. Puck, you say “every drop of water at this vienna facility is monitored and filtered and every tanker is tested when it arrives before it can be dumped this facility in vienna”. Can you prove this? Or are you depending on the word of the corporation or government, both of which have lied to the people for decades? You also claim they have nothing to do with what happened in Fowler. Where is the proof? You tell people to wake up. How about waking yourself up. Or do you work with the company?

  6. Because there is a well in Fowler that takes dirty water-completely unrelated to the company who owns the well in this article. The manager of this well was even quoted as saying “We would have sat down with them and explained our viewpoint”, about the protesters. Has anyone considered this? Perhaps asking for a tour of the facility, or asking to see how they insure the water they dispose of is safe? Nope. I believe that Puck is one of the people who actually tests the water that comes into this facility, and I personally have heard many stories of very bad water getting turned away. Very careful records of every truck that comes in are kept on site. The owners and employees of this well live very close to it. They wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize their own homes, families, or lives.

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